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Magazines > Searcher > July/August 2009
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Vol. 17 No. 7 — Jul/Aug 2009
FEATURE
Grantsmanship
Information Resources to Help Researchers Get Funding
by Nancy K. Herther
Sociology/Anthropology Librarian, University of Minnesota

‘Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind.’

– Marston Bates, American zoologist

Behind every significant research breakthrough, every key social program, or advanced medical treatment in history lies some form of financial support — a foundation, government funding, or the kindness of some benefactor. Michelangelo and da Vinci worked as apprentices. Mozart received support from aristocratic patrons and worked as a court musician. Jonas Salk’s work to find a vaccine for polio received funding from the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis and from coins contributed by the public to the March of Dimes. Thomas Edison developed strong entrepreneurial roots and early in his career lived and worked in the basement of a fellow telegrapher and inventor.

In 1923, George Papanicolaou first discovered how to detect cervical cancer in individual cervical cells. Although pathologists and others dismissed this new theory. Papanicolaou later noted: “I found myself totally deprived of funds for continuation of my research ... At a moment when every hope had almost vanished, the Commonwealth Fund ... stepped in.” 1 The resulting Pap smear has been critical for the ongoing health screening of women ever since.

Historic Roots

Philanthropy has a long tradition in Western society. In 1601, England passed the Statute of Charitable Uses, which has been called the cornerstone of the Anglo-American law of philanthropy. In the same year, the English Parliament passed the Elizabethan Poor Law, which formed the basis of English and American public relief for the poor.

Foundation Center Offers an International Network of Support

Established in 1956, the venerable Foundation Center [http://foundationcenter.org] receives support from nearly 600 foundations, maintains “the most comprehensive database on U.S. grantmakers and their grants,” and also provides high-quality assistance and resources through its five regional library/learning centers. It supports a “national network of more than 400 funding information centers at libraries, nonprofit resource centers, and organizations in every U.S. state, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and South Korea.” Each of these physical locations maintains a core reference library and provides service to any grant seeker. For a complete listing of locations, see this browsable list: http://foundationcenter.org/about/locations.html;
jsessionid=53R2TJESQ2DKTLAQBQ4CGW15AAAACI2F
.

The first major case of research philanthropy in the U.S. occurred in 1638 when John Harvard bequeathed his library and a portion of his estate to what became Harvard University. Five years later, Harvard held its first fundraising drive, raising 500 £. In the same year, Lady Mowlson (Ann Radcliffe) created the first scholarship fund with a gift to Harvard. In the years following, various forms of philanthropy have become essential to all types of educational efforts, especially for funding researchers and their programs.

Types of Foundations

The IRS defines two classes of foundations. Private foundations, usually funded by individuals, families, or corporations, including establishments such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Milken Family Foundation, and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. These foundations don’t solicit funds from the public but rather use existing funds donated from the founders or given to them for their work.

Public charities or community foundations are nonprofit groups that raise money from the public or other sources. Public charities are granted more tax benefits than private foundations and fewer restrictions on their operations. Examples include the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the New York Community Trust, and the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.

There are actually many different types of support available to researchers. Types of support available include unrestricted grants, basic/exploratory/applied research in some specific area, targeted programming to meet a specific need or solve a particular problem, collaborative research projects, scholarships, fellowships, and funds to support travel expenses. Fellowships, for example, provide a way for graduates or undergraduates to get short-term funding that would allow them to gain experience. Often, especially for beginners, getting some experience with travel grants and other types of funding may help hone skills that will help in gaining more comprehensive grants down the road.

Every foundation outlines the requirements and opportunities that they make available. Some limit their considerations by geographic location, discipline, or other factors, but all make this information clearly available in their application materials.

Explosive and Continuing Growth

From the Rockefellers to Andrew Carnegie, the tradition of the rich and powerful creating philanthropic venues to disperse some of their fortunes has become common in our history. Recent years have seen growth in the numbers of all types of foundations and granting organizations. With more than $600 billion in assets in the U.S. alone, foundations not only provide needed financial support to communities, organizations, and individuals, but also represent an increasingly important stakeholder in both social progress and the global economy. (See Table 1 below.)

In the 20th century, many foundations made awards that required little more than interim progress reports and final reports outlining the activities, advances, and implications of the sponsored research. In more recent years, many successful entrepreneurs — such as Ted Turner, George Soros, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett — have moved some of their wealth into philanthropic arenas.

Many of these businesspeople have also brought with them some of the principles and beliefs that guided them in the private sector. One of these expectations, increasingly common today, is that charitable ROI should not only be tangible but measurable. Many newer foundations use methods of proposal analysis that reward funding lean and targeted projects. The funding process today often builds in the creation of mileposts throughout the grant’s duration, during which projects are measured and assessed for their process, output, and successes. If adequate “progress” isn’t seen, funding may be cut. Today, many grants no longer contribute to the ongoing costs of institutional support for research projects.

For research organizations, the increasing need for nontraditional funding — especially in publicly funded institutions — has created, in effect, an ongoing need to market or position a researcher or institution as the best funding target. For individual grant-seekers, the process of getting and keeping funding streams has become a major part of their jobs. For organizations — and the information professionals serving these users — the need to find grant opportunities and prepare successful funding applications has become critical.

External Funding and Research Universities

“Higher education” has come to include all types of postsecondary education. The “industry” of higher education has grown dramatically in the past century. In the early 20th century, approximately 5% of the American population was enrolled in postsecondary institutions. With the introduction of the GI bill after World War II, the percentage rose to 30%. Due to the Higher Education Act, the rise of tribal and historically black colleges and universities, and other factors, by the 1970s more than half the college-aged individuals in the U.S. were attending some type of college program. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Education estimated that, by 2015, enrollment will rise another 15%. 2 This trend is global as well. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) statistics have suggested that around 1950, only about 5% of college-aged people in “economically advanced countries” were enrolled in higher education programs. The rate climbed to 40% by 2000.3

The top 100 research universities today are the powerhouses of research production in the U.S., producing an estimated 75% of our country’s Ph.D.s and enrolling more than 280,000 graduate students, as well as more than 2 million undergraduates. Producing high-level researchers is seen as essential in producing research that will truly result in innovation and economic growth for any country. (See Table 2 below.)

The problems facing research institutions, in particular, have gotten more complex and competitive in the past few decades:

With the rise of for-profit and online alternatives, many students are choosing to forgo traditional undergraduate degree programs. The University of Phoenix, for example, currently enrolls 200,000 students and expects this number to climb to 500,000 by 2010.

India, China, and other formerly Third World countries are making huge investments in creating their own higher-
education structures, creating a much more competitive marketplace for the best and brightest students. Foreign enrollments in U.S. postsecondary institutions are now reportedly at their lowest level since 1971, with major graduate programs reporting drops of about 6% in foreign enrollments. The greatest declines have come in students from China, India, and Japan.

The need for flexibility in providing teaching faculty to cover fluctuations in enrollments and changes in programs leads many institutions to hire faculty into nontenure track positions or part-time or limited contracts. For these scholars to maintain their edge and productively continue to build their vitae, they need to become far more entrepreneurial in their approach to jobs and research opportunities.

Researchers need state-of-the-art information and other technological support. This is expensive and often impossible to obtain without some type of external support.

In recent decades, funding patterns — particularly for public universities — have changed as state budgets have had to deal with other pressing needs (especially healthcare, retirement, and personnel costs) and as the number of colleges and other postsecondary programs has increased to meet increasing demand. Even public universities must now find new ways of funding capital expenses and programs in order to sustain and build their offerings, expertise, and positioning.

Innovative New Collaborations Arise

External funding to support graduate education has increased significantly in recent years. The funding environment has changed significantly too. One noticeable change has been the development of formal collaborations among colleges and universities. This has occurred for various reasons:

To fill in gaps in existing programs and strengths of each institution without having to build up programs independently

To improve existing capabilities or strengths by working synergistically with others who have key skills

To increase the reputation of either or both institutions by aligning with other key institutions

This has also proven a good way to increase the prestige of institutions and to enhance their ability to attract funding, faculty, and top students.

In 2006, BP (British Petroleum) conducted a global search for a research partnership to perform an estimated $500-million, decade-long, alternative-energy research program — in effect, outsourcing BP’s research in this area. The proposal created a great deal of competition and positioning — unheard of before — from universities across North America and Western Europe. The eventual winner, the University of California–Berkeley, enhanced its position by getting a $70 million state allocation to build the headquarters for the new research institute and $40 million from the state legislature for research space if any California institutions won the competition. California also worked to establish strategic partnerships with the University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to bolster its position as the preeminent choice.4

This process proved far more complex and innovative than any previous competition for research funding. Is this the future of research funding? If so, we can expect that information professionals will be asked to do far more than the background research support that they have done in the past. They will be increasingly involved in the environmental scanning, competitive analysis, and preparation phases for these applications — as well as in the ongoing marketing and positioning.

Impact on Information Support

Couple the changes in research support needs with the major changes taking place in philanthropy in recent years and you have, in many cases, a whole new playing field and set of game rules. The number of available granting programs has increased steadily just as the value of these grants has also increased. (See Table 3 below.) Information professionals need to constantly scan the growing grantsmanship literature and keep up with the changing tools and resources available to them and their clients.

There are actually many different types of support available to researchers. Often, especially for beginners, getting some experience with travel grants and other types of funding may hone skills that help them apply for more comprehensive grants down the road.

For graduate students, the issue is acutely difficult. Graduate school itself is a very expensive, intense, structured experience. In today’s economy, students want to pick the best schools and programs to maximize the opportunities in future career choices. Many of these students also come to their programs with growing families and other expenses to balance against classes and research that may take 4–6 years or more to complete.

Many universities still rely on the traditional grad student-advisor relationship to provide support for students needing help in finding external funding that can support their research and education. Obviously, this approach can be difficult; it clearly depends on both the experience and priorities/time/interest of these faculty members. For any researcher working in newer, groundbreaking areas, the search for information and mentoring may be exasperating and even exhausting.

At the University of Minnesota, grant funding is as critical as at any other major, publicly funded, academic research institution. In response to needs, workshops and individual consultation are offered. This consultative role has become far more complicated and complex. Requests from non-university-based individuals and groups to support service-learning or other projects has increased markedly as well.

Today, what are the best tools, the best websites, the best strategies to support grant seekers, especially given the increasingly competitive environment and our uncertain economy?

Research Funding Process and Players

Some type of funding support exists for virtually all types of research endeavors — from the arts and humanities to the social sciences to the “hard” sciences and technology. The majority of funding comes from either governmental sources or corporations. Most basic research is funded by governmental entities. Private and corporate funding tends to be more practically oriented on specific goals or objectives related to the specific interests of these profit-making groups. Nonprofit foundations are also key resources in funding projects and research across the disciplines.

Research funding has been complicated, as well, by political issues, such as beliefs about stem cells or the cause and treatment of HIV/AIDS. President Obama, in recently lifting restrictions on stem cell research, announced an end to what he termed the “war on science,” which hopefully signals a new era of less political interference in the grant process.5

The very number of granting sources today has made the process of identifying the best fit between grantee and foundation more complex. Our current economy increases the uncertainty in this field. According to the latest edition of the Foundation Center’s Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates: Current Outlook, a survey of more than 75,000 U.S. grant-making foundations, the majority planned to decrease their giving.6

Key Databases for Finding Research Funding

Researchers seeking external support for their research — grants, fellowships, travel funds, or other support — have many tools available that might lead them to the right funding source. Although the top three — Community of Science, IRIS, and SPIN — are generally available at most large colleges and universities, many others might have value — including many sources available freely over the internet. Here are some of the best:

Associations Unlimited (subscription- or fee-based)
http://www.gale.cengage.com/servlet/ItemDetailServlet?region=9
&imprint=000&titleCode=GAL7&type=4&id=110996

This online version of the standard reference work, Encyclopedia of Associations, is updated semiannually and provides detailed descriptions of more than 450,000 trade groups, professional associations, and other nonprofit organizations from around the U.S. and the world. By searching on keyword, it is possible to locate potential targets for funding applications. Even many local/regional associations will offer limited travel or other grants that might help support research and build a portfolio of funding successes for the budding researcher.

Back to College — Search for Scholarships (free internet resource)
http://www.back2college.com/library/scholarships.htm

This free website encourages people to participate by submitting articles, questions, or other information. The website includes useful information on financial aid, various types of courses and degree programs, internships, grants and fellowships, getting discounted textbooks, and other information. The site includes multiple web-based scholarship databases. Though originally intended as a resource for adults returning to college, the information is applicable to all populations looking for funding opportunities via the internet.

Community of Science (COS) (subscription- or fee-based)
http://www.cos.com

Self-described as “the world’s most comprehensive funding resource, with more than 25,000 records representing nearly 400,000 opportunities, worth over $33 billion,” COS Funding Opportunities is the largest database of available funding today. COS includes all types of sponsoring agencies — from private foundations to public agencies, national and local governments to corporations, and more. The database includes all disciplines and funding for a wide range of purposes — such as research, collaborations, travel, curriculum development, conferences, fellowships, postdoctoral positions, equipment acquisitions, capital, or operating expenses. Updated daily, the search structure allows for simple or advanced searching, running saved searches, and creating alerts.

Federal Register (free internet resource)
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr

Published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Federal Register is the “official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents.” As such, this is a good source for learning about new funding opportunities from the federal government.

FinAid (free internet resource)
http://www.finaid.org

FinAid, Financial Aid Information Page, began in 1994 as an adjunct to a book written by Mark Kantrowitz while he was a computer-science graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University. Useful sections include FinAid’s fastWEB Scholarship Search, a database of more than 180,000 private-sector funding options, as well as links to other sources for support categorized by specific majors or courses of study, as well as one called Educator/FAA Guide to National Scholarship Databases. The site is full of useful information and links and provides a “first stop on the web for students looking for ways to finance their education.”

Foundation Grants to Individuals (subscription- or fee-based)
http://gtionline.fdncenter.org/index.html

Compiled by the staff of the Foundation Center, this database includes about 8,000 foundation and public charity programs that fund students, artists, researchers, and other individual grant seekers. “Funding includes educational support, general welfare, arts, and cultural support, awards, prizes, and grants by nomination, international applicants, company employees, students, and graduates of specific schools, and research and professional support.” Updated quarterly, foundation profiles include basic information on the organization, the scope and nature of the funding programs, and the availability of information on the grant maker. Some profiles include a purpose and activities statement, fields of interest, information on the geographic focus, and limitations of the funder. Some entries provide descriptions of the application procedure, financial data, and a list of recently awarded grants. Where available, the profile also links to PDFs of the most recent IRS 990 or 990PF filings for that foundation.

GrantAdvisor Plus (subscription- or fee-based)
http://grantadvisor.com

This searchable newsletter intended for faculty, researchers, and administrators in higher education — not students — focuses on “grant opportunities from federal agencies (except NIH) as well as many independent organizations and foundations.” Based on the monthly print product, “each issue contains 20-25 program reviews with descriptions, eligibility requirements, special criteria, funding amounts, and contact information (including phone and fax numbers, email and web addresses). The remainder of the newsletter is comprised of the Deadline Memo with more than 300 listings of grant and fellowship programs for the coming 4 months, organized into eight academic divisions (fine arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences, education, international, health related, unrestricted/other).”

GrantsNet (free internet resource)
http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/funding

A free “one-stop resource to find funds for research and training in the sciences” from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The searchable database is international in scope and focuses on the medical and other sciences. Other features include a Deadline Watch, Funding News section, and the ability to post jobs and funding opportunities. You can also create accounts so you can save your GrantsNet search results and individual grant announcements.

Grants and Awards Available to American Writers (subscription- or fee-based)
http://www.pen.org/login.php?prmReturn=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pen.org%2FgandaSearch.php

Updated monthly, this PEN America Center database includes more than 2,000 listings of domestic and foreign grants, literary awards, fellowships, and residencies for writers. Self-described as “the most comprehensive online database available to writers of all income brackets, at work in all genres, and at various levels of achievement.” Searchable by keyword, genre, organization, or deadline.

Grants.gov (free internet resource)
http://www.grants.gov/applicants/find_grant_opportunities.jsp

This important website provides one-stop research for federal grants, providing information on discretionary grants offered by the 26 federal grant-making agencies in the U.S. government. The site includes multiple search options, a blog and newsletter, email alerts, and, in many cases, links to application sites and forms. It is an excellent, well-designed site focusing on this key grant-making area.

GrantSelect (subscription- or fee-based)
http://www.grantselect.com

This provides access to “prospects for funding from pure research grants to arts programs, biomedical and health care research, community services programs, children and youth programs, K–12 education funding, international programs, operating grants for nonprofit organizations, faith-based grants, and scholarship programs.” The database includes more than 12,000 grant programs from more than 5,100 sponsors. The database is updated daily and is searchable by subject, geographic area, grant type, sponsor, free text, and other variables.

IRIS: Illinois Researcher Information Service (subscription- or fee-based)
http://www.library.uiuc.edu/iris

A service of the University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign, IRIS currently contains “over 9,000 active federal and private funding opportunities in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. The database provides funding opportunities for faculty as well as fellowships and scholarships for grad students and undergrads.” Searchable by sponsor, deadline date, keyword, and other criteria. Most records contain links to sponsor websites, electronic forms, or Electronic Research Administration (eRA) portals. Types of funding support include research, educational and professional activities, travel, exhibitions, publishing, seminars, equipment acquisitions, and more. Searchable by subject, type of support, population group, sponsor type, citizenship, application deadlines, and more.

ResearchResearch (subscription-based and a free, web-based subset)
http://www.researchresearch.com/entry/entry.htm

ResearchResearch is available in a subscription version or you can freely use its ResearchResearch Lite, a subset of approximately 1% of the full database, “but this does include every funding opportunity from the NIH, NSF, and another 60+ Federal agencies in the US.” The full version covers all disciplines, focused largely on North America and western Europe, and, in addition to including more opportunities, carries significant news information on research trends, policy, and politics.

RSP Funding for Graduate Students (subscription- or fee-based)
http://www.ovid.com/site/products/fieldguide/rspg/About_RSP_Funding_for_Gradu.jsp

Containing more than 3,500 records of funding opportunities for grad students from government agencies, professional organizations, corporations, sororities and fraternities, foundations, religious groups, educational associations, and military/veterans organizations, the database includes areas of the sciences, social sciences, and humanities — fellowships, loans, grants, and other awards. Individual records include eligibility requirements such as applicant characteristics, heritage, skills, affiliations, financial need, etc.

RSP Funding for Postdoctorates and Professionals (subscription- or fee-based)
http://www.ovid.com/site/products/fieldguide/rspp/About_RSP_Funding_for_Postd.jsp

This database offers “thousands of grants, fellowships, loans, awards, traineeships, and other funding programs available to support research, study, training, personal and organizational projects, conference and workshop attendance, exchange programs, and creative activities (writing, artistic work, etc.) in the United States and abroad” available to “scholars, academicians, researchers, practitioners, and professionals in dozens of fields, including the fine and applied arts, medicine, library and information service, engineering, social work, the sciences, business administration, etc.”

RSP Funding for Undergraduates (subscription- or fee-based)
http://www.rspfundingfinder.com/#UG

Another RSP product, this database allows users “to search for funding available to college-bound high school students, high school graduates, currently-enrolled college students, and students re-entering college. Thousands of scholarships, loans, grants, awards, and other funding opportunities, worth billions of dollars, are described. This money can be used at private or public, 2- or 4-year, and religious or secular colleges or universities in the U.S.”

SPIN: Sponsored Programs Information Network (subscription- or fee-based)
http://infoed.org

SPIN, “the most widely used funding opportunity database in the world ... tracks the funding programs (e.g., research grants; fellowships; publication support; sabbatical support; curriculum development; etc.) of over 6,000 government, private, and nonprofit funding sources worldwide.” Easily searched, in basic or advanced mode, by citizenship, geographic areas and restrictions, deadlines, subjects, etc. Other features include alert services, an expertise database and access to the Federal Register. Updated daily.

Table 1: Growth in Number of Grantmaking Foundations, 1987–2006Click for full-size image

Table 2: Total R&D Expenditures at U.S. Universities & Colleges 1957–2007

Table 3: Dollar Value & Total Number of U.S. Grants Awarded 1998–2007Click for full-size image

More Useful Sites

Today, it is actually possible to do a great deal of funding research just using the web. All government agencies, as well as most foundations and professional associations, use the web to communicate and post information. You can easily use websites to scan the environment for grant-making. Press releases discuss past award winners, describe grant qualifications, and provide links to key personnel. Just look at organizational websites. Some governmental sites actually allow candidates to file their applications online.

Even Google, by itself, can be very useful for finding information. For example, searching recently for a quick list of potential fellowships for a doctoral student in Scandinavian studies, I used the strategy: fellowships filetype:xls “area studies” site:edu. You can easily get more precise, but it was a fast way to get this student started on his funding quest!

Here are some of the best websites I’ve found for doing grant-making research online:

Associations & Organizations, Internet Public Library
http://www.ipl.org/div/subject/browse/ref09.00.00

If you don’t have access to other online directories of potential sources of funding, this guide to more than 500 sources might do the trick.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
http://www.cfda.gov

This is a comprehensive listing of federal projects, services, programs, and activities that provide assistance to Americans. Searchable by keyword.

Center on Philanthropy, Indiana University
http://www.philanthropy.iupui.edu

This academic center is “the source for knowledge about philanthropy and provides education and training to build a better world.” It also provides analysis and trending information as well as other information and advice.

Charity Navigator
http://www.charitynavigator.org

America’s “premier independent charity evaluator,” Charity Navigator “works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of over 5,400 of America’s largest charities.”

Chronicle of Philanthropy
http://philanthropy.com

Considered the trade paper of the philanthropic industry, the site allows at least limited, free access to current and back issues; searchable by keyword.

Council on Foundations
http://www.cof.org

Another organization representing “more than 2,100 grant-making foundations and corporations” that provides information and resources on trends and the industry.

FedBizOpps.gov
https://www.fbo.gov/index?cck=1&au=&ck=

“The U.S. government’s one-stop virtual marketplace … [with] single point-of-entry”; commercial vendors and government buyers are invited to post, search, monitor and retrieve opportunities solicited by the entire federal contracting community. Opportunities focus on projects that exceed $25,000. Formerly covered in Commerce Business Daily.

Fellowship Database, Cornell University Graduate School
http://www.gradschool.cornell.edu/?p=132

A searchable collection of fellowships in various fields. Each record includes a brief description of the fellowship and links to the offering agency’s website for more information.

Foundation Center
http://foundationcenter.org

The key industry source for philanthropy, the Foundation Center monitors trends in the field, publishes research reports and statistics, and operates an international network of libraries to bring grant-making tools to a broad audience. The site also links to the Philanthropy News Digest that covers the field.

Foundations.org
http://www.foundations.org/page2.html

This is a browsable/searchable directory of charitable grant makers from the Northern California Community Foundation, Inc.

Fundsnet
http://www.fundsnetservices.com

This is a searchable database of funders that provides “Grantwriting & Fundraising resource assistance to those in need of funding for their programs & initiatives.”

Grants and Funding Information Service, University of Washington
http://lib.washington.edu/gfis

This excellent service “works to provide resources for outside funding opportunities to graduate students at the masters and doctoral level who have been admitted to or who are attending the University of Washington.” The information is useful to any researcher searching for support.

Grants and Related Resources, Michigan State University
http://staff.lib.msu.edu/harris23/grants/index.htm

This wonderful set of information and links maintained by Jon Harrison from MSU includes a useful blog.

Grantsmanship Center
http://www.tgci.com/magazine.shtml

The Grantsmanship Center’s website provides publications, links, and solid “information on how to plan, manage, staff and fund the programs of nonprofit organizations and government agencies.” A quarterly magazine devoted to fundraising issues in the nonprofit sector is “packed with information on how to plan, manage, staff and fund the programs of nonprofit organizations and government agencies.”

GrantSmart.org
http://www.grantsmart.org

This is a searchable database of grant makers’ IRS tax returns (990PF forms) that outlines an organization’s charitable giving activities in detail and list grant recipients annually.

Grantstech.com
http://www.grantstech.com/?f

This is an easy-to-navigate website with subject links to all types of grant sources for everything from debt consolidation to fellowships, from research grants to home repair grants. Worth a look.

Grants, Etc. (University of Michigan)
http://www.ssw.umich.edu/public/currentProjects/grantsetc

A wonderful gateway of selected “nonprofit funding and management resources” from Michigan’s School of Social Work. The site links to funding sources as well as to learning resources to help the prospective applicant.

GRAPES — UCLA Graduate & Postdoctoral Extramural Support Database
http://www.gdnet.ucla.edu/grpinst.htm

A well-designed database that “catalogs extramural funding opportunities of interest to prospective and current graduate students, students working on a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation, and postdoctoral scholars. It contains information on over 500 private and publicly funded awards, fellowships, and internships. Advanced search options allow users to refine their search by field, academic level, award type, award amount, and other criteria.”

GuideStar
http://www.guidestar.org

Here is a searchable database describing thousands of nonprofit organizations, including public charities and some private foundations.

Idealist.org
http://www.idealist.org

Find links to community foundations and other groups that share the goal of finding “practical solutions to social and environmental problems, in a spirit of generosity and mutual respect.”

Independent Sector
http://www.independentsector.org

This coalition of 600 nonprofits seeks to provide a “leadership forum for charities, foundations, and corporate giving programs committed to advancing the common good in America and around the world.”

National Center for Charitable Statistics
http://nccs.urban.org

This “national clearinghouse of data on the nonprofit sector in the United States” offers statistics and trend information for the philanthropic industry.

Philanthropy Journal
http://philanthropyjournal.org

Providing “nonprofit news + resources,” this web-based journal provides “news, information, resources and opinion about charitable giving, fundraising, management, leadership, marketing and communications, focusing in particular on organizational effectiveness, donor engagement and collaboration.”

Philanthropy News Digest
http://foundationcenter.org/pnd

This free online newsletter from the Foundation Center provides important news, grant information, and tips/hints for grant seekers.

Prospect Research Page
http://lambresearch.com

Created by David Lamb, this site attempts to “separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to research resources on the Internet … This is not an exhaustive list of sites that have applications for prospect research. These are my personal recommendations for sites that should be useful to a prospect researcher.”

Scholarship Search Databases
http://www.ugeducation.ucla.edu/src/Scholarship_Search.html

This well-maintained listing of scholarships, fellowships, and other opportunities is focused on the needs of students in higher education.

Society of Research Administrator’s Grants Web
http://www.srainternational.org/sra03/grantsweb/index.cfm

SRA is a “professional society, educating and supporting research administrators around the world,” and this site provides links to resources and websites for governmental and private funding.

 

References

1. Quoted on “Great Grants,” Council on Foundations. Accessible online at http://www.cof.org/learn/content.cfm?ItemNumber=607&navItemNumber=2516. Accessed April 4, 2009.

2. Hussar, William J. and Tabitha M. Bailey, Projections of Education Statistics to 2015, Washington, D.C.: Institute of Education Sciences, USDOE. NCES 2006-084. Available online at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006084.pdf.

3. Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates, Current Outlook, 2009. New York: Foundation Center, 2009. Available online at http://foundationcenter.org/gainknowledge/research/nationaltrends.html.

4. Dalton, Rex, “Berkeley’s Energy Deal With BP Sparks Unease,” Nature, vol. 445, Feb. 15, 2007, pp. 688–689. Available online at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v445/n7129/full/445688b.html.

5. Dickinson, Tim, “Obama Overturns War on Science,” Rolling Stone, March 9, 2009. Available online at http://www.rollingstone.com/nationalaffairs/index.php/2009/03/09/obama-overturns-war-on-science.

6. Foundation Center, Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates: Current Outlook. 2009. Available online at http://foundationcenter.org/gainknowledge/research/pdf/fgge08.pdf.

 


Nancy K. Herther's e-mail address is n-hert@umn.edu.
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