Is Instrumentl Worth It? Grant Management for Nonprofits

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September 2, 2023

Last Updated:

June 5, 2024

Grants can be the most effective way to advance your nonprofit’s philanthropic goals. But that money doesn’t grow on trees—and justifying the cost of a paid grants database to your leaders is a conversation you need to prepare for.

This is the question we are here to answer: Is Instrumentl really worth it? 

While we may be biased, we want to provide you with a comprehensive overview of Instrumentl’s grant discovery and management platform so that you can discover the answer for yourself. We will explain:

  • How Instrumentl works
  • Its key features
  • How it compares to other grant databases. 
  • Its pros and cons 
  • What real Instrumentl users have to say about the platform

This will help you assess whether Instrumentl makes sense for you and your team.

The Rising Need for Effective Grant Management Tools

It seems like with every year, there are more and more nonprofits created seeking to change the world. And while it is amazing that so many people want to dedicate their lives to helping others, it can be difficult to find the best fundraising opportunities to support these organizations.

This is where effective grant finding tools—like Instrumentl—come into play.

The Rising Need for Effective Grant Management Tools

As you can imagine, searching for and sorting through grants to find one that is relevant to your nonprofit can take considerable time and effort.

Every grant has different guidelines and requirements, meaning not every opportunity will be a fit your organization. Fortunately, effective grant finding and management tools can help nonprofits simplify and streamline this otherwise overwhelming process.

A good grant search tool allows users to search through a curated database of funding opportunities. The best grant databases even provide helpful filters—like funding location, deadline, amount, and more—to help nonprofits narrow in on the most relevant grants they can apply to.

Rather than combing through a myriad of different search results, a good grant discovery tool works off a carefully curated database to make the grant search process easier and more effective.

By saving time in the research process, grant finding tools also enable nonprofits to focus on submitting successful proposals.

What Is Instrumentl?

Founded in 2014, Instrumentl was designed to make finding, tracking, and managing grants an effortless process for nonprofit organizations. The ultimate goal was to help nonprofits secure more funding faster and more efficiently through an all-in-one platform. 

Instrumentl helps you find grants faster

Here’s how: 

  • Instrumentl’s comprehensive grant and funder database makes it easy to locate good-fit funding opportunities instantly. Going far beyond the basics, Instrumentl also combines its extensive grant database with grant tracking and management tools to help streamline and simplify the entire grant lifecycle from start to finish.
  • By combining grant discovery, tracking, and management into a single workflow, nonprofits can standardize their grant process, increasing efficiency, saving time, and improving their rates of funding success.

“I really feel strongly that [Instrumentl] has increased my efficiency. It's no longer, ‘Let’s just fill out 10 grant applications and hope we get a response.’ Now, I almost always get a response. Our success rate has gone from 14% to 22%; that’s a significant jump.’” - Becky Harris, Philanthropy Director for Foundations & Corporations at Eversight

Becky Harris Eversight increased success rate with Instrumentl

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What Can You Accomplish With Instrumentl? Key Features Examined

1. Finding New RFPs and Funders

Instrumentl provides users with an extensive grant database that includes: 

  • Over 400,000 funders 
  • Over 17,000 active RFPs 
  • Over 150 new opportunities added weekly 

What really sets Instrumentl apart is its Smart Matching tool.

Get matched with new grants weekly

All you have to do is enter in your nonprofit’s area of focus, location, and funding needs, and Instrumentl will automatically analyze its database to provide you with a curated list of good-fit matches.

Instrumentl is the only grant platform that reveals if a funder is open to new grantees
Instrumentl is the only grant platform that reveals if a funder is open to new grantees

From this list of matches, you’ll then be able to click into each opportunity to access the funder’s 990 snapshots. Based on information pulled from the foundation’s previous 990s, these foundation profiles give you insight into their:

  • Trends in giving average and median amounts 
  • Past grantees 
  • Giving by NTEE codes
  • Key people
  • Openness to new grantees 
Instrumentl parses each nonprofit's 990 data to identify the causes they support
Quickly see what causes a funder supports the most

These comprehensive funder profiles help you to quickly determine whether the specific opportunity is worth pursuing.

Finding active grants and analyzing funder profiles has never been easier.

2. Tracking Prospect Research and Submissions

Instrumentl provides a  grant calendar with email reminders so you can track deadlines.
Instrumentl provides a  grant calendar with email reminders so you can track deadlines.

Instrumentl isn’t just a prospecting tool—it also makes tracking and managing grants a breeze.

From your list of grant matches, you can save any opportunity that you’d like to pursue further and it will be automatically added to your Grant Tracker. From this Tracker, you’ll be provided with a comprehensive overview of all of your saved grants, including their: 

  • Deadline 
  • Status (researching, submitted, planned, etc.)
  • Amount 
  • Next task 
  • Notes 

Everything is organized and easily accessible in one centralized dashboard, making it easy to keep your entire team on the same page. 

Instrumentl will also send automatic deadline reminders and you can assign specific tasks so that everyone on your team is aware of what needs to be done and by when.

These tracking features allow you to easily monitor which stage each of your applications is at, providing you with the tools needed to create a more streamlined and efficient workflow.

3. Managing Awarded Grants

As any grants professional knows, the work doesn’t stop after you receive an award. Thankfully, Instrumentl provides tools to help you manage all of your awarded grants, making it easier to maintain compliance and stay on top of all of your reporting requirements.

Grant awards
Instrumentl's award tracker keeps you in the loop on your funding

From the Awards View within your Tracker, you’ll be able to see: 

  • The name of each awarded grant 
  • The grant period 
  • The award amount 
  • When the next report is due 
  • Who is responsible for that report 
  • Any notes 

You’ll also be provided with an overview of your award statistics—including how much you’ve won and from which kinds of funders.

4. Collaboration and Reporting

As a cloud-based platform, Instrumentl was designed specifically with collaboration in mind. 

Like we mentioned before, you can assign tasks to our team members within Instrumentl, making it easy to clarify roles and responsibilities. No more confusion over who is doing what and by when.

Another thing that sets Instrumentl apart is its reporting capabilities. 

With just the click of the button, you can create reports for your:

  • Saved opportunities 
  • Awards
  • Tasks
  • Contacts (that you’ve saved in the funder profiles)
  • Funders 

These reports are incredibly helpful for keeping your team’s leadership in the loop when it comes to your prospecting and management efforts.

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Instrumentl vs. Other Grant Management Tools

Identifying the Main Alternatives

When it comes to other grant management tools, other tools that do some of what Instrumentl does are:

Foundation Directory Online, Foundation Search, Grant Finder, and GrantWatch prioritize grant discovery.

By contrast, Fluxx, GrantHub and GrantStation both favor grant management.

A Detailed Comparison: Instrumentl vs. the Rest

As hinted above, one of the things that sets Instrumentl apart from the rest is how it combines both grant discovery and management tools into one intuitive platform.

  • Foundation Directory Online, for example, doesn’t have as many grant management features. It does not provide users with a grant calendar, submission tracker, nor does it allow users to manage their grant pipeline through multiple stages. Although it allows for some multi-user collaboration and users to reverse search for funders, reviews have stated its information on active RFPs is sometimes limited.
  • Fluxx provides users with some management tools, including a grant calendar and the ability to save prospects and manage the grant process through multiple stages. However, Fluxx does not provide its users with much information on active RFPs. Nor does it have a matching tool like Instrumentl does.
  • Foundation Search provides fundraisers with the ability to examine funder profiles. However, it also does not feature a calendar, or deadline reminders, and its collaboration tools are rather limited.
  • GrantFinder only offers limited access to foundation profiles and the ability to reverse search for new funding opportunities.
  • GrantHub, on the other hand, helps users manage their applications with submission trackers, grant calendars, the ability to store notes, and collaborative features. However, they do not have their own database to search for and find funding opportunities.
  • GrantStation offers similar tracking tools while also giving its users access to funder information. However, it does not have any collaborative tools.
  • GrantWatch functions primarily as a database for active grants. While extensive and informative, the information they provide can be a bit difficult to discern, and the lack of reverse search can make the process take longer.
Only Instrumentl combines all of these features into one user-friendly platform. If interested, you can learn more about what makes Instrumentl unique on our comparison guide.

Instrumentl's Pricing Plans Examined

Instrument’s offers pricing plans for both nonprofits and consultants. There are three options to choose from:

  • The Standard Plan
  • The Professional Plan
Instrumentl's pricing plans

As you can imagine, the number of features provided increases with each plan. For example, the number of users and projects allowed per plan also increases depending on the payment options.

This gives nonprofits the flexibility to choose whatever payment plan is best suited for their needs.

Instrumentl also provides a University plan for large institutions. You can contact us for more details about this plan.

Pros and Cons of Instrumentl

Pros and Cons

Before you can make an informed decision on whether or not Instrumentl is the right platform for your nonprofit, let’s take a look at some of its pros and cons.

Where Instrumentl Pros

As we have discussed numerous times in this article already, Instrumentl’s greatest strength is how it combines grant discovery, tracking, and management tools into one platform to streamline the entire grant process.

Instrumentl is user-friendly and efficient, aimed at providing the most amount of information possible in an easy-to-digest manner. Fundraisers can optimize their grant strategies and save time so that they can focus on crafting better and more personalized applications, helping them secure more funding for their nonprofits.

Instrumentl Cons

Perhaps one of the first things that stands out about Instrumentl is its pricing plans.

When compared to its competitors, it is true that Instrumentl’s subscription is on the higher end, which can make it an intimidating prospect for nonprofits, especially those that are just starting out and do not have a lot of flexibility with their budgets.

That is a valid and understandable concern. However, despite its pricier subscription plan, many Instrumentl users find that the platform helps them secure a larger number of higher-paying grants in less amount of time, helping to make up for the upfront commitment. You may also check Instrumentl's Discount Codes.

User Reviews and Success Stories

User Feedback

Finally, it is time to see what real-life users have to say about Instrumentl.

What Users are Saying About Instrumentl

Looking at Instrumentl reviews at G2, a software review website, shows that Instrumentl has a 4.9-star rating.

Instrumentl reviews at G2

Some of the most talked about topics in these Instrumentl reviews include how the platform saves users time when searching for new prospects. Similarly, many reviewers also enjoyed the user-friendly interface and the amount of funder information provided by the platform.

Instrumentl User Reviews

Instrumentl’s educational resources are also considered a large value-add.

Instrumentl User Reviews

These positive reviews are echoed at Software Advice, where Instrumentl has 93 five-star ratings.

Instrumentl Software Advice Review

It is Instrumentl’s centralized approach to the grant process that makes it such a game changer to its users.

Instrumentl Ratings

What's The ROI of Instrumentl?

Instrumentl’s impact can be seen through a variety of success stories.

Nonprofits everywhere have managed to secure more funding and change the world thanks to grant opportunities found on Instrumentl:

“We've been using Instrumentl for just over a year. We brought in about $2 million last year, which was up a million over the year before.” –Jan Spackman, Director of Grants at Sleep in Heavenly Peace
“We were maybe [submitting] three to six [grant applications] per year. Now, we're doing two per month…just by having Instrumentl as opposed to spreadsheets.” –Daniel Jenkins, President of Lutheran Braille Workers
“I started using Instrumentl and thought - oh my gosh, this is a miracle! This is going to save me weeks! It just does everything for me. I insert the keywords, set up a project, and it magically shows me the most relevant funding matches.” –Dr. Bev Browning, Author, Grant Consultant & Coach at Bev Browning LLC

By learning more about specific grant funders and tracking and managing their proposals, nonprofits, both big and small, have seen the difference in their fundraising strategies by using Instrumentl.

Wrapping Up: The Next Steps

Overall, Instrumentl is clearly the superior choice for grant seekers and nonprofits compared to its rivals.

Its combination of discovery and management features streamlines the grant process so that fundraisers can do everything in one place. You can start your free 14-day trial today.

Instrumentl team

Instrumentl team

Instrumentl is the all-in-one grant management tool for nonprofits and consultants who want to find and win more grants without the stress of juggling grant work through disparate tools and sticky notes.

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