Before working with ZIM, I had very little knowledge of the nonprofit and foundation landscape of Colorado. That quickly changed with research. As the Grant Researcher at ZIM, it is my job to know as much as possible about foundations, their priorities, and the best ways to develop relationships with them. Acquiring this knowledge has given me insight on the diverse landscape of funders and a confidence in myself and my work. I have personally seen the benefits of Grant Research from a consulting standpoint and believe all nonprofits should do Grant Research.
The benefits of Grant Research cannot be overstated. It is the best starting point when working with new organizations, discovering their hopes and dreams, and the funding they need to be successful in their work. As a first step in the grants process, research enables us to get a deeper in-depth knowledge of the full scope of work our client does and allows us to discover new and unique funding opportunities specific to their organization. It also allows our clients to identify and outline their areas of greatest need, something that we often base the research around.
Grant Research provides a targeted approach to grant writing that many organizations often lack. The process we follow allows organizations and ZIM to build out an in-depth grant timeline that outlines what six to twelve months of grant writing would look like. Instead of blindly applying for grants from foundations, research allows us to not only identify the best possible foundations, but specific RFPs, priority changes, and contacts for all grant opportunities. Research is also a great way to learn and keep track of the upcoming deadlines for LOIs and proposals.
Research allows us to determine the necessary steps for foundation cultivation, as this is a critical part of the grants process in order to be successful. With research, we can identify the relationships that need to be formed in order for a nonprofit to work with foundations and discover the best possible angles to take on proposals. Part of ZIM’s research process is to make calls with our clients to foundations we identified as great potential funders, and these calls are the first step in that process.
Our goal is for our clients to have a comprehensive list of diverse funders that help them maintain or achieve sustainability as an organization. The acquisition of knowledge provided by Grant Research allows us to truly be experts in our field and share that information with our clients. The long-term benefits of in-depth Grant Research will yield many opportunities and options for a sustainable grants program, will enable an organization to diversify their funding, and will bring a targeted approach and organization to grant writing that is necessary for an organization’s success.