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GrantStation Reports on the State of Grantseeking

Grantseeking is an integral part of raising money for any nonprofit. And as your organization plans for the year ahead, it's important to be up to date on recent trends in this arena. What does the general climate look like in 2018? And more importantly, how can your organization increase its chances of receiving grants?

three worker bees lifting up gold coins from a big pile and carrying them away, symbolizing grant writingQuestions like these are top of mind for many nonprofits, and GrantStation recently published the The Fall 2017 State of Grantseeking™ Report (PDF). GrantStation is a social enterprise that offers nonprofits, educational institutions, and government agencies opportunities to identify potential funding sources.

The report is replete with insights, and serves a valuable resource for organizations to use while creating a strategy around securing grants in the year ahead.

Let's take a look at some key takeaways from this comprehensive survey, which tracked grantseeking activity across more than 4,000 respondents from January to June 2017.

The State of Grantseeking

The report found that the nonprofit sector is "reflecting the atmosphere of uncertainty caused by federal and state government program changes." As a result, GrantStation suggests that organizations plan for the same amount of awards this year as they did in 2017 — but not more.

Organizational age seems to play a factor in terms of the type of award received. The report found that 80 percent of organizations that cited the federal government as their largest award source were over 25 years old. That’s compared to 50 percent that were over 25 years old and cited corporations as their largest source of award funding.

That said, private foundations are still a large source of funding: 80 percent of all organizations reported receiving a grant from these institutions.

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The report also found that "organizational collaboration may be another way to increase grantseeking success; it is a trending topic and is encouraged by many funders." However, budget size plays a large role in this trend. Organizations with budgets of $25 million or more comprised 64 percent of the organizations that participated in collaborative grantseeking. Only 27 percent of organizations with lesser budgets did so.

How to Increase Your Chances of Getting a Grant

What's the best way to increase your chances of securing grant funding for your nonprofit? Submit multiple applications.

According to the report: "Sixty-six percent of those organizations that submitted just 1 grant application won an award. In addition, submitting a higher number of applications increased the likelihood of winning awards. Eighty-eight percent of respondents who submitted 3 to 5 grant applications received at least one award, and 98 percent of those who submitted 6 to 10 grant applications received at least one award."

Because this is the most reliable way to increase your chances of winning a grant, it's important to allocate as many resources as you can to develop effective grant applications.

However, respondents to the survey reported that the greatest challenge they face in grantseeking was the lack of time or staff. And this challenge is further complicated by political unease at the federal level and restrictions on the specific ways that grant funding may be allocated within an organization.

Forty percent of those surveyed reported that nongovernment funders allowed only 10 percent or less of the award to be used for indirect or administrative costs. And those costs include staffing resources to write grants.

In summary, as you approach grant writing in 2018, keep in mind that you will likely need to submit multiple applications to receive significant funding. And you'll need to allocate resources outside of grant awards in order to develop the necessary staff to do so. You can also read more of The Fall 2017 State of Grantseeking™ Report (PDF) and draw further conclusions that speak more directly to your needs as an organization.

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Additional Resources: Grant Writing for Nonprofits

  • Learn more about GrantStation, which is available through TechSoup for $99 on February 6, 7, and 8.
  • Take a tour of GrantStation (free webinar).
  • If you are new to grant writing, tune in to our free 90-minute webinar! You will learn how to apply a successful grant-writing framework to plan your grant applications to tell a strong, consistent story. Also, learn what funders are looking for in grant applications and develop strategies to infuse your organization's strengths in your proposal to make it strong and competitive.