Searching for grants is a lot like a job search

4 min read
4 Dec 2023

There is a lot of talk about 'demystifying' funding.

For many people, applying for grants is a completely new experience. Guidelines, forms, and processes can feel overwhelming at first. But you should know, you likely already have many skills required to succeed with grants.

Maybe this will help you feel more confident:

Searching for grants is a lot like a job search.

The internet is full of 'finder' services. In a few clicks, you can find a new job, home, retail goods, and even a new love match.

You probably already use these websites which is awesome – because it means you already know how to use a grant finder. And with our tips below you will also be well on your way to applying for AND succeeding with grants.

Would you search for a new job without a job finder?

Probably not. A job finder will help you get an overview of available jobs and send alerts for suitable opportunities, even if you're not actively looking.

Think of your grant search in the same way. A grant finder will keep you up to date on grants that match your funding needs, exactly like weekly real estate or job alerts. You can sit back and wait for emails with your latest matches. Try out our Tailored Grant Alerts to see how easy this is.

Will you find your dream job the first time you log in to a job board?

Maybe... More likely, you take an initial look and return regularly. In time, you find the right opportunity and it’s worth the wait.

Many people won’t find the right grant straight away. Grants, like job hunting, can be a long game - but a rewarding one. With patience, you will put your energy into the right opportunities. 

You don’t usually look at ALL jobs, everywhere.

That would be overwhelming and unhelpful, right? You will find loads of irrelevant opportunities that are not aligned with your skills and experience, location, and salary expectations.

Think about this as you search for grants. If you don’t refine your search you will spend a lot of time on grants you are not eligible for. You wouldn’t do this in a job search so why do it with grants!?

When using a job finder, you can narrow down results based on your essential criteria.

Aha! Now you’re looking at jobs in your industry that are appropriate to your background and where you live or how you want to work.

A useful grant finder such as The Grants Hub empowers you to refine your search in the same way. Limit your results according to grant topics, project location, and grant amounts so you can focus solely on the most suitable and relevant opportunities.

You might only have a few jobs on your shortlist.

Would you apply for 20 jobs at once? Probably not, and it’s the same with grants. Refine your results down to a handful of good prospects. Remember: grants are announced all throughout the year so there will be more opportunities to come.

When you find a great job opportunity you connect with the recruiter.

This might help you with the role or lead to other possibilities.

Do the same when shortlisting grants. Contact funding providers to ask clarifying questions. This will help you with your application and raise your profile with the funding provider. If they can’t take questions they will tell you so, no harm done.

In a job application, you probably re-purpose a lot of information.

But you also personalise your documents based on the job description, your skills and experience - because you want to demonstrate alignment.

Similarly, try not to simply copy and paste from one grant application to the next. Customise each application by addressing key assessment criteria and demonstrating how your project aligns with the program's objectives.

Keep it simple, keep it clean.

We’ve all heard stories about someone who fudged details in a job application. Often, these stories are about them being found out. Don't risk over exaggerating the truth with your grant application. When you submit a grant proposal: be authentic.

The best applications I’ve seen are succinct and easy to understand. Ensure your application is accurate and reflects the current state of your project to avoid raising concerns with the funding provider.

Need help with a job application?

You might consider a resume writer. Or at least ask someone to review your CV, or use an online tool or AI to help polish your application. There are also resources you can lean into with your grant application.

With grants - there's no such thing as too much assistance. Embrace collaboration with your team, program managers and board. Use writing tools. Seek proof-reading from others. If possible, connect with a previous grantee of the program. By taking these steps you will put your best foot forward. You can also hire a grant writer to do some of the hard yards for you.

When you miss out on a job, you probably reflect on what you did well and where you can improve.

Do the same with grants. Take time to think about what you need for your next application. Do you need to do anything differently?

Finally, celebrate wins!

Got that grant? Nice one! Enjoy the moment. Thank your contributors. Make sure you mention the grant in your next application - think of this like adding on to your grants CV. You will be on to more success with grants in no time.

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