Getting Started with Government Grants w/ Mockingbird Incubator/Caroline Snyder
In this 1-hour webinar (with 15 minutes Q&A), Caroline Snyder from Mockingbird Incubator will share with you the unique requirements and characteristics of government grants and how to determine if you are eligible.
By the end of this Instrumentl Partner Webinar, you’ll be able to:
- Learn the unique requirements and characteristics of government grants and how to determine your eligibility
- Learn how to better prepare for government grants and reporting requirements
- Discover how to find the right types of funding opportunities for your nonprofit
- Understand how Instrumentl saves you time and money in identifying the right opportunities for your programs
Create your Instrumentl account using the link above. Save $50 off your first month should you decide to upgrade when your trial expires with the code MOCKINGBIRD50.
Caroline Snyder is a financial coach, founder and former high school social studies teacher. After years of teaching, she went back to grad school and got her MBA, working in financial advising until the founding of Verdi Advising in 2018. She works with Mockingbird Incubator to support nonprofit, business and international finance issues including business formation and financial operations, projections, pricing structures, budgeting, strategic use of debt and debt elimination, planning, investing and other strategic needs.
Instrumentl Partner Webinars are collaborations between Instrumentl and its community partners to provide free educational workshops for grant professionals. Our goal is to tackle a problem grant professionals often have to solve, while also sharing different ways Instrumentl’s platform can help grant writers win more grants. Click here to save a seat in our next workshop.
Click the video link below to start watching the replay of this free grant workshop, or check out the transcriptions below the video.
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Getting Started with Government Grants - Grant Training Transcription
Will: Hello, everyone. And welcome to getting started with government grants with Mockingbird incubator. This workshop is being recorded and slides will be shared afterwards. So keep your eyes peeled for a follow up email later today, in case you wanna review anything from today's workshop. In case it is your first time here, this free grant workshop is an Instrumentl partner webinar.
These are collaborations between Instrumentl and community partners to provide free educational opportunities for grant professionals. Our goal is to tackle a problem that grant professionals often have to solve while sharing different ways that Instrumentl's platform can help grant writers win more grants.
Instrumentl is the institutional fundraising platform. If you're looking to bring grant prospecting, tracking, and management to a single source of truth, we can help you do that. And you can set up your own personalized grant recommendations and more using the link on the screen there, and instumental.com/mockingbirdincubator.
Lastly, be sure to stick around for today's entire presentation. At the end, we'll be sharing with you two different freebies, one from Mockingbird and one from us for attending today live. More details to come after the presentation. Now, with that housekeeping out of the way, I'm really excited to introduce Averyl Dietering today.
Averyl comes to grant writing from academia, where she spent a decade of experience in writing, project management, communications, and academic grant writing. She worked as a university writing instructor for eight years, coaching students on how to express themselves, develop their unique voices and write persuasive, compelling stories, Averyl pivoted to grant writing in 2020 and joined the Mockingbird analytics team in 2021.
We asked that if you have any questions along the way, and it's your first time here, please use three hashtags in front of your question so it stands out in the zoom chat. We will have a dedicated Q&A section for this presentation at the end of the presentation, but Averyl , go ahead and take it away.
Averyl: All right. Thank you. So if you haven't already shared your name and organization in the chat, please do so. So we can get to know you. Another thing that we'd like to know is if you applied for a government grant before. Share with us what you found to be the most challenging. And if you have not applied to a government grant, please share with us what you're most worried about.
Really helpful to have this information so that we can be aware of what your thoughts are with this, what your past experience has been with this. All right. Great. We've got a lot of folks here. A lot of folks sharing. Today's presentation is on getting started with government grants.
Oh, here we've got some great questions, too many versions of the standard forms floating around. Yes. That can be an issue sometimes with applying to government grants as well. All right. A lot of people who haven't applied to government grants, that's fine. We will go through how to get started here.
Questions about not enough space to give enough detail about the project posed that can also certainly be an issue. All right. So move on to the next slide, if we can, Will. Thank you. Yeah, we are getting started with government grants.
As Will said my name is Averyl Dietering. I am a grant writer at Mockingbird Analytics. Mockingbird Analytics is an organization. It's a consultancy that helps non-profits achieve their goals in grants, in fundraising, in analytics, all sorts of things. All right. So there we go. During today's workshop you will be learning the unique requirements and characteristics of government grants and how to determine your eligibility.
You'll be learning how to better prepare for government grants and reporting requirements. Of course, you'll also discover how to find the right types of funding opportunities for your nonprofit, and you'll understand how Instrumentl can save you time and money and identify the right opportunities for your programs.
So I think at this point, Will, if I'm correct, this is where a poll will show up about, asking if folks have applied to government grants in the past. Yeah, you should see that poll popping out, popping up at this point with two questions. Yes or no questions. If you could answer those right now, that would be great for us.
Yeah, just answering those and submitting those. Thank you so much for doing that. So of course I, something I want to add as well is that this is not a presentation where I will be just talking the whole time and I don't want you to interrupt me. Obviously, that is not the case. If you have questions or comments, please use the chat feature as Will talked about, if you could do some hashtags before so we can see that. I'll be asking for questions and for input as we'll go along. And then at the end we'll have a large Q and a for this. All right. So we have some poll results to share. It's a pretty even split. So there's a few more who have applied for a government grant before than haven't but we're pretty evenly split amongst that.
And then as far as those who have won a government grant, again, kind of even split a few more who have not won a government grant, those who have but this is great. We've got a great mix of people. And we're excited to share with all of you today.
All right. And of course, if you do have any particular questions about the platform itself about Instrumentl itself, we'll be the experts. We'll be the go-to to ask questions about that. All right. Can we go to the -- let's see, yeah. The next slide. So we are going to be talking about, oh, sorry.
Can we go to the previous? Yeah. Thanks. Sorry about that, Will. So a lot of you might know about the basics of grant writing, but it's always helpful to address them again just because this is a very complex area of grants. So what is a government grant? It's simply a financial award given by a federal, state, or local government authority for a project.
A lot of these are to help with programs in the community to enrich the community. Sometimes it's just to stimulate the economy, whatever it is, they are financial awards by either a state, local, or federal government. All right. Let's go to the next slide about frequently asked questions.
So of course the question, why would you apply for a government grant? Let me ask. Does anyone currently have funding from a government grant for their program? If you do, can you either mention it in the chat or do like the hand raise emoji or anything like that? All right.
We've got a few people. Great. That's great. We've got several people who currently have funding from federal grants, department of commerce, HRSA, department of education, CDSS, perfect. County grants. All right. Lots. Department of health. This is great. Why do organizations apply for government grants?
Well, government grants can be a great way to get large projects funded, right? Often not always, but often government grants can supply more money than some private foundation. And so if you have a very large project, it can be good to look into that government grant funding. In the comments, it also looks like we have some, you know, some levels, right.
That people are looking at. We've, you know, gotten city and county level, but not federal. Some people have some federal grants, but not city or county or state. Again, lots of different levels for government grants. Where can you find government grants? So the easiest way to find a government grant is through the federal register.
And you can see those two URLs right there, federalregister.gov, grants.gov. Those are the easiest ways to find those government grants. And of course, who is eligible to apply -- nonprofit organizations, for-profit organizations, individuals, and higher education institutions. So this is a pretty broad range of people who are able and organizations who are eligible to apply. As far as when you should apply for a government grant, you know, there are deadlines all over the place with government grants, of course.
But in general, as soon as a government grant has been posted, you should start working on the application. If you have applied before, which it seems like many of you have, you know that they ask for a whole lot in a very short amount of time. So if a government grant has already dropped and it's been, you know, maybe a couple of weeks, really think twice before you decide to get into that, because you're really, they ask for a whole lot and they, don't always, you know, you're going to want to use all of that time that you have been given to work on it.
We have a question, are state grants listed in the federal register? What about county and local grants? That is a great question. Sorry, I'm seeing if this comment is answering that federal funds distributed through the state -- through the state are also avenues for the larger products and that's yeah, Jen.
Yes. That's true. Local, county, state grants are not in the federal register typically. Yeah, so that's where we're going to find that federal register in the grants.gov are probably going to be the best places to find federal grants. As far as finding local, county, or state grants, that's something to be looking into local, county, and state websites for.
Okay, so let's move on to the next slide. There are different types of government grants, as we've already discussed a little bit. So federal grants, you can get through, the department of labor, department of Homeland security, all of those departments listed there. State grants, we're located in California in the LA area in particular.
So we've given some examples of California state grants and of course, local grants like county or city grants. Again, does anyone have any funding from a state or a local grant? If you could post that in the comments, either hand raise emoji or say yes. Let's see who has funding from a state or a local grant.
All right. Great. We've got some people, California, DDS, state, Cal vacs NYS, DC department of health. We have a school district that gets a lot of local funding. CDGB, that's great. All right. Lots of them, arts and heritage, Indiana state. Great. Oh, and of course the community development block grants.
Those are great to look into as well. All right, let's go to the next slide, then. So what do you need in place before you apply for a government grant? This is a big, big question. What you need, first of all, government grants will ask you for a lot of documentation.
To be a good candidate, you need to have a lot already in place. Let me ask you, when you read through with the requirements for government grants, does it feel overwhelming? Do you feel overwhelmed or do you feel like, oh, I've got this, let me know in the, yeah. Lots of, I see here lots of feeling overwhelmed.
There's typically lists and lists of what you need to include. So, oh, yes. Exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point. Oh. Yeah. We've got some people with experience. Cameron, 25 years of experience. So not super overwhelmed. That's great. But if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, that's okay.
That's what we're here to talk about. So of course the first issue that you need to have is you have to have clean financial records. They have to be clear. They have to be up-to-date and in compliance with the IRS. This is key. If your financial ducks are not in a row, you won't be a good fit for a government grant.
And this is because you won't be able to handle the financial regulations or the reporting requirements, you know, it is a government grant, as we know a lot of things associated with federal, local, state governments have a lot of bureaucracy attached to them. They're going to be asking for a lot of reporting for this. All right, so, of course you'll need a proof of concept including several years of data to back up your claims.
So this data is key. You are going to need the metrics to prove what you can do. And this is true even if you have a continuing program that you're asking for funding for or if maybe you have a new program that you want to expand or an old program that you're wanting to expand even if it isn't a perfect one-to-one comparison you need to show that you can do what you are setting out to do, right? And you need proof of concept.
All right. The next thing that you will need is a strong history of grant management. And this is especially key. You need to prove that you can follow the rules. There are a lot of requirements that government grants tend to have about grant management, showing that you're using the money you know, in ways that you intended to use it.
And so if you cannot manage the grant and if you cannot show that you have a strong history of that, that's going to be difficult. All right. And then of course you need the organizational capacity to handle a big influx of cash and implement the program or project that you're proposing. And if you don't have that capacity, currently, you'll need to be able to explain how you will hire more program staff or how you will expand your capacity to do so. And you also need to be able to explain why you'd be able to do that well, right. Not just like, oh, we'll hire new people. It'll be okay. You need to explain why you are doing, why, how, and why you will be able to hire people well.
All right. Here's a question. Does that mean if your organization hasn't received grants from other sources in the past, they're unlikely to be awarded a government grant? Not necessarily. But being awarded grants from other sources does help you show that you have a strong history of grants management.
So in a lot of cases, what we would generally suggest is that you work on finding other grants before you move to government grants so that you can build up some of the capacity, some of the management skills and whatnot to apply to government grants. That's not always the case.
And it's, you know, it can definitely be a case by case basis, but in general, you do want to be able to have experience, to show that you have experience with being awarded other grants and that you managed those well.
All right. So what questions should you ask your team first? And I want to emphasize here that this should be a team. There's a lot of organizations that have one person who's generally the grant writer. Depending on the foundation that you are applying to, you could get by with having one person writing this grant with input from others. But when it comes to government grants, you really need that teamwork.
The first question of course is what concerns do you have about the application process? And you want to be able to listen to this, right? You want to be able to listen to what your team's concerns are. It's a huge undertaking and the whole team needs to be on board. If there are people who are hesitant about it for different reasons, you want to make sure that you're listening to those hesitations. If they're worried about, for example, the capacity to do the following, such as reviewing the RFP, writing the grant, handling reimbursements with the government fulfilling program requirements and reporting requirements.
So you want to make sure that your team has all of their concerns answered before you go ahead with it. And of course the question, are there other ways that we can get funding for our programming needs? Generally speaking, and again, this is not a rule a hundred percent of the time, but generally speaking, if you are able to get some really great funding through other maybe like private foundation grants or other venues you're going to want to think twice before you apply for a government grant because of the massive undertaking that it is.
All right. And of course the question is are you ready? Of course it is about capacity. Do you have the capacity for planning the program and services? Do you have the capacity to write the grant? Do you have the capacity to implement these programs and services and to fulfill financial requirements?
And this is key. I think a lot of people, they see government grants that are awarding large amounts, you know, they're awarding $250,000 or they're awarding $2 million or something along those lines. And it gets really exciting of course, like who doesn't, I mean, raise your hand, let me know if you get excited, when you see that amount of money. It's really nice to be able to think like, oh, we could get a couple of million dollars or like hundreds of thousands of dollars, right to run a program. That's a really great thing, but to be clear, These are reimbursements. So you have to be able to put that money in first, right. And then be reimbursed later on typically like a monthly basis. And then of course fulfilling reporting requirements. All right. Jeff has a question about the DUNS number.
We'll get to that later in the presentation. Okay. So of course why do you need all of this information? The fact of the matter is that most organizations won't succeed in getting government grants because they're just super competitive. Right? So that means in order to justify spending a lot of hours completing the application, you need to know that you have a good chance of receiving the money.
This is an experience that Mockingbird had recently. We worked with the clients to apply for a government grant. We spent about 200 hours on this grant. It can take, we generally say it's at least 40 hours of work, but in this particular grant, it took, you know, about 200 hours.
I'm just asking if you want to respond in the chat, do government grants for you typically take longer than other grants? I'm assuming they take a lot longer than other private foundations. Yeah, you understand. You're getting it and that's, you know, that's just how, that's just how it is, especially.
Oh, Kathy's saying, especially with a young non-profit. Yep. Definitely not a last minute endeavor. Yeah, that's true. There's some private foundation grants that you can, worst comes to worst, you can like pull them together in a week or so. You don't want to be doing that with a government grant.
That's a really quick way to light your hair on fire, if you will. All right. So let's look at the logistical homework that you need to do before you apply. This is where we have the DUNS number, right? So you do need to sign up for a DUNS and Bradstreet number. And just a note that in April of 2022, we're going to transition from DUNS to a new unique identity or sorry, entity identifier.
So that's going to be something that will change. Let's see, you'll need to sign up for SAM, which is a system for award management. You'll need to sign up for a commercial and government entity code. And of course, creating an account on grants.gov. And this is key. This order is important. You need to allocate about four to six weeks of lead time to apply for these. This is not something, you know, it's not something like setting up a social media account where you can just go for a new organization and Facebook and Twitter and this and that for them. There's a particular order that it needs to be done in.
Often you cannot apply for this before you receive your number for that. So you want to make sure that you have enough time. Let me ask, has anyone gone through this process before? If so in the comments, will you let me know what you felt like was hard to do with this application process or what was easy? And if you can remember, how long did it take you?
Let's see, for me, I did this a few months ago for an organization and it was really complex. Yeah, I need to say [inaudible] was the most difficult, DUNS was easy, but took time. Some of this requires a fair amount of information. You know, that can be difficult to find that information, to put it in. Sean says it wasn't complicated, but you can't be in a hurry. Yeah, that makes sense.
Alright, so let's talk about the typical grant cycle. All right. So again, this major warning, they are sometimes very, very fast. If you pay close attention to the specific government agency you want to apply with they might give some clues about upcoming grants, such as press releases and other things they might not. This is something that if you are new, you might not be as -- if you're new to a particular grant, you might not be as familiar with it. If you've applied to a grant multiple times, you might have a sense of like, okay, this is about the time when they tend to drop these. This is about the time that they tend to announce. So there's a bit of a learning curve to this. Once a grant's RFP is released, you might only have a month or two to complete your application, but sometimes you'll have several months. Again, this is something that if you're brand new to this you might not know ahead of time.
If you've applied a couple of times before you might start to get a sense of that. Oh, and Liz points out helpfully, there's the grants.gov forecast. Plus you can look at prior grants and look at a period of performance for when it will be released. Thanks Liz for that helpful comment. All right, and of course the typical grant application takes at least 40 hours. They can easily take much more depending on the requirement. Has anyone, can anyone remember how long it took them? If you've written a recent grant, can you give out like estimates of hours it took you? As I mentioned before, we recently submitted a government grant and it's about over 200 hours.
So I don't know if anyone's keeping track of that there. If it's taking you longer. 80 to a hundred hours, CJ says. Three weeks at least a hundred hours from Terry. 60 hours for the department of commerce. Yeah. If again, if you have not applied for government grants before, and you're here brand-new to it, make sure you're paying attention to these numbers so that you can have that in mind when you apply.
All right. So the typical order of events, again, this is not always how it goes. But the typical order of events is that a grant timeline is projected. And as we had mentioned earlier, I can't remember who mentioned but the grants.gov can have these forecasted grants. Of course the RFP drops RFP requests for proposals or sometimes it's called an NIA, which means notice inviting applications. Either way, you know, that's when you get the information about what you need to submit. Afterwards, you need to determine whether or not your organization is a good fit for the opportunity.
Cannot stress how important this is. I was recently talking to a colleague about an organization that they were helping to apply to a government grant. And the government grant was designed for elementary schools and they were applying as a middle school. And there was a miscommunication within the team of whether or not they were eligible.
And it was, you know, when they submitted the grant and they got the feedback, it was very clear that they were not eligible for the simple fact that it was for elementary schools and they were a middle school. So you really want to make sure that you're focused on that. You're aware of that.
All right. Let's have a pause real quick. Speaking about eligibility. You need to read the RFP and the NIA very carefully, right? If you are not a good fit, right? If you are writing for a middle school and they're asking for elementary schools to apply, it's a waste of your time to write this grant. It's unfortunate. But again, we just saw all of these folks posting in the chat about how much time they spent on it. You know, you don't want to be putting 160, 50, 40 hours into something that's not going to be a good fit. So are you the right type of organization? Do you have the right financial requirements, the right program alignment, a timeline, and of course, internal capacity for completing the program requirements? Christina has a helpful comment. She's found it's very good to speak to the program officer for the grant program. That can be very helpful. Sometimes these requirements can be a little tricky. So it's always nice to talk to someone about this.
Alright, here's what you could be missing. Not always, but you might be missing if the RFP requires cost sharing or cost matching. Does it require you to have an operation for longer than five years? This is also a typical requirement for those of you who have newer non-profits, this is something to be aware of, but it's not always there, but you know, you want to be aware of it. Can your organization afford to pay the cost upfront and rely on a monthly reimbursement plan? Again, these reimbursements, you know, if you get a grant for a million dollars, you don't just get a million dollar check in the mail, right? As you get approved, you're gonna need to reimburse. And of course, are there specific insurance requirements you need to be eligible to apply?
These are often the problems that we see for folks, but sometimes they are not obvious from the start. So this is something to always be aware of as you apply. So back to the typical order of events Once you've determined that you're a good fit. You want to gather all the necessary information. You want to create a logic model. This is key. You always want to try to do this first. As a university writing instructor, I noticed that a lot of my students thought that you wrote in the same order that you write where, you know, you re you write the introduction and then you know, the middle, and then the conclusion, that's not the case especially with these. They're going to be written in different pieces and the logic model.
It's always much easier to write the logic model first and to create a narrative based off of that then to write the narrative first and then try to figure out a logic model based off of that. And of course, once you have the logic model, you need to write the narrative, complete all the supplemental materials. And this can be really tricky. You want to make sure that you spend enough time here just because they're supplemental does not mean that they should be after thoughts at all. So you want to make sure, especially that you're looking for any supplemental financial pieces so that you can get them to your finance team so they can work on those spreadsheets.
And then once you have completed all of that, you submit your application. You pat yourself on the back. Whoo-hoo! You did it. And then you wait, that's, you know, that's a stressful part. Sometimes you have to wait pretty long. Then you find out if you've been awarded the grant money, this could be really great. If you get the money, that's awesome. If you don't, they will typically give you feedback and you want to make sure that you read this. It can be super helpful information. Liz comments that you want to check the scoring table so that you know which sections of the narrative are most important, that's important as well.
And they will often give you scores in the feedback that you received. So that's very helpful to look at and see which sections might have scored lower. Make sure you get that feedback. So that if you are not able to get it that time, you can write a better grant proposal next time. And of course, if you have received it, that's when you want to start project implementation and reporting requirements.
All right. So now we're going to talk about what government grant myths you have heard. Dun, dun, dun! Right. I'm going to ask you, as I'm talking about the government grants that we have heard the most, I'm going to ask you to write in the government grants that you've heard and post those in the comments. So of course this myth about it being free and easy money, it is not, it is not free, and it will not be easy. Again, you want to prepare to spend at least four to six weeks preparing a government grant proposal. Another myth, the government grants, or the government has free grants for starting a business or a nonprofit for paying off bills, buying a house. And of course taking a vacation, right? You want to go to Cancun? Ask the government for a grant. That's not how it works. No government agency is handing out free money, regardless of your gender, ethnicity, economic status, or any kind of items. Another myth that we have heard before when you're awarded funding, you get a big check to pay for your project.
Again, as we've talked about, this is typically in the form of a reimbursement and not just, you know, a giant check that they give you at the very beginning and say spend this. So make sure you can put that money upfront. And then, the final myth that we find to be the most common is this idea that you can spend funds before the application is approved and they will be reimbursed by the grant. That's not true, unless the only way it could be true is if the grant-making institution approves those expenses, and you should make clear if you're going to do that, you should absolutely make clear that that's the case. But you should assume unless that's the case, you should assume that reimbursement on expenses incurred before the grant was approved.
All right. Thank you all for sharing your myths as well. We get a lot of myths about free money in this. All right, so let's talk about the next steps. We've got this great government grant checklist. You want to, of course, make sure that your 990 is in order. You want to make sure that you are complying with the financial best practices. This is so crucial when it comes to government grants. You want to make sure that you are tracking data related to the success of your work. This is key. You want to have that from physical data, concrete data that you can look at. And of course you want to discuss how you'd handle financials with your CPA, start looking for grant opportunities, and especially look at past RFPs to get a sense of what's happening and what has happened in the past. Set up those Google alerts. That's super, super helpful. And finally you want to discuss with your team, or of course, with Mockingbird and/or with Mockingbird to make a plan for writing and completing a grant application.
That was a comment that was given earlier having an Excel spreadsheet to plan all of that through. All right. So now I'm going to turn it over to Will for the rest of the time.
Will: Awesome. Averyl, thanks so much for that handoff. Somebody mentioned in there that spreadsheet and I'll share with you other ways that you can tackle some of the submission guidelines as well as milestones that you have related to your government opportunities.
In case you are looking to find more opportunities, both government, private, or corporate, you can check out the link to Mockingbird's Instrumentl link at instrumental.com/mockingbird, which I'll put in the chat below. And what that'll do is you can create a project and essentially get personalized matches for your organization.
So in case you are, it's your first time here, Instrumentl is the online platform that brings prospecting, tracking, and management into one place. And the way we do that is we aggregate all the public and private funding opportunities for 501c3s and then give detailed 990 reports and foundation reports at your fingertips that you can quickly assess whether or not it's a good fit funder for you. We also will show you some government opportunities, which I'll show you in a little bit when you are setting up your projects, but essentially what our matching algorithm is going to do is it's going to output for you, who we think are good fit opportunities based off of your organization or project.
And then what'll happen is when deadlines change over time and whatnot, we will automatically notify you of those changes as well. And we'll also be able to store all your tasks, notes, and documents in the same place. So the best way to show that is really to hop into Instrumentl in the case where you set up a project, what you might be able to go to is you might be able to go into your matches tab.
And when you're in this matches tab, you're going to have a dropdown for filter. And in the case where you've never seen Instrumentl, this matches tab is essentially what our matching algorithm has output as potentially good fit matches for this respective project on air quality. And when you're in your Instrumentl count, you're going to drop down on this filter and then you're gonna filter for federal government.
It's going to be that last option there for the funder type and from there, what you're going to see is you're going to see the opportunities that match the specific project that you set up in the situation. So, again, for this example, this is on air quality, and you can see how this is showing us to it because of the match to environmental contamination and pollution.
But if we were to look at another project, maybe we're going to go into this homeless and elderly project instead, we might go into this section, do the same thing in terms of filtering for federal opportunities. And now you're going to see the different situations in terms of what's matching to those opportunities.
You'll also notice from the earlier question, in terms of state and local governments, that that is also an option in Instrumentl. So you're going to select state and local government in the case where you're looking for those specific opportunities. So bottom line, if you need help in terms of identifying which of those best opportunities are out there, you can rely on Instrumentl's matching algorithm to help you in terms of identifying a short list to start with.
And then from there, you can continue to peruse through grants.gov for potentially some other opportunities and things like that. And then when you are working your way through these opportunities, you might notice the case where Averyl was mentioning how sometimes it's all about forecasting out when new opportunities are gonna come back.
Instrumentl will also do that for you. So when you see this predicted deadline squiggly line, it's really cool because what's going to happen is we're going to look at the historical funding pattern for consistent programs and essentially output for you when we believe that cycle is going to be coming up. And then when that state or local government has actually finalized this.
So in this case, the California Natural Resource Agency when they put out their official date, what's going to happen is we're going to update that as well for you for that final date. And so when you save this opportunity, you're going to be able to save that into your tracker. And when you save it into your tracker, this is essentially going to be the leveled up version of what some of you guys might be doing in an old-school spreadsheet. But here's why it's more effective than that when it comes to being systemized in your, you know, government grant process or in your private corporate grants and whatnot.
The first thing that you can do in Instrumentl is when you have a particular opportunity, like the one I have here with the California Nature Resource Agency, I can click into it and see all the opportunity details in the same place. I can also leave notes for myself so that if I want to say let's discuss this this Friday.
I'll leave a note for myself and I can also set up tasks and reminders for my team. So why is this helpful? Well, it's helpful because if in working through your logic model or working through your standard operating procedures around government grants, you want to take Gabriel's checklist and make that into a regimented list of five to seven steps that you consistently do each and every time, you can create different milestones and say, hey, run this through logic model.
And then I can set the deadline for let's do it for next Friday, the 12th. And I can choose whether or not I want to email my entire team or if I just want to email one person on my team and whatnot, and then what's going to happen is once a week, whenever we have a task or a deadline coming up, we're going to get one email that tells us. Hey, are all the new tasks and deadlines related to opportunities that you've saved to your tracker all in the same place. And then let's say that you apply to this every single year and you upload your final proposal in this document library. And then you think to your team, hey, let's start planning for 2022.
That's coming up really quickly. Well, all you need to do is click that more options button, click the duplicate button, and then you can select the same project. And then change this and then maybe set it for 2022. And now I've got it for next year in the same place as well. So I can even change that and change it maybe to 2023 in the case where I want to start planning a multi-year strategy and whatnot. Everything stays in the same place in terms of all the tracking files.
And so what's nice is that if you have some opportunities you're already working on, you can just click the add one button and then you can add your own opportunities in or you can even upload your existing spreadsheet. And once you do that, what's going to happen is our team will import that in for you and then you'll be able to track everything in the same place as well. The last thing that's really helpful is when it comes to reporting. So when it comes to some sort of team meeting or a meeting with your board, if you're part of a nonprofit and you have a meeting where your board is asking you, hey, what is that?
What are those 10 foundations that you potentially identified that were good fit funders? Can I take a look at those? All you can do is you can just pull a custom report and then quickly generate a PDF or CSV report for your team. And so that can be a really easy way for you to essentially get insights and share that across different team members as you're working your way through the opportunities.
So in the case where you have your Instrumentl account, be sure today to log in, go to your filter section, select the funder type, and then look for federal government or state local governments in relation to today's presentation. Otherwise you can also use Instrumentl for all of the other things in terms of the other funder types, like private grants and things like that as well.
There's a couple of questions that I'll tackle real quickly around things that came up as I shared this, but in the case where you haven't already created your account, there's that link in the zoom chat in the case where you want to sign up with Mockingbird's team over there. So the first question I got was how far in advance are deadlines posted and Instrumentl for government grant opportunities?
Our team is regularly going through grants.gov as well as vetting against our current database and so pretty much it's pretty up-to-date and in the case where it's ever isn't, what you can do is you can choose this chat bubble in the bottom right corner, and just ping us to take a double look at a particular opportunity that you have in mind.
And then it will usually be up within that same week in terms of Aaron, he asked, how does this compare to Grant Station. We're much more robust than Grant Station. Grant Station is typically something in which they kind of do one pretty well, which is just identifying opportunities, but we essentially allow you to bring all your tracking and management into one place as well.
So we are pretty much a three function tool. Whereas Grant Station is primarily for identifying RFPs at the high level. So if you need to compare, you can go to our site and then go to the testimonials page at the bottom. There are comparison pages for how we compare to the different toolings that you might be used to as well.
In terms of checking out the section of Instrumentl you can actually create your free trial account using Mockingbird's link, and then you'll get access to the same matches section that I just showed you in terms of being able to filter for federal government and state opportunities, as well as the other opportunity.
We do have private grants as well. That is indeed correct, Virginia. And in terms of a project, a project is not a grant. You should think of a project, like a place where you can have a saved grant search as well as a tracker. So each of these projects on the left hand side represent an initiative that I'm working on.
So I have this almost an elderly project. I have this mental health project. I even have Liz's awesome project from another workshop I ran and pretty much, these are just ways in which each one of these are custom searches that have been set up for each of these things. So Liz was part of a food security and a food delivery organization.
And so we set up a project for her based on her organization's criteria and things like that. So you'll get two dedicated workspaces in which you'll get that matches section as well as that tracker for each of the projects. And it looks like Christina asked if Instrumentl also has state foundations or just national and international. I believe I just, I answered that as well. You'll see that in the dropdown for state and community organizations. Cool. Let's see here. Sean, thanks so much for the support there. Instrumentl. He's just explaining to them the differences much more. User-friendly definitely worth checking out the free trial.
Yeah, there's really, there's no card as well with that free trial. So feel free to use that and get new matches from there. You can't write the grant in Instrumentl, however, you can upload your documents into your document library. That is something that most people will do when it comes to the submission side. So for example, they'll create a task like submission. Submit opportunity. And then from there they will then upload into this section under add documents. Great questions. I'm going to hop back over the recaps in terms of learning takeaways. And then we will open up to some Q and A as well.
So moving right along here. Averyl, why don't you take this over and then we'll go from there.
Averyl: All right. Thank you so much, Will. Okay. So these are the three major takeaways that we want you to be aware of that you've gotten from this workshop. You now know, first of course, how to prepare for government grants.
Second, how to determine your eligibility, right? To make sure that when you're looking at a grant, you know if you are a good fit, you know it's going to be worth anywhere from 40 to 200 hours worth of your time. And of course you also have learned the myths to ignore, right? This isn't free money. You aren't going to get that big check ahead of time to supply everything.
You need to make sure that you have the capacity to run these grants, to manage these grants or else you probably won't be able to get another grant. All right. I, can we pop over to the next slide? Will, thank you. So if you are interested of course, Mockingbird incubator helps nonprofits in finding funding and finding government funding and all these, lots of different services in how to run your nonprofit.
So if you're interested you can always, if you're interested in any of these services, especially government grants, you can always email us. You can look at our website. We have, of course our LinkedIn and again, what we posted at the beginning, but if you did not write it down, make sure you write it down now. Go to instrumentl.com/mockingbirdincubator, and use Mockingbird50 to save $50 off of your first month.
Will: Awesome. And with that, I just put into the zoom chat how you can get some freebies for attending today's workshop. When you click that Mockingbird incubator link, you will be directed to the homepage. If you don't have your existing account, you can then create your account on this homepage. And then that freebies link will also have the webinar feedback form. The name is going to say Caroline, but it's going to be Averyl's presentation. So just keep that in mind, when you're submitting the feedback form, it's going to be the same presentation title.
And what you're going to want to do is click that freebies link. Give us some feedback in terms of this workshop, as well as share on social media what you learned from today's workshop, tagging both us and Mockingbird incubator, and then you'll be redirected to two freebies. The first one is going to be the pre-grant checklist from Mockingbird's team.
And the second one's going to be the 10 best lessons from 10 grant writing experts, which is a compilation of 10 of our other earlier workshops featuring some best-selling authors as well in terms of what some of the best nuggets of advice they had were around grants. So we're going to jump into the Q and A session of this presentation before we do so, though, as a reminder, we are going to be sending slides and the replay after this in case you arrived late or for whatever reason that you need to review anything. And if you enjoyed this grant workshop as well, our next one's going to be on November 17th, covering grant ethics bingo with Amanda Day and Kimberly Hays de Muga.
They are the hosts of the Hayday Fundraising podcast. And so that'll be a more interactive and fun workshop as well. So you can register for that in our events calendar, which we'll include in the follow up email. And so the first question we had from the audience earlier is. So the organization, when they're applying to those different accounts, like the DUNS and whatnot as a freelancer, would I have my own account? So in other words, what does somebody do if they are freelancing for an organization that is applying for government grants?
Averyl: Right. This depends, I've done some of this work with an organization and it, you really want to talk to the organization first and see what they want. In some cases I have done this for an organization and they wanted all this information to be in the executive director's name. And they just gave me all of the information to log in with that. And I made sure that everything was passed through and approved through the executive director before I would do that.
However, if this is your business and you are a freelancer for a lot of different organizations then yes, you'll want your own. And you'll also need to be able to connect it to these other organizations.
Will: The next question we had is what is the logic model? Is it the same as an outline?
Averyl: No logic models and outlines, they are definitely connected in the way that they both help. You kind of get out of the weeds and think about the bigger picture. But what a logic model is, it typically is like a chart, right? And it says essentially, what are the ins? And what are the outputs? What are the outcomes? You know, what are your goals? It depends on there isn't one single logic model out there that everyone uses. Each government grant might want something slightly different, but generally speaking, a logic model is going to be something that will focus on inputs focused on your goals, outputs outcomes. Feel free to Google them. There's a lot of different versions online that you can look out to get a good sense.
Will: For the grant application. What exactly are they scoring? Are they scoring grammar or only the content?
Averyl: So they will definitely let you know what they are scoring and they'll break it down into, like, this thing is going to be worth, you know, 80 points. This thing is going to be worth 50 points, so on and so forth. They are not going to be looking just at the grammar. But it's nice to have good grammar. This is something that I told my students is that you want to make sure that your grammar is going to be good enough that other people can understand you.
But they're not going to be going through, you know, looking for a fine tooth comb saying like, oh, you didn't get this grant because you had a dangling participle or anything like that. So it's primarily the content that they're looking at, but make sure that that grammar is good enough that they can understand. Helpful comment here to use the Grammarly Chrome extension, right?
If you have issues with grammar or spelling there's a lot of things out there that can help you with that so it's not an issue. But I'd say focus, focus on the content, make sure that that content can be understood by others.
Will: Another question we got was what does the federal government consider to be appropriate spending sources? IE that money that will be reimbursed, reserves, credit, other grant funding.
Averyl: I'm not sure if I totally understand that question. Could you say that again, Will?
Will: Yeah. The question was, what does the federal government consider appropriate spending sources? And then they wrote, for example, money that will be reimbursed. Reserves? Credit? Other grant funding?
Averyl: That's a great question. Off the top of my head, I'm not sure if I can give you a hard and fast rule with that, but I would say that it could change based on the grant that you applied to. And that's something, if you have these questions, especially if you know, at this moment, I'm not able to fully answer that question for you, that's something where if you have a specific government grant in mind you can ask them about that. You can look in the application, look in the RFP or the NIA, or you can contact someone. Christina has a helpful comment in the chat. She says most of the federal grants she's worked on have a list of what you can't spend the money on. So make sure that you're, you're looking for that. Thanks,
Will: Cool. David gave me some feedback that I zipped through my demo. So it was fast and didn’t sell him on it. So I won't actually sell you on it in this meeting, but if you need to I will actually let others sell you on it, which is just go to our testimonials page.
They're both videos and written stories as to how different nonprofits are using us. It's better to hear from them than it is to hear from me anyways. And in the case where you use Mockingbird's link, our team will dedicate a half hour to learn about your grant strategy and think about how we can potentially help your nonprofit as well.
So I usually let the folks and let our customers speak for ourselves. And I wanted to make sure there was enough Q and A time here. So that's why I was going a little bit quicker through that section, but I appreciate the feedback. And if you guys have any other questions feel free to put them in the chat.
And we have a few more minutes for a few more questions that we can take from there. I'm trying to scroll through and see if I missed any from earlier. There was a question actually from, I believe it was Amanda. She was asking about, I can answer this from Instrumentl after you, but she was asking for Mockingbird as well. If you offer any other trainings paid or free.
Averyl: Yeah, we do. We have a number of trainings that we offer on just all sorts of different topics on managing and running a nonprofit and looking for fundraising, all sorts of things.
You can check that out at mockingbirdanalytics.com. You can sign up for our newsletter so that when we have those events, you can be the first to know that you can sign up and register. And of course there was another comment that I saw about how this feels very overwhelming. This feels very intimidating.
If you have government grants that you would like to sign up for or apply for, and you're just worried about it again, that's something that you can talk to us about as well. We're happy to help you with that process.
Will: And from Instrumentl's end, we run a number of workshops throughout the month, all around different grant topics. All of our workshops are free. And you can actually find a library of some of our past ones as well. When you're on our site, there's a bottom footer section for our blog. And if you click into grant writing classes there are replays of -- I believe at this point, it's probably more than 15 hours worth of content or so.
And so all of that will be there where you can click in and review the slides of that presenter. And in a few weeks from now, we'll also have this presentation up as well. So that can also be helpful if you are looking for more educational materials and things like that. And we love it when you can share this with folks that you are working with too.
Or just friends and colleagues. Awesome that Grant Space since it really makes it worth our partner's while present on our, with us when new folks come on and they're able to learn from all of the different expertise out there. Yes, recordings will be sent afterwards. This'll be the last call for questions.
So we have a minute or two for another final question. Angie asked, I may have missed the answer, but is applying for government grants an efficient use of time for a new organization, no records, years of data or track.
Averyl: So my -- Averyl, thank you for your comment. No, my advice here would be that it is not a good use of time to apply for those government grants, but it is a good use of time to prepare, right?
So that's where you want to be keeping those records, keeping those data. Make sure that from the beginning, you set out with that, if that's a goal that you have in mind, make sure that you are doing what you need to do ahead of time to focus on that. It can be just as difficult. We have some non-profits we've been working with who have been in existence for years, but for whatever reason, they're just not in the habit of keeping good records.
And that can be something that's really difficult to work with. So if you do have that goal of applying for government grants, make sure that you are starting from the beginning to prepare yourself to be eligible for those.
Will: Agreed in terms of folks that are thinking about getting set up on Instrumentl as well. What we tell folks is if you are below 90k in operating revenue and do not have 501c3 status yet, you may be a little too early for Instrumentl. However, if you're looking to scale your institutional fundraising strategy that is the time in which Instrumentl will be a helpful tool for you. So there's definitely other tools out there as well in the case where you're at an early stage at this point in time. Cool. Well, I just put in the chat that freebie link in case you missed it earlier, we're at the top of the hour, which means it's time for us to call it for this workshop, but thanks so much for attending, everybody. And we'll get this replay out to you guys in the next few hours. Bye now.