Grant Writer’s Blog

Publications & Resources
Grant Writer's Blog

Optin Form


I am sure that you are always on the lookout for new potential sources that can increase and/or diversify the grant revenue portion of your organization’s budget. While many organization’s pay for subscription services to databases that nonprofits can search as a means of foundation research there are a number of ways to conduct foundation research without having to pay for subscriptions or purchase books listing funding sources. I am always surprised by some of the new free sources that funding opportunities are passed along from or can be researched through, so below are the top five FREE sources that I have found to be the most useful in listing or researching a wide variety of funding opportunities:

1. – Not only is now used to apply online for federal funding opportunities, you can also search the funding opportunities that are currently available. You can also register to receive a daily list of funding announcements and requests for proposals delivered directly to your e-mail inbox.

2. – An online database that does offer subscription service, but also offers access to a great deal of information if you have registered for a free log-in account. With this account you can access the most recent as well as past 990s of foundations as a way to conduct foundation research.

3. Chronicle of Philanthropy – The Chronicle’s weekly RFP listing email lists ten of the newest request for proposal notices that have been listed through the Chronicle with links to additional information about the posting as well as links to additional funding opportunities within a similar focus area. You do not need to be a subscriber to their bi-monthly publication in order to sign up for the listing.

4. Professional Journals/Topic Specific Newsletters – Two examples are the weekly email updates produced by the Center for Rural Health and the education funding website

5. Local Colleges/Libraries – Many local colleges, universities, or libraries have established relationships with organizations such as The Foundation Center, Grant Station, etc. and as a result offer free access to their subscription services on campus/at their library kiosks.

Have fun exploring the new ways to research potential grant funding sources.

Best Wishes for Successful Grant Seeking!


In a grant seeking environment of ever tougher competition, it is imperative to provide a proposal that provides the clearest, yet most energized proposal that will excite the reader and make them want to financially support the program.

The following are what I consider to be the 8 qualities that describe excellent proposals regardless of the program focus:

1. Energy – The proposal shines with enthusiasm and passion.

2. Expertise – The statement of need reflects a deep understanding of the problem being addressed and the plan and theory of the program is contrasted with expertise from the field.

3. Commitment – The proposal reflects the organization’s genuine priorities rather than simply explaining one of the many programs it is currently juggling.

4. Clarity – The goals and objectives for the project are measurable and the evaluation plan for the project is clear and outcome-based.

5. Collaboration – The organization has formed collaborative and cooperative relationships as appropriate in order to advance their mutual goals.

6. Benefits – The proposal expresses desire to fill a need for target population rather than just underwriting the organization’s own needs.

7. Comprehensiveness – The complexity of the program is matched by the sophistication of the proposed solution.

8. Effectiveness – A well-designed, outcome-based evaluation is designed into the project to measure the success of meeting the project’s goals and objectives.

While these qualities are subjective in nature, they are qualities that you should strive for in all of your funding proposals. One of the best ways to display these qualities in your funding proposals is to develop a review team to keep you from writing in a vacuum. One of my recommendations is to include someone in your review who is not intimately familiar with the proposed program so that acronyms and program “lingo” do not infiltrate the proposal or confuse readers.

Best Wishes for Successful Grant Seeking!


During times of economic turmoil, nonprofit organizations often make quick decisions to tighten their belt and slim down expenses as much as possible for fear of falling revenues. This fear is legitimate when looking at revenues that come from individual gifts, major donors and special event revenue.

What is often overlooked as part of the conversation is grant funding. While private foundation revenue, and consequently their annual grants are tied to their portfolio’s performance, the affect on their granting budget is often delayed by a year due to grant budgets being set based on the previous year’s revenue. In fact, in following the recent announcements of new grant programs, there are a number of new national grant initiatives that have been announced from large funders. So while the economic climate is tight, there are numerous new opportunities, and new ways to approach funders with stronger collaborations that can still yield successful results.

Therefore, nonprofit organizations should continue to follow their organization’s grant seeking plan in order to continue to develop a diversified grant portfolio of revenue…and if a nonprofit organization does not have a grant seeking plan, this is the time to put the effort into creating one!

Best Wishes for Successful Grant Seeking!

There are often so many situations that arise with one client that another could benefit from that I decided to start a blog to share the good, the bad, and the ugly as it relates to successful grant seeking/writing/management for nonprofits. I plan to post a minimum of once a week, but often more when I have a week full of helpful advice or commentary on recent foundation/fundraising news. The substance of what I write will always be true, but when discussing a situation that a client encountered, I will never use a client’s organization name or employees’ real names.

I hope that you find my blog to be a useful tool as you work to increase the funding, particularly grant funding, that your organization receives to support your mission.

Best Wishes,

1 225 226 227 228
© Copyright 2006-2018 DH Leonard Consulting. All Rights Reserved.