10 Ideas For Grant Seeking To Identify Funders Faster


Amelie Heurteux


Customer Success Manager at Instrumentl

Reviewed by:


January 22, 2024

Last Updated:

January 23, 2024

Finding the right funders willing to invest money into your mission is one of the most critical tasks for any nonprofit. But have you ever wondered about the time it takes to find those funders?

In this article, you will find 10 actionable ideas that can help you find funders faster and streamline your grant seeking journey.

As we delve into these strategies of quick grant prospecting, you will also learn how Instrumentl's robust features can be your guiding light, making the process of nonprofit funder identification more effective and efficient.

Let’s get into it!

Idea 1. Ditch Google and Get Matched With the Most Relevant Grants

What Is the Idea?

When it comes to grant seeking, the importance of precision in finding the right match for your nonprofit cannot be overstated.

Grants can be incredibly competitive, which is why this idea is all about focusing your efforts on those opportunities that strongly align with your organization's mission and funding needs.

However, the traditional approach of using search engines like Google can be time-consuming and often causes confusion with unrelated opportunities.

This is where Instrumentl's Smart Grant Matching feature emerges as a game-changer. You simply input your nonprofit's area of focus and funding needs, and Instrumentl will automatically curate a list of active and relevant grant opportunities for you in seconds that align with your mission.

Smart Grant Matching

Why Is This Idea Effective?

Traditional grant-searching methods often involve manually sorting through numerous grants, leading to a time-consuming process that might not yield the best results.

However, grants databases serve as comprehensive directories of funding opportunities that you can search through with relevant and time-saving filters.

With this approach, reduced grant research time becomes more than just a perk; it becomes a strategic advantage. Less time searching means more time for your team to focus its efforts on crafting compelling proposals that truly align with your mission.

How to Leverage This Idea?

When you sign up for an Instrumentl account, you’ll be prompted to input your organization’s mission, ongoing projects, and future goals. Instrumentl will then use this information to curate a list of grants that match your unique profile.

With Instrumentl, you no longer have to endure the lengthy process of sorting through irrelevant grants. Instrumentl works as a virtual matchmaker, leveraging advanced algorithms to identify and present opportunities that closely align with your funding needs.

For more insight into grant seeking, check out this comprehensive guide to grant prospect research.

Idea 2. Divide and Conquer: Delegate Research Among Your Team

What Is the Idea?

Efficiency in grant research is all about teamwork.

This idea is about strategically leveraging your team and its different strengths to enhance the efficiency of grant research and make the process smoother.

Keeping your team on the same page and encouraging collaboration streamlines grant research and increases your outputs.

Why Is This Idea Effective?

Think of it as sharing the load. Different team members can handle different aspects of grant research.

For instance, one nonprofit might have team members focus on various stages of grant research, like finding relevant grants, evaluating them, and presenting them to the board. On the other hand, another nonprofit might divide the workload by having different members search for different types of grants, such as government grants, foundation grants, or corporate partnerships.

By dividing the workload, your team saves time and becomes more efficient. This approach ensures that each team member can focus on their strengths, making the grant seeking process a shared and successful venture.

How to Leverage This Idea?

Instrumentl was designed specifically with collaboration in mind.

You can make the most of this idea by assigning specific roles and tasks to your team within Instrumentl.


This ensures that everyone knows what they're responsible for, thus promoting clear communication and collaboration on each grant application. Each team member can focus on what they do best, making the overall process more efficient.

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Idea 3. Experiment With Fields of Work to Find Grants

What Is the Idea?

Sifting through a long list of funders and grant opportunities can be tiring. This idea is about making your search more precise by using the right keywords to find exactly what you need.

You can do this easily on Instrumentl by adjusting your Field of Work keywords. This will help you finetune your search for grants and spot the best grant opportunities.

Why Is This Idea Effective?

Keywords play a crucial role in an effective grant search. Being specific with your keywords ensures better grant matches.

Within Instrumentl’s database, Your Field of Work keywords are your precise, mission-aligned keywords which can act as a filter in your grant search, eliminating broader and less relevant options.

For example, imagine your nonprofit focuses on environmental conservation. Instead of generic keywords, like "environment" or "conservation," you can experiment with more specific terms like "sustainable agriculture" or "wildlife preservation" in your Field of Work.

This precision acts as a powerful filter that sifts through countless options, ensuring you find grants that are better aligned with your mission and initiatives.

How to Leverage This Idea?

Instrumentl allows you to organize your nonprofit’s initiatives into distinct projects. Within each project, you can fine-tune your Field of Work keywords to precisely align with the unique aspects of that program or project.

This strategic approach ensures that your grant search is not only well-organized on an organizational level but also strategically tailored to the specific requirements of each initiative.

Fields of Work

This tactical approach maximizes the relevance of your grant matches.

You can check out this video to learn more about using Field of Work keywords to find different grant opportunities.

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Idea 4. Explore Recipient Profiles for Insightful Connections

What Is the Idea?

Ever wondered who's supporting causes similar to yours?

This idea is about uncovering funders who have backed projects or organizations like yours.

Instrumentl’s Recipient Profiles can help you identify good-fit funders by exploring the funding history of similar nonprofits.

Why Is This Idea Effective?

Imagine having a roadmap to funders who are already supporting causes similar to yours. This idea significantly increases the chances of funding success by helping you discover potential funders who share in your passion and mission.

This strategic approach allows you to target funders who are likely to resonate with your mission, thus improving the odds of securing support.

How to Leverage This Idea?

You can research nonprofits with missions similar to yours and explore their funding sources through Instrumentl’s Recipient Profiles.

All you have to do is look up a nonprofit similar to yours and then click on “View Recipient Profile".

Explore Recipient Profiles

You’ll then be able to scroll down to Past Awards Received to find a list of funders that have supported them in the past—including the funder's location, how much was awarded, and the purpose of that grant.

From this list of new prospects, you can click on any funder name to further research its giving history and potential active opportunities in Instrumentl.

Past awards received

Idea 5. Network With Purpose

What Is the Idea?

Networking isn't just about shaking hands; it's about cultivating strategic partnerships.

This idea involves strategically connecting with nonprofits that have secured funding from the same funders you're targeting. It's like connecting the right dots to enhance your chances of success.

Why Is This Idea Effective?

Nonprofits that have already won funding from a specific funder might be able to open doors of grant opportunities for you. These organizations might also have insights into the proposal process that could prove valuable in your pursuit of funding.

How to Leverage This Idea?

The key to networking effectively lies in being intentional in your efforts.

For example, you can strategically attend events where these organizations are likely to be. But remember, it's not just about attending; it's about making purposeful connections.

You can also engage with their leaders on professional platforms like LinkedIn. Such intentional networking with other nonprofits and building relationships with them can increase your visibility, and it positions you to potentially benefit from their insights and connections with shared funders.

Idea 6. Tailor Your Proposals to the Interests of Key People at a Funder's Organization

What Is the Idea?

This idea revolves around understanding the priorities of grantmakers or important people within a funder's organization.

It's about aligning your proposals with what matters most to them, making your pitch not just relevant but personally compelling.

Why Is This Idea Effective?

Time is precious. This idea ensures you invest your efforts where they matter most.

By tailoring your proposals to match the interests of key people at a funder's organization, you avoid wasting time on unlikely prospects. It's about channeling your energy toward funders who are the best fit for your cause.

How to Leverage This Idea?

You can use Instrumentl to identify the important people at an organization you are seeking funding from. Understanding their priorities is key to crafting proposals that can resonate.

Simply leverage Instrumentl’s funder profiles to see a list of a foundation’s key people.

Key People

Idea 7. Prioritize the Funders With the Best Giving Patterns

What Is the Idea?

Prioritizing funders with the best giving patterns is all about being strategic with your pursuit of funds. It focuses on prioritizing funders whose contributions align with your organization's financial needs and capabilities.

Why Is This Idea Effective?

Efficiency is the key. By concentrating on funders with specific giving patterns, you can optimize your efforts and increase your chances of success.

This idea ensures you don't waste time on funders whose past giving history doesn’t align with what you’re seeking.

How to Leverage This Idea?

You can navigate the funding landscape strategically with Instrumentl’s Advanced Funder Insights. These snapshots provide valuable insights into a funder's giving history—including their past giving averages and medians.

Advanced Funder Insights

This information can help you identify funders whose financial contributions align with your organization's needs. Prioritize these funders and you can maximize your chances of securing grants that are both impactful and feasible for your nonprofit.

Idea 8. Expand Your Search to Funders on the Edge of Your Local Geography

What Is the Idea?

This idea challenges the notion of sticking to local funding sources. It encourages nonprofits to broaden their horizons and consider funders located on the periphery or just outside of the geographic areas they traditionally serve.

Why Is This Idea Effective?

Local isn't the only option. Exploring funders on the edge introduces the possibility of discovering supportive partners who may be just outside your immediate surroundings.

This is an effective strategy because these funders, although on the periphery, might still be open to funding projects that align with their mission.

How to Leverage This Idea?

You can diversify your grant search by looking up a funder’s geographic giving within Instrumentl

This can help you identify where a funder usually gives their support, allowing you to discover new potential partnerships.

Past grantees

This strategy is all about making sure your organization doesn't overlook opportunities simply because they are on the edge of your usual scope.

Idea 9. Only Go After Funders That Are Open to New Grantees

What Is the Idea?

This idea shifts the focus to funders who are not just in the habit of renewing grants for existing recipients but actively are seeking to support new grantees each year.

It's about exploring and prioritizing opportunities with funders who are open to fresh collaborations.

Why Is This Idea Effective?

It is easier to break through to funders who are open to funding new projects
. Funders with a consistent practice of supporting new grantees are more receptive to engaging with and supporting a variety of organizations.

This idea is effective because it positions your nonprofit to be seen as a potential new partner rather than being overlooked.

How to Leverage This Idea?

You can strategically leverage Instrumentl to gain insights into a funder's historical giving patterns and to gauge their openness to new grantees.

On Instrumentl, you can evaluate how much a funder gave to New Grantees vs. Repeat Grantees over the years. We usually recommend prioritizing funders who allocate at least 40-50%, of their funding to new grantees.

Openness to New Grantees

By aligning your efforts with funders seeking fresh collaborations, you increase your chances of breaking through and securing their support.

Idea 10. Leverage NTEE Codes to See the Top Causes a Funder Supports

What Is the Idea?

This idea introduces the concept of using a funder's public 990 form, a document filed with the IRS, to gain insights into the types of nonprofits they typically support.

It's about leveraging publicly available information to understand a funder's philanthropic focus.

Why Is This Idea Effective?

Efficiency is the key. By examining a funder's 990 snapshot on Instrumentl, you can quickly determine if your nonprofit aligns with the causes they prioritize.

This idea is effective because it allows you to assess your competitiveness for a particular grant without having to spend hours digging through the funder’s actual 990.

How to Leverage This Idea?

Instead of navigating through years of historical 990 data, Instrumentl provides an easy-to-read summary of a funder's top causes based on their NTEE codes.

You can leverage this feature to efficiently gauge alignment with a funder's priorities, ensuring your organization targets opportunities where it is most likely to be competitive.

NTEE codes

In the example above, you can see how Community Improvement & Capacity Building, along with Education, are Kresge Foundation's two most funded areas of giving.

Wrapping Up: 10 Ideas for Grant Seeking

In the quest for efficient grant seeking, these ten grant funding strategies can significantly expedite the process of finding funders for all types of nonprofit grants, be it government grants, corporate grants, capacity grants, or general operating grants.

By integrating any or all of these grant funding strategies into your grant seeking process, be it leveraging Instrumentl’s Smart Grant Matching for precision or strategically prioritizing funders based on giving patterns, you not only save valuable time but also enhance the success of your funding pursuits.

Instrumentl’s collaborative features, insightful data analytics, and streamlined processes can help you in quick grant prospecting and make your grant seeking journey much smoother and effective. Ready to sign up for our Basic Plan? Check out our pricing page here.

Amelie Heurteux

Amelie Heurteux

Amelie Heurteux, a Customer Success Manager at Instrumentl, works day in and day out training nonprofits and grant writers how to efficiently prospect new funders and streamline their grant tracking and management processes.

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