“With Instrumentl, there isn’t any wasted time. They identify the funder, link you to their website, show projected deadlines, provide information about communities where they work—before, we could have wasted time on a potential funder without that information.”

Maureen McGuire, Grants Manager at Habitat for Humanity DuPage Chicago South Suburbs


Maureen McGuire


Habitat for Humanity


Chicago, Illinois, United States



focus areas

Affordable housing

$ raised with grants found from Instrumentl

Raised / tracked through Instrumentl

favorite Instrumentl Features

Reverse Search, Smart Grant Matching, Funder Insights


Habitat for Humanity

Since 1995, DuPage Habitat for Humanity has partnered with people in our community, and all over the world, to help them build or improve a place they can call home.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Find best-fit funders in seconds, not weeks and bring your grant work to one place.

Try 14 days free

How Habitat for Humanity Uncovered More Funding to Support Affordable Housing

Meet Maureen McGuire. She is the Grants Manager at the Habitat for Humanity DuPage, an affiliate in the Chicago South Suburbs. 

Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to building homes and communities for families in need. Maureen plays a critical role in securing funding to make safe and affordable housing a reality for many families in her community.

As the Grants Manager, Maureen once navigated a maze of funding sources, relying on library visits to use antiquated databases, corporate partnerships, and her personal network to secure vital resources. 

It was a time-consuming and laborious process, but her dedication to Habitat for Humanity's mission kept her going.

That all changed when Maureen discovered Instrumentl.

Instrumentl's smart grant matching

Pro Tip: Instrumentl will match you with hundreds of potential grant opportunities that match your organization’s goals, your field of work, location and more. Just tell us about your organization, and we’ll find the best-fit grants for you.

How Habitat for Humanity Discovered a New Way to Find Grant Opportunities

Maureen stumbled upon Instrumentl during a webinar. Instrumentl, a powerful grants prospecting platform, promised to simplify the daunting task of identifying potential funders. 

Pro Tip: Access Instrumentl’s growing archive of free grant writing classes. You’ll learn from the expert practitioners raising millions of dollars for their clients and organizations.

Intrigued by the possibilities, she decided to give it a try by signing up for their free trial. Little did she know that this decision would reshape how Habitat for Humanity approached fundraising.

“After the first 2 weeks, I was hooked,” Maureen recalls. "There was this whole other process I was going through to find potential funders. Now, Instrumentl made the whole job of prospecting a minor point.”

Advocating for Instrumentl to Find Grants Faster

Maureen didn't keep this discovery to herself. She became an enthusiastic advocate for Instrumentl within Habitat for Humanity. 

However, the organization's leadership initially hesitated to invest in the platform. 

Maureen, undeterred, sought a creative solution. She started digging through her funders and uncovered a grant opportunity that would fund their Instrumentl account. They applied and won, receiving funding to cover Instrumentl’s cost for 18 months.

Finding New Funding Immediately After Signing up for Instrumentl

By getting up and running on Instrumentl, Maureen’s team achieved new levels of efficiency. Maureen explains, 

"It became apparent to everybody how valuable [Instrumentl] was because we were getting grants from places that we had no idea existed, some even local."

One of the opportunities Maureen uncovered on Instrumentl was a local organization two towns over. 

No one on her team had heard of them before. While their paths had never crossed, their missions aligned perfectly. So they put together an application, submitted it, and won! In a matter of only a few weeks, they secured a $20,000 award. 

Maureen couldn't help but chuckle, "Well, [Instrumentl] just paid for itself, and we didn't even pay for it; we got a grant."

How Habitat for Humanity Secures Funding to Build Affordable Housing

Today, Habitat for Humanity relies on Instrumentl as a key tool in their funding tool kit. Multiple team members collaborate seamlessly on the platform, setting deadlines, assigning tasks, and researching potential funders all in one place. 

They utilize Instrumentl's reverse search feature to identify other funders that support nonprofits similar to theirs, giving them new opportunities to reach out to and increasing their chances of success.

Pro Tip: Instrumentl unearths key insights into funders, arming you with the knowledge you need to submit competitive proposals without spending days digging through dense 990 forms.

Maureen sums up their experience with Instrumentl by saying, 

"Instrumentl is a pleasure to use. It notifies us when there are new matches and is easy to use, which I can't say for the rest of the software out there."

Advice for Building Relationships With Funders

As Maureen got richer insights on funders, her efforts to build relationships with funders evolved. 

One of Maureen's key strategies is attending presentations and sessions hosted by potential funders. As soon as she identifies an opportunity through Instrumentl, she finds upcoming events to attend. 

This proactive approach not only provides valuable insights into the priorities of these organizations but also reveals the key contacts Maureen should reach out to.

Additionally, when you’ve won funders, Maureen emphasizes the importance of being "Johnny on the spot" with reporting, recognizing that meeting deadlines and providing timely and accurate reports is essential if you want to maintain positive relationships with funders.

Instrument's reporting features make it easy to export CSVs and PDFs to share

Pro Tip: Leveraging Instrumentl's features for instantly generating reports has significantly streamlined this process.

Another word of advice Maureen has is to always aim to submit grant applications well in advance of the deadline. Many funders are exceptionally strict about deadlines, so avoiding last-minute submissions whenever possible has contributed to smoother interactions and favorable outcomes.

Top Tips for Nonprofits Using Instrumentl

Drawing from her experience using Instrumentl, Maureen offers valuable tips for organizations or individuals considering its use. 

  • Invest time to understand all of Instrumentl's features. By exploring funders, examining their 990s, and utilizing the reverse search feature to identify organizations with similar objectives, users can make the most of Instrumentl's capabilities. 
  • Study median grant amounts to obtain a more accurate estimate of potential funding. 
  • When evaluating potential funders, assess whether their focus aligns well with yours. Be picky in who you pursue. Instrumentl empowers you to confidently narrow down the best-fit funders, so you don’t waste time on long shots.

Ultimately, Instrumentl's power lies in its ability to enhance your fundraising strategy efficiency.

One of the most significant advantages Maureen has discovered is Instrumentl's ability to uncover lucrative funders that were previously unknown. 

This expansion of funding opportunities has broadened horizons beyond what she thought possible. She emphasizes that Instrumentl is not merely an organizational tool; it's a time-saving and efficiency-boosting asset.

Thanks to Maureen's dedication to finding new funding sources, Habitat for Humanity is now better equipped than ever to fulfill its mission of providing safe and affordable housing to those in need.

Ready to give Instrumentl a try yourself?

Create your 14-day free trial here

Already a customer and have an Instrumentl story you want to share?

Email us!

More customer stories

How NYU Langone Wastes No Time Finding Only The Best-Fit Funders For Their Research

"I am a huge advocate of Instrumentl. I can remember when I did this at the beginning of my career, printing out the grantee lists from the 990s and going through with a highlighter. Out of 100 grants, there were only two that were viable. Now It’s all in Instrumentl. So that's been really fantastic."

How Sleep in Heavenly Peace Doubled Grant Funding In One Year

“We've been using Instrumentl for just over a year. We brought in about $2 million last year, which was up a million over the year before.”

How the Lutheran Braille Workers Scaled Their Yearly Grant Submissions by 150%

“We were maybe [submitting] three to six [grant applications] per year. Now, we're doing two per month…just by having Instrumentl as opposed to spreadsheets.”

Our customers often realize 92% in time savings using Instrumentl. Try it today.

Apply to 1.5X more grants by working smarter, not harder.
Or, if you’re not ready yet, read & watch our customer stories.