There is a treasure trove of information available for grant seekers online–the only problem is finding the time to seek it out and put it to good use. Here are two useful resources that I discovered recently. If you know of any other sites or tools available on the internet that have helped streamline your own grants process, please send them to me via eMail and I’ll include them in a future article.
1. Grantmaker Deadlines Calendar
If you are a grant seeker in Minnesota–or if you’re planning to apply to foundations that are located in Minnesota–you must check out this resource on the Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF) web site. This calendar lists all of the funders with upcoming deadlines in the next three months, as well as an alphabetical listing of private funders who accept proposals all year long. Links to each of these foundations’ web sites also are included.
I have mentioned the necessity of having a grants calendar in past articles, and this site will make the task an easy one. For those of you in the rest of the country, check your own state-level foundations organization and see if such a calendar is available. If it isn’t, send a copy of the Minnesota calendar and suggest that it be duplicated for your state’s private funders.
By the way, the MCF web site also contains additional information that might be of use, including information about grant-seeking basics, how to write a proposal, a common grant application form, and a common report form. If you want to learn more about foundation funders (their philosophy, future trends, relationship with grant seekers and grantees, etc.), subscribe to the MCF newsletter.
2. Prospect Worksheets for Individual Donors and Institutional Funders
To organize your information about funders, go to the Foundation Center’s web site, click on “Finding Funders,” and look at these two worksheets. The one for institutional funders (private funders) includes spaces for basic information such as contact name, address, and telephone number, as well as financial data, areas of interest, application information, and the sources of information about the funder (for example, 990-PF report, annual reports, directories, or the grantmaker’s web site).
If, in addition to grants, you are compiling information about individual donors who might be interested in giving money to your district, check out the individual donor worksheet. This quick-and-easy form includes spaces for pertinent information about individual donors, such as name, address, telephone number, employment information, personal information, family information, connection to your organization, areas of commonality with the prospect, sources used to collect the data, and a history of how the donor has been cultivated in the past (i.e. meetings, phone calls, letters, etc.).
See these related links:
Minnesota Council on Foundations
Deborah Ward, CFRE, is an independent grant writing consultant. She welcomes questions at (717) 295-9437 or Debor21727@aol.com.