The research team at GrantStation is dedicated to delivering the most current, reliable, and pertinent information on funders anywhere. You depend on us for your successful grantseeking, so we want to share with you the process we use to develop a Funder Profile. This page explains how we target funders, research their giving guidelines, and write the profiles that you retrieve when searching GrantStation’s Find-a-Funder.
As you’ll see, this is a time-consuming process, but it’s one we undertake with great pride. We do the work for you, so you can point-and-click your way to reliable funders that match your organization’s funding needs.
This research process was created for fundraisers, by fundraisers, so we have you the grantseeker in mind whenever we add a new Funder Profile. No other grantseeking service or directory offers a more accurate set of Funder Profiles, making GrantStation the only grantseeking tool you need to do your research.
Creating a Funder Profile is a four-step process:
The first step of the process is establishing a list of funders who give nationally, and also separate lists of funders who give only in specific states. We scour both the traditional and online sources for establishing these lists. These sources include: state grantmaker directories, email alerts, philanthropy newsletters, corporate giving guides, and both federal and state websites. We are continually targeting new funders and adding them to our master lists.
Once we establish a list of potential funders, we then determine if they meet our criteria. To ensure the most dynamic and efficient database for our subscribers, we include funders that:
- Accept applications, proposals, or letters of inquiry
- Give grants and awards (not just scholarships)
Note: In this ever-changing world of mergers and acquisitions, funders may dissolve, change their name or contact information, modify their giving guidelines and priorities, or stop accepting applications altogether. Though we update our profiles regularly, it’s possible that you may encounter these changes before we do. Always check with the funder to make sure their guidelines and priorities haven’t been revised.
Once we have narrowed our list down to those funders who meet our criteria, we research their giving guidelines and application procedures. We first determine if the funder has a website; if they do, we then access their giving guidelines online. Otherwise, we email, write, or fax the funder for a copy of their guidelines.
If these methods don’t yield the information we need for a complete profile, we call the funder and interview them in detail over the phone. We take all the necessary steps to produce a Funder Profile that will truly help your grantseeking efforts.
Finally, if the funder is unable to disclose the relevant financial information, we research their IRS Form 990.
Once we have received the guidelines, we compose the Funder Profile, which includes the following information:
- General/Contact Info – Funder address and phone number; email and website addresses, if available; contact name and title.
- Geographic Scope – List of states the funder will accept proposals from, or “National” if the funder accepts proposals from all 50 states.
- Type of Organization – Type of funder, of which there are eight possibilities: Association, Corporate Foundation, Corporate Giving Program, Federal, Foundation, Other Sources, Religious, or State.
- Financial information – Annual giving, grant range, and average grant (all are subject to availability).
- Application Deadlines – Specific grant deadline dates, or indication if there are none.
- Eligibility Requirements – types of organizations eligible to receive grants, includes: nonprofit organizations, schools and educational institutions, individuals, governmental agencies, etc.
- Areas of Interest – A description of the funder’s specific giving guidelines, areas of interest/priorities, and restrictions.
- Application Procedures – Specific procedures (if applicable) for the application or letter of inquiry, or information on how to contact the funder for specific procedures and forms.
- Author’s Notes – Information such as special footnotes to any of the above fields or a direct message from the funder regarding the funder’s guidelines or procedures.
Before you’re able to view Funder Profiles, however, you need to perform a funder search. This is where some behind-the-scenes work needs to be explained. Once the GrantStation researcher has written the Funder Profile, he/she selects the appropriate checkboxes that you see when searching for a funder. Currently, we have 130 Areas of Interest (AOI) and 32 Types of Support you can utilize to find funders that match your funding needs. Here is a quick description of each:
- Areas of Interest – We use the guidelines and/or the funder interview to determine the appropriate AOIs. We are as thorough and precise as possible. We select AOI checkboxes only if the specific area is mentioned in the guidelines and in the Funder Profile.
- Types of Support – We also use the guidelines and/or the funder interview to determine the appropriate Types of Support. If a funder gives for general, charitable purposes, we usually select Project Support, and we encourage you to contact the funder for more specific support information.
We try to help you locate all the appropriate funding sources possible, without directing you to a poor match. We adhere to two principles regarding our selection of AOI and Types of Support categories:
- We are committed to providing our users the most comprehensive and carefully screened listing of prospective funders.
- We are committed to being respectful of the funders by adhering to their guidelines – whether written or obtained verbally. As such, we neither take liberties nor make assumptions about their Areas of Interest, Geographic Focus, and Types of Support. One of our goals is to make every effort possible to avoid inappropriate funding requests or inquiries being sent to the funders in our database.
Once a Researcher has written the profile, our Research Director reviews the profile one more time to proof the copy and double check the accuracy of the data.
To ensure that profiles are accurate and current, we update our profiles on a regular basis. This involves revisiting the funder’s website, emailing them for updated guidelines, or calling them for guideline changes, if any. We also check a funder’s most recent financial information to see if any significant changes have been made with regard to their annual giving or grant range. We note in our profiles the “Last Updated” month and year.
We also continually update our database by adding new information (such as a new grant program or an expanded geographic focus) on funders as the material becomes available. Therefore, a funder’s profile could potentially be updated several times every year. This is one more way we’re able to offer you the most current information on funders available.
We hope you enjoyed learning about our research process. If you have any comments or questions for our research team, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.