“I get to say ‘yes’ to new clients because I can fit a good amount of research into a smaller amount of time, deliver quickly, and get some really targeted results with Instrumentl.”

Victoria Flynn, Founder and Consultant at Victoria Flynn Consulting

customer

Victoria Flynn, Grant Consultant

ORGANIZATION

Victoria Flynn Consulting

location

Brownville, Maine, United States

website

https://www.vflynnconsulting.com/

focus areas

Grant consulting

$ raised with grants found from Instrumentl

Raised / tracked through Instrumentl

favorite Instrumentl Features

990 Snapshots, Foundation Discovery, Reports, Tracker

About

Victoria Flynn

Victoria Flynn has been working in the nonprofit world for 14 years in a variety of different roles but started consulting in May 2021. She has worked with organizations in many different growth stages.

How Victoria Flynn, a Nonprofit Consultant, Cut Down Research Time by 50% With Instrumentl

Victoria Flynn has been working in the nonprofit world for 14 years in a variety of different roles but started consulting in May 2021. She has worked with organizations in many different growth stages.

From working with new, small nonprofits that are just getting started searching for funding to those that are transitioning from a volunteer-based organization to hiring staff, Victoria has substantial experience under her belt.

The Challenges of Being a Grant Consultant

To break the ice, we were curious to hear more about the challenges of being a grant consultant and working with different nonprofits. Victoria revealed it’s mostly about alignment between the consultant and the organization:

“I find that it’s sometimes hard to understand what the client wants the consultancy role to be. You could be a coach, you could be a mentor, you could be a doer. Every relationship is going to be different and not everyone comes to the table knowing what they want or need.”

As far as running the business, it’s easy to get carried away and forget about the number of things you need to juggle as a solo consultant. It’s not just about the work-life balance, but also about taking care of the business’ back office and front office:

“I’m sure it’s different for consultancy agencies that have multiple team members, but when you’re a single consultant, you’re a one-stop shop and you need to take care of everything on your own. It’s just me here. So in these types of scenarios, you have to be resilient enough to be emergency-proof.”

Besides that, Victoria pointed out that building trust with a client, especially in the beginning, is always hard. It gets easier when you have good tools and a network of people you can rely on.

Discovering Instrumentl While Working as a Subcontractor

Victoria was subcontracting as a grant writer for a colleague who used Instrumentl with her clients, mainly for research purposes:

“I was relying on it and got very used to the tool. Iestablished my own processes that made me work faster and more efficiently. So, when I started compiling my own list of clients as a full-time consultant, there was really no other choice for me besides Instrumentl.”

For Victoria, Instrumentl has proven to be a very useful institutional fundraising platform when dealing with areas she’s not that familiar with or nonprofits that care about causes she hasn’t encountered before.

In these types of cases, reaching funders you don’t have knowledge of gets a lot easier with a comprehensive grant tool such as Instrumentl.

Researching, Prospecting, Tracking, and Management—All in a Single Tool

Since Victoria works on her own, she needed a tool that would help her unify all important pieces of the grant process in a single place. Having the resources on her Instrumentl account is very helpful:

“Instrumentl also helps me track my own personal goals and deadlines. For instance, if there’s an interim step that I need to take, I use Instrumentl to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. It helps me to keep myself accountable and have a personal record of everything that’s going on across all my clients.”

We were curious to find out how Victoria uses 990 reports and what features she finds the most valuable in Instrumentl:

“One of the first things I do is look at median grant amounts. Funders have very wide ranges of awards sometimes. You can discover that an award can go up to $100,000, but in reality it’s typically $10,000. It’s also important to know if the funder tends to fund more than just their minimum.”

This helps Victoria evaluate if the opportunity might be worth it for her clients.

The next step for her is to check the NTEE codes to see what type of organizations the funders supported in the past. She looks at several years of funding history to see whether their average funding has increased or decreased, what the new grants are averaging, and more.

Another thing that Victoria finds valuable is the geographical data available in Instrumentl:

“There are plenty of national programs that don’t have a geographic focus, but then you look at the history of giving and there’s certainly a pattern.”

Cutting Research Time Down by 50% with Instrumentl

Victoria has managed to cut her research time in half with Instrumentl.  Naturally, we wanted to know more about how this makes her feel and what she does with the extra time she has:

“I get to say ‘yes’ to new clients because I can fit a good amount of research into a smaller amount of time, deliver quickly, and get some really targeted results with Instrumentl.”

For Victoria, it has always taken a lot of time to deliver results in a way that her clients want to see them. This is where the reports in Instrumentl come in handy.

Even if the client prefers a different format, it’s a lot easier to extract all the data and double-check everything before handing it over for review:

“Reporting is a part of an iterative process and as a consultant, you’re responsible for delivering the data in the most impactful way. With Instrumentl, I’ve been able to cut down the time needed to get those results into consumable, short-form content.”

Instrumentl’s Undeniable Return on Investment for Independent Grant Consultants

Victoria mentioned how Instrumentl brought an “undeniable ROI” for her as a consultant, mainly because of the 990 reports:

“All the 990 reports have been really impressive and important for my work. I like to show them to my clients so that they understand my research process and what I’m looking at. Even people that have been working in business development for years appreciate that the 990 insights are there and on hand. Not so long ago, we had to do all of this manually.”

Victoria also shared that her clients appreciate the fact that this information is so carefully curated, that it’s not just an RSS feed that might contain errors or outdated information.

For more information on the real impact Instrumentl brings to grant consultants and nonprofit organizations, check out our impact page.

Interested in how our users get the most of Instrumentl? Check out our best practices page.

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Thank you Victoria for sharing your amazing story with us! We wish your consultancy business a lot of success in the future.

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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.

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.