“I tried other grant tools, but there wasn’t really anything that kept me going. With Instrumentl, I’m able to take a deeper dive into the data. That makes a huge difference for us as an organization and makes my work much easier.”

Hamna Khuld, Grant Writer at Oasis - A Haven for Women and Children

customer

Hamna Khuld, Grant Writer

ORGANIZATION

Oasis - A Haven for Women and Children

location

Paterson, New Jersey

website

https://oasisnj.org/

focus areas

Education, Social Service, Youth Development

$ raised with grants found from Instrumentl

Raised / tracked through Instrumentl

favorite Instrumentl Features

Projects, 990 Snapshots, Calendar, Advanced Funder Insights, Recipient Profiles

About

Oasis - A Haven for Women and Children

Oasis—a Haven for Women and Children is a nonprofit that carries out educational and social service programs that help women enter and succeed in the workforce. They also support children in getting their education and provide emergency food to those in need.

How This Nonprofit Managed to Save 83% of Their Time With Instrumentl

Hamna Khuld has been working as a grant writer for a nonprofit called Oasis—a Haven for Women and Children—for four years now. The organization carries out educational and social service programs that help women enter and succeed in the workforce. They also support children in getting their education and provide emergency food to those in need.

Their mission is to break the cycle of poverty through four different programs: Adult Education, Youth Development, Social Services, and Basic Needs.

Main Challenge: Vetting Funders

Hamna’s main challenge came down to separating the wheat from the chaff, i.e. understanding if a certain funder was a good fit. It was time-consuming but necessary work:

“When looking at the potential funder, you need to comprehend if your missions are aligning and if it makes sense to move forward with your grant application.”

This is where NTEE codes can come in handy as they allow you to identify funders’ priorities by seeing their top-giving categories. You can then drill down into giving patterns per category.

When we asked Hamna what makes Instrumentl a tool worthy to use all year round, she said that for her personally, it’s the curated list of foundations, the comprehensive database, and the calendar that keeps her organized:

“The calendar keeps me up to date about the deadlines that are approaching and helps me prioritize which grant I need to apply for.”

By the way, Instrumentl’s Calendar centralizes all your important deadlines in a single place. It displays all task deadlines, funder deadlines, submission goals, and future cycles so teams never miss grant deadlines and deliverables. You can filter by project, task assignee, task type, grant owner, and submission deadline type.

Diving Deeper into the Instrumentl Data

Some of the main ways Hamna uses Instrumentl to evaluate funders include looking at their history of giving and also at Recipient Profiles.

Looking at past grantees is a part of reverse search and it can help you understand what type of organizations typically receive support from one particular funder:

There are more advanced insights that include 990 snapshots, the average and median grants of a funder, the ratio between repeat grantees and new ones, and more:

“I’m able to understand what their area of funding is and how much they are contributing. So you get to understand if there is a commitment in a certain area. You can study through geographical location, median and average amounts, and repeat and new grantees to notice trends. It’s useful to know how much they have funded over the years.”

Since Hamna’s organization has been using Instrumentl for over two years now, we wanted to hear more about how her first days of using our grant software changed from the recent ones. 

The biggest change? More savvy use of keywords:

Instrumentl’s support team invests a lot of effort to ensure that every user maximizes the features of our software, and properly using keywords is a big part of that. As Hamna said:

“I have had a couple of interactions with the customer success team and they have been super helpful. They really streamline the process, especially when I’m stuck on certain aspects of a feature; they always explain everything step by step.”

When it comes to keywords, they have a major impact on the quality of your grant matches in Instrumentl. By selecting more specific keywords that are really close to your program’s mission, you’ll remove broader matches that may not be as good of a fit.

You can check out the video below or our Best Practices page for more information.

Realizing up to 83% of Time Savings With Instrumentl

Hamna discovered Instrumentl while searching for good grant software online:

“I stumbled upon Instrumentl, signed up for a free 14-day trial, and thought to myself—oh my gosh, what is this? I started doing grant prospecting and my conclusion was—this is so good, I don’t have to look any further.”

Hamna used to spend up to 6 hours on grant prospecting while now she spends between 30 minutes and an hour, which means she manages to save up to 83% of her time.

So what does she do with the time she has “gained” back? 

“It has helped me curate more current grants that we have, spend more time cultivating the relationship with current funders that we have, and devote more time to writing grants for best-fit funders.”

Top Tips from a Nonprofit That Almost Doubled Their Grant Output

Before Instrumentl, Oasis—a Haven for Women and Children—applied to 40 grants per year. With Instrumentl, they now apply to 70 grants on average, which means they have almost doubled their output.

We wanted to hear more about their success and if Hamna has any tips to share with her fellow grants writers.

The first piece of advice was about relationship building:

“We would always aim to build relationships as much as possible. One way we would do it, regardless of whether we received the grant, is that we would invite them over to our organization. This allowed the funders to see our work in action, see how the programs are developing, and how the money is being used.”

The second piece of advice was about asking for feedback:

“Always ask for feedback. Ask them openly—why wasn’t my application accepted? This signals that we are interested, that we’re open to learning, and it opens doors for future applications.”

We have to agree: you can only gain from asking for constructive feedback and it can be a great learning point that could boost your future success with grants.

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Thank you Hamna for sharing your amazing story with us! We wish your nonprofit organization a lot of success in the future.

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