Program Grants: How to Find Them Fast in 2023
Every nonprofit organization wants to secure program grants, but how can they best go about finding the right ones? Researching and writing a grant proposal takes valuable time and resources, so it's crucial to find grants that are the right fit for your organization.
In this article, we'll explore best practices for finding program grants and other sources of funding, as well as tips for submitting successful proposals.
Let’s dive in.
What Are Program Grants?
Program grants are the most common type of grant and provide funding for a specific program or project.
For example, a program grant might fund a specific after-school program for at-risk youth in a low-income community. The grant money could be used to finance staff, supplies, and activities for the students.
Program grants require an outline of project details, including an explanation of the purpose of the project. It should also be noted that program grants are often restricted funding. This means that the grant can only be used for the specified program or project.
Ultimately, program grants are an excellent way for organizations to gain access to funds that can help further their goals. However, it is vital to understand these grants' requirements before applying to best ensure that you will succeed in your efforts.
With thorough research and an understanding of mission alignment, applicants can up their chances of success.
Why Are Program Grants Important?
Program grants are an incredibly helpful funding resource for nonprofit organizations. Here are five reasons why program grants are so important:
Program Grants Can Jumpstart New Programs
Program grants can provide the necessary funding to start a new program that might otherwise be out of reach. In addition, by having an external source of funds, organizations can begin offering services that would not have been possible without them.
Program Grants Can Help You Sustain Programs for Years to Come
Program grants can also help fund existing programs for years to come.
With a steady flow of funds from program grants, organizations can ensure that their services are not only available in the present but remain consistent and reliable in the future. Plus, the additional funds can go towards furthering the impact of the existing program.
Program Grants Provide Partner Opportunities
Program grants also open up opportunities for collaboration with other funders and partners who are interested in similar philanthropic goals, which can lead to increased resources and larger funding awards.
Overall, program grants provide an invaluable resource for nonprofit organizations looking to best serve their target population while meeting their mission objectives. With program grants, organizations can expand their reach and impact while building relationships with new funders and partners along the way.
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How to Find Program Grants in 11 Steps
Learning the best way to find grants is an important part of any nonprofit’s fundraising strategy.
However, finding the right program grant for your organization requires a strategic approach. Here are 11 steps to help you find program grants for your organization:
1. Choose a Budget & Make Goals
Before you start looking for grants, it's important to have a budget and plan in place. This will help you find the best grants that suit your needs.
To come up with an effective plan and budget, determine what your organization requires first.
Ask questions like: “What do we need the grant money for?”, “What are our goals?”, and “How much funding do we need?” Answering these questions will help you narrow down the list of grants to apply for.
2. Work with Your Network
A great way to start identifying potential grant opportunities is by tapping into your network. Reach out to staff, talk to other nonprofit organizations, and consult with friends and family about companies that have philanthropic arms.
By leveraging the resources available in your network, you can focus in on grants that are most likely to meet the goals of your organization.
3. Search for Opportunities in Your Local Community
You should begin your search for grants by starting at the local level. Many businesses, foundations, and even government agencies are more likely to fund their own communities. These grants may not be as large as those offered nationally, but they also have less competition which increases your chances of securing one.
Create a list of these organizations in your community and research what types of grants they offer.
Beginning at the local level is a good starting point for finding potential program grant opportunities for your nonprofit.
4. Expand Your Search Nationally
Next, to increase your chances of finding the right grant opportunity for your nonprofit, you should begin expanding your search.
This could include national foundations and government agencies, international organizations, and more. Create a list of all these organizations that offer grant programs and thoroughly research what funding they provide.
Make sure to take note of any specific requirements and restrictions associated with each grant program to ensure that your applications are tailored toward the opportunities that match your organization's goals and objectives.
With a wider search, you can increase your chances of finding a program grant that aligns with your nonprofit’s needs.
5. Network with Grantees & Similar Nonprofits
Another way to find program grants is by reaching out to other organizations that have been granted similar funding that you are looking for.
Ask them how they found the grant, what steps they took when preparing their proposal, and how long it took for them to get a response. Gathering this information can help you develop effective strategies and make navigating the application process easier.
6. Work with Traditional Search Engines
You can use a variety of online tools to find grant opportunities for your nonprofit. Search engines like Google or Bing are a good place to start, and you can narrow the results by including relevant keywords such as "nonprofit program grants" or "program grants for [your mission]".
Keeping track of all the potential grants you have found up to this point is essential—you should create a spreadsheet to help you stay organized throughout your entire research process.
7. Try Out Free Online Databases
Once you've finished sifting through the results on Google and Bing, it's time to explore free online databases. These databases typically have a narrower focus and can provide in-depth detail about grants available specifically for nonprofits.
A good example is Grants.gov. Make sure to take advantage of free resources and add the details you find to your spreadsheet.
8. Begin to Narrow Down the Best Options
Next, it's time to narrow down your grant options you’ve found so far. To start, look at each grant’s deadline and decide if you have enough time to complete the application and do it well. If not, cross it off your list and move on.
Then, review the requirements of each grant program carefully—if your organization does not meet them, it’s best to look for other opportunities.
Finally, create a tiered list of the remaining grants and prioritize the ones that offer the most funding or best match your goals and objectives. By doing this, you can focus on the grants with the highest chance of success.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Would this funding completely cover what we're trying to accomplish?
- Would there be any funding left over?
- Will this grant leave something incomplete?
Considering these questions can help you determine if the grant is worth pursuing or if you should consider other options.
9. Start Prepping Your Proposal
Now that you've narrowed down your list of suitable grants, it's time to begin crafting your proposal. Start by collecting all the necessary documents and constructing an impressive case detailing why your organization should be awarded the grant.
Be sure to include evidence from the research you conducted during earlier stages of this process. The more detail-oriented and comprehensive your proposal is, the better your chances of standing out from the scores of other applicants.
Furthermore, crafting a proposal specifically tailored to each grant program will demonstrate to potential funders that you understand their objectives. Focus on providing evidence that illustrates how your organization can help address an issue or meet a need related to the grant program.
10. Get in Contact with Any Necessary Funders
If possible, you should also reach out to the relevant funders. Even if your application is submitted online, make sure to introduce yourself and your organization to the funder prior to submitting the proposal. Ask them if they need any additional information or have any queries about your submission.
By creating this initial contact, you can start to establish a relationship with the funder, which may be beneficial even if your application is not successful. It is also possible that some funders will reject proposals from organizations they are unfamiliar with, so making contact beforehand could open doors for you.
Finally, make sure to follow up once the proposal has been submitted and express your gratitude for their consideration. This will demonstrate that you are organized and professional.
11. Outsource Help from a Professional
Last but certainly not least, consider enlisting the help of a professional for more complex grant applications. A qualified grant writing consultant can provide invaluable help, such as drafting an effective proposal and maximizing your chances of success.
Moreover, having a consultant on board can be beneficial when navigating the application process from start to finish. With their expertise in grant writing best practices, they can help ensure that your proposal meets the funder's criteria and requirements.
That said, engaging a consultant may not always be the right move. Depending on your project size and scope, their fee can outweigh their usefulness. Consider the time, money, and resources necessary before deciding to hire one for program grant applications.
By following these 11 steps, applicants can best position themselves for success when applying for a program grant and increase their chances of receiving funding for their project or program.
How Instrumentl Can Help You Find Program Grants in 3 Easy Steps
Finding program grants by completing the 11 steps above can be a time-consuming and challenging process.
The goods news is that Instrumentl makes finding program grants easier and faster—so much so that it streamlines the process into three simple steps:
1. Sign up for Instrumentl
Instrumentl combines grant prospecting, tracking, and management into one intuitive tool. It’s easy to sign up, and Instrumentl even offers a free 14-day trial so you can try out the platform before committing.
2. Find Program Grants with Instrumentl’s Smart Matching Tool
Instrumentl has tons of tools and features to help you find good fit funders quickly and efficiently.
One of these features is Instrumentl’s intelligent smart matching tool that works to find funding opportunities that align with your project and mission. So instead of spending hours combing through dozens of search results on Google to try to find a program grant that you are eligible for, Instrumentl does the hard work for you by curating a list of active funding opportunities that are a good match for your nonprofit.
You can save searches to stay on top of new opportunities and receive email notifications when new funders appear in your results.
3. Manage Your Entire Grants Pipeline
Unlike other grant databases, Instrumentl is designed to help you navigate the entire grants lifecycle, from finding funding opportunities, to managing applications, to reporting on your grants.
For example, Instrumentl helps you stay organized while applying for grants with its powerful tracking feature. Instrumentl allows you to keep an eye on progress with each application, create templates for standard reports/letters, and add notes to stay up-to-date on each funder's requirements.
With these three simple steps, Instrumentl can help you find and secure program grants faster and more efficiently than ever before.
To learn more about what sets Instrumentl apart from its competitors, check out this comprehensive comparison page.
5 Common Program Grants Questions
When researching program grants, nonprofits often have questions about best practices and how to best position themselves for success. To help answer these questions, we’ve compiled answers to five of the most common program grant questions:
1. Do I need to hire a professional?
Completing a grant takes considerable time and effort, and some nonprofits don’t have the staff to properly handle that workload. Hiring a professional grant writer or freelancer can be beneficial if your staff is already stretched thin. If you do choose to write the grant in-house, ensure that your team has the proper training and tools to guarantee a well-crafted submission.
2. We don't meet all of the requirements – should we still apply?
Grants are highly competitive. When reviewing a grant opportunity, you should pay close attention to the key requirements and make sure your organization is well-positioned to meet those.
If you don't think you can meet all of them, it may be wise to focus your efforts elsewhere or consider partnering with another organization for this particular grant opportunity.
3. How long does it typically take to write a grant?
The amount of time required to complete a grant varies widely based on the complexity and size of the project. A simple one-page application could take as little as an hour or two, while projects that involve multiple parts and additional documentation may require multiple days or weeks.
To ensure your best chance of success, start the application process as soon as possible and plan ahead for any challenges you may encounter.
4. How many grants should I apply for?
It depends on your level of capacity and resource availability. Generally, you should only submit a grant proposal if you have the necessary resources to fulfill it. However, you don’t want to overextend yourself, so be aware of your staff’s limitations.
5. How can I make sure my proposal stands out?
The key is to stand out in a positive way! Make sure your proposal is thorough, well-written, thoughtful, and professional.
Include real stories from clients or beneficiaries of your organization—these personal stories are often what make a grant application memorable to reviewers. Additionally, be sure to research all aspects of the grant and double-check for errors before submitting. Taking these simple steps will help ensure your proposal stands out.
Wrapping Up: How to Find Program Grants Fast in 2023
Finding program grants can be a daunting and time-consuming task, but the potential of earning money for your nonprofit is worth the effort. With the right tools, best practices, and resources, you can secure funding for your organization.
Instrumentl’s vast grants database, smart matching tools, and other powerful features can help you find and apply for program grants faster than ever before. Sign up for a free 14-day trial today so that you can be best positioned to receive funding in 2023 and beyond.