How to Win with OpenGrants in 2022
Planning for funding this year? 2022 brings a fresh wave of capital, including $1.2 trillion from the US Infrastructure bill for economic development, small business, and tech innovation. OpenGrants‘ CEO, Sedale Turbovsky, did a live demo and workshop on new tools and resources to help you tackle sourcing the right opportunities and connecting with experts.
In This 1-Hour Session, We Covered:
- How to use OpenGrants to maximize success
- New platform tools and features
- How to prepare and capitalize on new programs
- Comprehensive Q&A session
About the Speaker
Sedale Turbovsky is the CEO and co-founder of OpenGrants, a venture-backed startup focused on building modern infrastructure for funding. He has been an entrepreneur since childhood. After honing his leadership skills as an outdoor guide in his younger years, he started his professional career as an independent consultant focused on delivering data products and digital strategies to enterprise clients in South America. He is experienced in independent grant writing and public/private partnerships at the highest level, having worked directly with OpenGrants’ current strategic partner, Momentum.
Read the Transcription
Please note, this transcription is automatically generated and may contain some spelling and contextual errors.
Welcome to how to win with OpenGrants in 2022. My name is Sedale Turbovsky I’m the CEO and co-founder here at OpenGrants, and I’m super excited to have you all join on this fine day. I’m gonna focus my my comments today on a few things. Mostly going to be working to highlight the best practices of how to leverage this platform in order to be successful in your grant search.
I want to highlight a few of, the new features we have on here, as well as a few other things. Just as a real quick agenda items. We’ll talk at first, real quick about new features on the platform and how you can leverage those to improve outcomes for you. We’ll talk about just optimizing your experience in general.
I do want to touch on certainly. The grant consulting experience so that you have some ideas about what the folks on depending on if you’re a consultant or a writer, I think understanding the entirety of the ecosystem and how this functions will be helpful for you. As you’re looking for grants and then certainly we’re gonna in on best practices and a Q and A, and kind of AMA session.
Once again, thank you all for being here. That’s the overview feel free at any point during the presentation questions into the Q and A section. And without further ado, I’m going to go ahead and stop sharing this slide and we’ll get into the platform itself. The whole idea of the OpenGrants platform is to set some standards as well as organized the grant funding ecosystem.
Some of you in attendance might be. Working for a nonprofit, some of you might be great consultants and some of you might be at a startup. And then there’s everything in between government. We have all kinds of folks who benefit from this non-dilutive capital and this capital resource grant funding is super unique as many of because it doesn’t require repayment.
It’s non-dilutive. So it’s massively useful for tackling challenging problems, de-risking technology, and also working on impact related and altruistic missions. It’s this vital capital resource. And for so long, it’s been, very bureaucratic, hard to navigate, et cetera. And our vision with OpenGrants is to empower you to have access to these important resources as you’re working on your important projects.
So a couple of the things that we are launching and have started to roll out one is search list, grant discovery, and what that means is that. Yes, you can get on to OpenGrants for free and you can search through our database for grant funding and that’s super awesome. But the other cool thing is that you, when you create your own.
And you set up a profile. It’s now informing our search engine and our capabilities to be able to provide you curated lists of grants. And very soon that will actually live within the platform for the time being, it will be delivered via email to the account that you’ve registered, the email address that you registered with.
So we’re super excited to be rolling that out. And that kind of takes me to my first point about the OpenGrants platform. And that is that if you want to be successful on this platform, you’re going to want to create a profile. For your organization. And I want to specify that could be you, if you’re just an individual who’s working on something, but it could be your company.
It could be the project that you’re working on. So say you’re trying to fund charging stations for a downtown area. Then you might create an organization that represents that project so that we can start curating those grant opportunities for you. And so if you set up that profile, You’re going to see here.
I’m not going to take you through the whole kind of account sign-up process. That’s pretty quick and easy, but once you have created the account, you get walked through a flow that shows you basically the opera gives you the opportunity to set up an organization. And so your organization might look a little bit like this.
Basically here in this section, you’re going to input information about. What you are up to. So a three to five paragraph executive summary, and this doesn’t show the whole, the full full text of what’s been inputted here, but a three to five paragraphs that have executive summary of what you have or what you’re working on is important.
And then over here, you’d put in info. know, If you have multiple locations, you might list those out, but basically where you’re headquartered all of this information helps the platform starts to filter and match grants to you. Some of these things that you might not fill out depending on if you have, so this is a profile for both a grant writing grant writer and a grant seeker.
So some of this information you might not put in, but you can see that, on the other side of the table the grant writers and consultants are identifying the kind of roles they like to play, but their typical hourly rate is all this other information. So you’re going to want to input all that information so that we can start curating these great lists.
The other exciting feature of these profiles is that you can add other members of your team. You can create an account say you’re working at a startup and you have three or four people who maybe are working on the grant projects. You could add them on to that account. That way you can all participate and be under that same umbrella.
You want to take advantage of that add members. It doesn’t cost you anything to add those members to your account. So you can go ahead and do that. And that will help you start to connect with grant funding. But it will also help you get matched to those to those opportunities.
The other cool thing. On the platform is on the project management side. And this might be a, this is important, especially for public agencies and other groups. So we put a couple of features here that allow you to look at any projects that you have going on. There’s none here now, but this is where you can manage all your.
And so you can look at, what’s been billed. If you’re a consultant, you can look at your current billings and all of that information here, and you can just stay up to date and we do provide archival services. So if you happen to work at a public agency, We can archive for public record purposes, all of your communications with the consultant, all of those other all those other additional kind of records keeping that you might need.
So that’s what we provide there. So that’s another new feature that’s exciting. And in this area you would also find like records of hours worked and other things. So you can have all that information is here in the projects area. Also coming soon, we will have basically the opportunity to look through generated RFP.
So people are working on specific projects and you are a consultant. You can view those here. But going back to your grant search process. So the first thing I just wanted to highlight of course, is that ability to get those curated lists of grants based on your profile. The other thing that I want to note is that we do have.
This cool opportunity for you to be able to connect with consultants. So as you’re looking at as you’re looking at grant funding, you might also find it useful to connect with consultants in that space, and they can help you do deeper kind of strategic work, developing what we would refer to as a grant funding strategy.
And this is vital and important. And we actually did a kind of a deeper dive on. And another webinar early late last year, but it is important and can be super helpful for you because there are funding opportunities that simply aren’t listed there’s funding opportunities that aren’t necessarily available online anywhere.
And then there’s also a plan funding opportunities that just haven’t been. And the consultants can help provide you with some deeper intelligence in that space. So I highly encourage you to hop into the talent finder area. And you can use all the filters here on the side to find the folks that you are that are going to be relevant for you.
And so you can use rough filters to start. So say you’re in the energy space maybe. And you’re looking for grant writing. These are rough filters to get you a first cut at a list of relevant consultants. The neat thing about this is you can reach out to them. It doesn’t cost you anything to message them, have a discussion.
And if it’s a good fit, they can develop a proposal for you and they can send it to you and you can get off to the races. But if you find yourself in the platform, one of the things that we have heard from our users is that sometimes. Just isn’t super intuitive. And a lot of that has to do with a mismatch between how normal people talk about funding and how the government talks about funding.
And so the consultants can help you drill down and it’s like specific things that you’re trying to accomplish and they can give you some input and insights into maybe better words to use or specific agencies to look at for. The funding opportunities. So if you, as you get started on your funding search the two things that you want to make sure you’ve done is one go ahead and create and fill out a full profile for your organization on the platform and make sure to include all that information about where you’re located and what you’re working on.
Then that will be a good first step in trying to like start to crystallize. What information you want to provide and how you want to search for that. And then the other opportunity is to jump into here, look at these consultants that we’ve curated for you and start to have some discussions and this will help drive your process forward.
And it, it helps the ecosystem in general because a lot of the times these consults. They have a lot of deep understanding of not only what’s out there and how to be successful, but they know what’s coming. They have relationships with the agencies, they have relationships with the funders. So if you know anyone from like the gates foundation, like private foundations and philanthropies all the way through government having a relationship already existing there is useful because you start to understand, oh yeah, we know that they’re going to try.
Get a bunch more funding for cancer research. And in the next few months they’re going to be releasing these big grants. And so that can allow you to, instead of being reactive to funding opportunities, as they get published, you can be proactive and you can build a relationship up front. You can start to educate yourself about what the agency is going look like.
And you don’t have to try to rush to crush a grant application in, 30 days or what have you. You can be proactive and start your work early and get together all the paperwork you need to provide a good funding opportunity response. So that’s, a huge part of why we provide this this organization for these patients.
The other cool thing that we’ve put in place on the consulting side is we do manage all of all the 10 90 nines and everything else. Whether you be government or otherwise, the procurement is easily solved. So from our S from your standpoint as potentially like a buyer of services we have the, we just act as open.
And so we manage all the all the tax and procurement and compliance aspects for both parties. Both consultants and grant seekers can get that benefit from the platform where that the procurement is streamlined and smoothed out. And the tax management happens on our side of the platform. So we’re excited about all of that.
I want to pop back over to the dashboard and just give a quick rundown of what’s here and why it’s here. We have a variety of things. If you’ve gone ahead and saved grants, you’ll see upcoming deadlines here. So you can get a quick rundown on all the upcoming deadlines that you can keep that, that straight in your head.
If you click here, you can look at the new grants that were added. So this will just update based on your login. So if you’ve logged in and since I last logged in, there was 272 new opportunities that were. And 20 new grant writers joined the marketplace and 90 new users signed up.
So that’s exciting. You do definitely want to keep your profile up to date as it mentions there, just in order to receive like the latest and most accurate curated opportunities for your organization. So if you change tactics or you decide to focus on a new group population, new geography, new technology definitely make those updates to your profile.
We can cure it, those those grant funding opportunities for you. You can see here, there’s a list of organizations you can belong to multiple organizations. So this functions like LinkedIn, right? So maybe you work at a for-profit company and then you also have a You’re also involved with a nonprofit as an advisor, or you, maybe you run a nonprofit alongside your job or maybe that’s, maybe you belong to multiple organizations.
Definitely feel free to add organization profiles that are relevant. If you’re looking for grants for multiple things, add multiple organizations. And that will allow us to curate not only one list, but several lists for you so that you can get those matches and stay up to date on that grant funding information.
The other thing that I want to note we do have forthcoming basically you’ll be able to opt into to teaming lists. And some of you may be familiar with this, that the government often puts out. The government in particular foundations do this a lot less. The government often puts out funding opportunities that.
For a cross-functional team made up of multiple stakeholders and we’re super excited to start rolling out features to make suggestions and matches about what that team looks like and how that team might collaborate. And so if you do opt into it your personal profile can serve as the tip of the spear for making those matches.
So you definitely want to update your personal profile as well. And once again, similar to the structure that that like the organization style of LinkedIn where you have your personal profile and you might belong to several organizations. But you want to use that personal profile as that kind of tip of the spear.
Obviously here you have notes. If you’ve taken notes on certain funding opportunities, those will all show here. And then here you have a tab to manage your projects, log hours, review invoices, and then we’ll update news here so that she can get the latest educational webinars and other opportunities to network and connect with the ecosystem.
So that’s what happens on the dashboard. I do want to highlight. Here in the safe grants area, a couple of things happen. You will be able to not only have these surfaced and keep track of them, but you can also export. So if you put together a large list of saved grants, you can export that information and go share that with your team, go deeper on the opportunity itself.
And I’ll just go ahead and open up. I’ll pop over here, the grant finder and give a little more information about the grants themselves. So each individual grant. A bunch of a bunch of opportunities here. And I do want to highlight a couple of things. One is you have your overview read through this.
You can get some more information about what’s going on and what’s required the kind of work that’s supposed to be done in relation to the grant. If you have some information or you want to see things Per provided differently. Definitely let us know shoot us a message. Get in touch with us.
We’re very happy to continue to listen to our users and make adjustments and improvements to the platform as as needed. You can add your notes. You can click out and view the original, so you can go see where that grant lives online. And that can be super useful for a lot of reasons. But the big one is obviously ultimately, if you’re going to apply for it, there’s, there may be like documentation and other things that you’re going to want to download.
One of the things that we will have forthcoming is we will start matching consultants right here in the platform. To the grant funding opportunity itself. So super excited to be rolling that out in the near future where not only will you have your grant matches here in the platform, but in one consolidated experience, you’ll also see the suggested consultants who are qualified and have experience with that particular program.
So a couple of things you can do with this, as you can see. To your safe grants list, you can also copy a link to this and share it with your colleagues and they’ll be able to view it. And they can obviously sign up for free and then engage with that funding opportunity as well. So excited about the functionality here.
What this serves to do. As I mentioned earlier, as you create a grant funding strategy that will allow you to be a lot more proactive than, and we do encourage you to, as you’re preparing for your funding search over the year, maybe have that initial discussion with a grant consultant who can help you understand forthcoming and active applications and what you might want to be applying for.
And then hop in here in the platform and start curating. Save grants to your profile, curate that list, start to track amendments and addendums and other things that happen so that you have a focused focus group of funding opportunities to go after. And we suggest, and our partners suggest that you start with a big funnel cast a wide net.
And then as you read through and start to understand. Each particular opportunity narrow it down to four or five that, that you can be super competitive for. So that’s another another thing that we will have in the future is, helping you understand a bit more about that competitiveness with some of the some of the quantitative tools we’ll be rolling out, but I’m super excited to start connecting.
Consultants with the actual opportunities. The other thing that you’ll note here is that over here in the power search, we’re doing encourage you to, if you’re working on a particular opportunity, And you want to create a specific query for that. So maybe, you know exactly how much funding you’re looking for, or, the agency that you want to target, where, the geographic region that you want to target, you can create a whole filter, like a rough filter here on the side of the power search.
And then you can save that and then you can just run it over and over again, you can also export the results of any search as a CSV on our pro plan. So we’re excited for. And I’m going to go a dive in a bit more to the grant funder or the grant consultant workflow, and how that relates to like how you can be successful using this platform.
But before I do that, I definitely want to just reach out and ask how y’all are doing today. I know the beginning of the year has been a bit bumpy for some and not so much for others, but definitely would love to hear how y’all are feeling. If you could Def, if you could respond to the poll, that’d be great love to get your reactions there.
But let’s just in summary as a grant seeker the kind of three best practices that I want to highlight are one, when you sign up, definitely create a profile for your company. Or organization or project create an organization profile. Update that make sure it’s up to date and that we can use that to match you to grant funding.
Also reach out to the consultants that are in your space and just have conversations. Even if you’re not like hiring them, have conversations, they’re a wealth of information. They’re happy to engage. These are folks that we’ve curated for a couple of very specific reasons, but one of them is their willingness to say no to.
And the reason that’s super important is almost, it’s almost harder in this space of grant funding to know what to not go after. There’s always so many opportunities and freq frequently, if you just searched, say you searched small business grant funding, you’d find the, the SPR program and maybe a few other programs, and they’re not all a good fit for you.
Just, I, I think. Maybe obvious, but they’re not all a good fit. And the grant consultants themselves have a good deep understanding of like where to go and what direction to take. And so it’s, especially if you’ve never done this before, that can be a wealth of information and, just having those.
Initial discussions and building those relationships can also be super beneficial. We have incredible folks. Who’ve worked with everyone from FEMA to foundations across the spectrum of nonprofit and kind of private philanthropy into government grant funding. And so we. I’m very proud of the group of writers that we do have and consultants that we have, and we’re excited to connect them to you and just start to allow you to build relationships with them.
So please do reach out. So those are the two big kind of takeaways on in terms of best practices. If you will. Going out there and just starting your funding search and you want to be successful. That’s one of the best ways to start is by connecting with those folks and creating that profile can get those curated lists of grants.
And I see, the reactions to the poll are coming in. Lots of people stoked for knowledge cautiously. Optimistic hoping to be inspired and a little tired all sounds super relevant. And then 4% said other. So that’s that’s also interesting. I’ll just go ahead and share that with you all, but excited to have you all here.
And I hope that this is providing some good knowledge, a quick reminder that definitely pop into the Q and a and answer questions. We’ll leave some time at the end to get into that, into those. I want to just talk about some best practices in general, in terms of engaging with these consultants and maybe set some expectations as well.
So if you pop into the talent finder, you’ll see that. And we’ll just use we’ll just use this profile here as an example. You’ll see. There’s quite a bit of information about, about them, but this is just a snapshot. So if you think there’s generally a fit there go ahead and reach out to them and just have a discussion.
There’s no. They’re not going to, they’re not going to follow up and spam you with a budget information or anything crazy like that. This is a highly curated professional network of experts. So don’t feel like you’re going to get a bunch of like salesy follow up emails from them or anything like that.
Reach out connect. And just note that a couple things. So one they’ve done. Job of just dropping in basic, like an overview of what they do and what they’ve done. They’ve also done the work of popping in and telling you generally what the hourly rate is. None of that is set in stone. These are professional consultants.
They want to do business. They want to work on exciting projects and you are in need of, probably in need of some of their assistance. The open start that conversation. And through the OpenGrants platform, we provide a couple of exciting things. One of the things that we provide to all of our consultants, if they wish to opt into it is a variety of benefits, including healthcare.
They can access payroll services in a variety of other kind of support services to make sure their business is robust and running smoothly. So we’re very excited to provide that. If you are a consultant listening, these are all things that you can opt in. If you don’t know how to, or you haven’t gotten emails about it, just reach out to our support team, which by the way, our amazing customer success team, they’re right here in the corner, they’re always ready to answer your questions.
So feel free to reach out to them at any time. But on the consultant side, we help them do everything from streamlined billing to get connected, to great, folks who are looking for for their services. So a couple things to note If you can, if you can dive into it, just reach out with a sort of concise request of, Hey, we’re looking for this kind of thing.
We’d love to have a discussion, just ping them, get started in that discussion and they can help you like narrow down exactly what might be a good fit for you. They’ll also potentially send you a proposal. And if you choose to accept it, then you all can work together. One of the nice things about the platform itself is that you’re covered under indeed.
So both parties are covered under NDA, per the terms of service that you agreed to when you signed up and created an account. And we also automate all the billing on the platform. So they have the opportunity to record the hours that they’ve worked on your project. They send that over to you and you have the opportunity to review those hours.
If you have any misgivings or issues with the hours submitted, you can submit a dispute. And then we have a process for handling all of that, but hopefully everything’s all good. And then that billing just processes every two weeks and you’re able to continue on and streamline that working relationships.
Once again, we do have a. We do have all of the tools in place to manage manage the hours, our tribal services, procurement services, if you’re a government or working in a large enterprise and you need like vendor setup and tax forms and all those other things we manage that all through the platform.
So we make sure. Simple and easy provide open ground answers that kind of single point of engagement on that front. So excited about the features here. And it just want to encourage you to reach out to these folks because they are, they’ve gone through a vetting process. They’ve submitted an application and our team has, carefully vetted these individuals so that we know that they’re providing high quality information and support to you.
So I just want to close out that discussion. By saying that the services we provide here are to standardize and streamline access to an incredible ecosystem of funding. It’s about $2 trillion in grant funding and aid that moves around the world. And we are very excited to to note that over this coming year, we will be expanding our services outside of the United States to the international community.
So your support in starting to engage in this ecosystem and drive these discussions forward is hugely beneficial. And we highly encourage you that as you’re moving through this process and working with consultants, or if you are a consultant and ways for us to improve, definitely, reach out and be alive.
Get in touch with us, let us know how we continue to build a real community around this because that’s our vision. And you’ll see emails from us on occasion that highlight some of that vision. You’ll see that we’re running a, we funder campaign and we’re doing a variety of things through.
Democratize access to this space. And one of the things that even our consultants on the platform have access to is to receive compensation in, in, in the form of grant actual like equity tokens in the company. And so we are driving towards a, an equitable and accessible future for everyone here and working to build a real community around this.
So definitely reach out in that spirit. Please engage and, chat with these folks who are here. To help. They’re here to build and work on some of the world’s most important work. So they see a bunch of stuff in the Q and a. So I’m going to pop in there for a minute and just see if I can run down some of these questions.
And then I’ll get into a bit of some of the best practices and other things that are pretty relevant. Let me go ahead of the poll, the Q and a up. And I’ll just start at the top here. So I have a question says, do you provide a grant proposal format for us to fill out for getting grant requests?
It’d be nice if you did. So this. Great question. And unfortunately the short answer is that because there’s so much variety in grant funding. We don’t have a single grant proposal format that works for everything yet. That’s certainly something that we want to work on in the future.
Not something that’s here yet. What our consultants can do though frequently, it’s if they know the specific program that you’re working on or the specific grant application you’re providing, they frequently do have templates that you can leverage. So that’s a a great benefit of working with those folks is that they’ve already done this multiple times.
So they definitely, typically they’ll have some templates that you can access. So thank you for that question. Another another question. It looks, do you any consultants work on receiving a percentage of grants obtained as their consulting fee? I think it’s one question I got broken into two here.
The short answer is there are some consultants that do that. However, generally speaking, that’s not a best practice and it’s not something that we encourage on our platform for a variety of reasons. But mostly because one, we want consultants to get paid up front for the work that they’re doing.
And we want them to get paid for their work. And in, in many cases, especially with federal grants, that’s actually like a violation of the terms and conditions of the agreement itself. We stay pretty far away from that. But I’m not saying it’s not done. I’m just saying it’s not done on our.
Another question do grant writers help with the strategy for post awarding of a grant outcomes, recording financials, aligned with government reporting, et cetera. This is a great question. So this is one of the reasons that we are very excited and bullish on just the community that we’re building here.
Grant writers do, and it’s one of the reasons I’ve, tried to throw out the word grant consultant a bit more grant Brian Grant consultants can help with the full spectrum of this. This endeavor of engaging with grant funding. Grant funding typically requires some kind of politicking and relationship building up front to be very successful.
So if you want to have great success with your funding, you typically want to engage and build a relationship ahead of time. There’s the actual application process and all of that. And then as as this user brought up, after an award, there’s sometimes a lot of reporting and other things that are related to the post award, including sometimes you have to like author a full sort of like report afterwards.
And so yes, consultants frequently help with that. If you go into the talent finder, you’ll actually see that there. Like grant management kind of skills and other filters that you can apply. And definitely talk with a consultant that you’re engaging with and ask them if they knew this, but many of them do.
But it is certainly a specific it’s a specific skill set for sure. So you do want to have that discussion with them, one of the beautiful things of how we set this up as we made it very open-ended. Not trying to restrict anybody in terms of the services they provide. We’re certainly just trying to connect you with high quality folks and frequently if they don’t do it, like the person who’s maybe helping you with the application, they might know people frequently.
They will know people who do. And once again, just not to belabor the point. The whole idea of building community here and making sure that everyone within the ecosystem starts to feel more connected and knows who’s who that’s a big part of this. Definitely ask about. Someone asked if the grants listed in the program are only those are the grants listed in this program?
Only those who have chosen participate are pulled from across the internet. Great question so effectively, we’ve done our best to curate. From across across the the United States. So we have, about 99.9% coverage to the federal government. We have pretty good coverage of state governments and local governments.
And we are currently working on some relationships with foundations and other groups. So we we collect data in a variety of ways. First and foremost is by pulling open data sets from around the internet. We do have some scrapers that run. We also have human beings who input information, and then we do have.
Partners who choose to use our platform to publish grant funding opportunities. So there’s a lot of different data sources, frankly. And effectively you can. Access the platform and feel confident that you’re getting a pretty good look that you’re getting a good look at the federal government, a very solid look at states.
And I will note that, foundations, because they don’t have any public data requirements. We don’t have as robust of a data set there, but we do have a very good data set of foundations as well. So that’s that’s what we did. Another question, is there a reference list for recommended keywording in our profiles?
There is not. That’s a great bit of feedback though. I’d say, if you haven’t written an executive summary or like a rundown of your company ever definitely do that first. But generally speaking, if you’re explaining what you’re doing Then that’s great.
And that’s what we need in those profiles. I wouldn’t say that there’s any specific kind of keywords that you need to include or not include. But if you can if you can just explain in concise language, what you’re doing, that’s a great start and that’ll typically yield good results.
If you over time are feeling like the lists coming to you are not accurate for whatever reason. There is a feedback loop that we have that will help improve that, but there’s also. Our customer success team, you can reach out to them and see but definitely just give it a try, fill out the profile, get everything set up.
And then if you get information back that you feel isn’t super accurate you can go from there. We actually hold a provisional patent on a pretty unique approach to taking that information and. Putting it in generating those matches. Ideally it just functions well. But if you feel like it’s not functioning well, I’ll definitely reach out and we can help you understand and maybe help us understand as well, how to tweak it and make it better.
A question, how does our platform compare to instrumental? We actually have a full write-up on this. I’ll ask Katie or Cody to just throw that in the chat and we have a post about it. And yeah, instrumental is a great platform. And there’s certainly some big differences between us and them.
I think that one of the biggest ones is that there’s a, this great curated network of experts that we can help you get connected with and engage with.
Does OpenGrants offer techniques on how to be successful in getting the grant? Great question. I do have a variety of posts. We host webinars and the like, however, I think the best resource you’re going to find on the platform as these experts, that we’ve curated for you. These are folks who have been massively successful in receiving grant funding.
They know the platforms the programs in and out, and they are. They’re here to like optimize this experience. And generally speaking, the, one of the challenges with offering a technique to be more successful in getting a grant is that there’s no standardization yet across the spectrum of funders.
The gates foundation requires something different than the federal government and, within the federal government, even within the same funding agency, there are different. There’s different requirements. So what works in one place does not always work in another place. So once again, it’s important to go to the source of like very specific information about the specific program that you’re going after.
And that’s what you have here in the form of the the experts that we’ve curated for. You. Great question. How do, how does OpenGrants generate income? This is an awesome question and something a important point for the consultants in particular, but also for all of our users to note is that we operate in two ways.
One is we operate a marketplace, when you play one of these consultants, we have a 20% take of that of that payment that goes to that consultant. So that’s one way we generate income. The other way is we actually provide data in aggregate. So we’re not providing any kind of personal information, but we provide data in aggregate to governments and other groups who are looking to improve their grant funding processes.
And so that’s something that we’re always actively working on is how do we make grant funding more transplant? Traceable equitable and efficient. We want to ensure that this important resource is available to people all around the world. And ultimately our vision is to empower people around the world with access to grant funding resources, and how we do that is by organizing this ecosystem, setting standards for this ecosystem and helping all of the participants within this ecosystem understand what’s broken, what’s not working, what is working well and how they can replicate that in other places.
So that’s how we.
Another great question. Do you have a projected grant, a no-fault release calendar available through the system? We do not have that yet. It’s something that we’d like to roll out very soon in the near future, but that’s not something that we have.
And a great shout out from from one of our users who just said the McKinsey has been super helpful for me to get pointed in the right direction and planning a plan. I plan on working with her in the future. Definitely one of our rock stars and appreciate that. And another, just great shout out.
Totally awesome support for consultants. This is something that’s near and dear to my heart. I actually spent a good portion of my career as a consultant in this space, and I understand the challenges and what that looks like on that side of the table. So we are, we’ve purpose built this platform for grant seekers and consultants in, in, in totality to build a real.
What is ideally an inclusive and supportive ecosystem that ensures that this funding ecosystem has some standardization has some support and has some connectivity that can help drive efficiencies and support transformational work around the world. Are there any grant consultants who have prices by the project or by percentage instead of just an hourly rate?
Yes. The hourly rate is just to set some expectations around past as you engage with the consultant, they may say, Hey, this is, This is a package dealer. What have you, and when they can certainly set that up. The hourly rate is just the jumping off point. As I mentioned, and that’s important, I think for everyone to understand is that the hourly rate is just a jumping off point.
It’s something that they have but it is not necessarily something that they are wedded to.
I think I answered this question already in terms of do consultants work on the basis of receiving a percentage of grant funds. And that’s a no from us. Does OpenGrants collect the fee for the matches? We do not currently collect a fee for the matches. As we as we scale and grow, you may introduce some kind of paywall for some of those, but there will always be a a pretty robust feature set with at least a limited amount of free matches.
How is OpenGrants funded and would you consider your platform to be in direct competition with grant wash.com? So OpenGrants is a venture backed startup. We are funded by some incredible investors, including boost VC glow invest a 100. And the group of others they’re all excellent.
I know I’m forgetting few people, so apologies for any of our investors who are on the call. But we are we’re venture backed. We are an early stage startups are about three years old. And would you consider yourself to be in direct competition with grant washes? The other part of the question I think grant watch has built a good platform.
They have a lot of data. I think, certainly they would be considered like direct competition, this is a huge space though. I think there’s a lot of room. And as as I may have mentioned earlier, this space hasn’t had a lot of standardization or work done around it.
And so I think that the more that we collaborate with folks like grant watch, we collaborate with candid a bit. We collaborate with a lot of people in this space because there’s just so much work.
Do you have students or people looking to build their portfolio as grant writers? We actually work with an incredible partner on this front. The folks that learn grant writing.com and maybe someone on the team, we can throw that Lincoln. They are our partner in terms of the grant professionals education space.
And we make sure that the folks on our platform are. Effectively what you might consider, like a senior consultant or someone with a lot of experience who can provide a high quality of service. And we do have a few mentoring programs that we’ve been piloting, and we’ll probably have a more formal announcement about that later in the year about how that’s going to be structured.
But in terms of education, generally speaking we want folks to start with. Ready.org to get built out in terms of a skillset. So if they’re starting at zero that’s where we want them to go. And then we are experimenting with a few different mentoring programs and other opportunities to pair the senior consultants on the platform with junior folks who looking to get more experienced and break into the space.
How do we know how successful the grant consultant is to know their percentage of number of proposals that were successful? It’s a great question. I want to point out two things about this. One is many of them will put that number on their profile. And that’s a fine number to think about.
However, I will say that, a lot of consultants, especially the ones within our platform have, a 70 or 80 or 90% or 99.9% success rate. And the reason for that is not they are like the best in the business at writing grants, although they, many of them are, but the other like key skill, and I just want to delineate between the skills here.
This is not, they are all top-notch, but the key skill that they have is saying no to projects that they know are not going to be successful. And I think this is super important for people to understand that there’s a good amount of work you can do. So it vet the feasibility of a certain proposal and a certain opportunity.
And that’s what that grant funding strategy is all about. And so any consultant who is worth their salt will have a high success rate because they know how to say no to projects. Failures. And that’s just that’s just a skill that they learn. And so it’s something that we curate for highly.
And so you’ll see that most folks on our platform have that high success rate. And so while that number is important, I would say if that number is high, it’s just indicative of their ability to say no to a projects that kind of.
Another great question. Do you have grants for people needing assistance with education? Yes. There’s all kinds of grants in that space. I would, you want to get more specific and I tell people this all the time, it’s like, all right. Are you trying to learn to be a machinist or are you trying to improve your school?
Education is a big space, but yeah, there’s a lot of grant funding for education. Can you search by eligibility? We are a corporation, but are also looking for opportunities available for our city partners. Yes. A hundred percent you can search for eligibility or search by eligibility. We have some filters in place for that.
And certainly just reach out to our customer success team. If you don’t see that information.
Another great question is grant funding, data available on the platform for users to see? I’m not entirely sure. What that means. But I’m going to take a stab at it. And then if you want to just maybe reword the question or just ask it again in a different way. But in terms of grant funding data, we have a lot of information on available grant funding and maybe looking for the, like history of the program which we don’t have available on the platform, but we do have there’s a lot of different data around grant funding.
And we do have a lot of that. Some of it is available. As I mentioned, we provide aggregate data and reporting to governments and other consultancies. And that’s actually something that we provide through our API and through some of our enterprise engagements. So if you pop onto the website and maybe the team, we can drop that link into the chat as well.
There’s a section for enterprise on our platform on our website. Definitely pop in there. You can submit a request to find out more about, the kind of data that we can provide. A lot of it we provide through via API. So you can build your own custom solution to look at, grant funding and those dynamics.
Are there listed grants from private organizations or private individuals, the vet grant opportunities, or is that up to us? There are listed grants from private organizations and private individuals. We do have, I didn’t mean to downplay it so much earlier and we have a good, robust dataset of them information around foundations and private philanthropy, et cetera.
We don’t vet opportunities ourselves. That’s data that we collect. And then it’s up to you and the consultant to vet the opportunity itself. But we do have that data. So that’s something that. Are there grants for robotic research and development? Yes. Loads of grants for that SPRs. So the one that everyone knows DOD is making a big surge of funding these days.
And they love that space as well. Lots of R and D grant funded. Through the federal government and then there’s also foundations that fund those activities. Definitely jump in, I would, for you in particular to search for SPR and then robotics SBR and robotics, and then you will be off to the races.
I’d love to hear more about how grant consultants can network with grant seekers on the platform. This is a great question. So right now, what we do is encourage you as a grant consultant to create a very thorough profile. And then we will match you to folks who are looking for that. We do have forthcoming here, as I mentioned And then the next few weeks, we’ll be rolling out a feature that allows you as the consultant to go browse through what kind of services people are looking for.
So there’ll be able to post basically RFPs or requests for proposal to our consultant network. Also please do engage with our team if you subscribe to our newsletters and subscribe to our platform as a consultant. You will get a weekly or biweekly emails about opportunities that are tailored to you basically.
So if you’ve told us that you work with FEMA grants, for example, and we have a bunch of requests coming in and on that, on the FEMA side, oh, we’ll send out those emails. And shortly as I mentioned, all of this will be moving into the platform. So we’re excited about that.
Are there grants available for private land development specifically for housing? This is a tricky one. I’ll just say that generally speaking. Yes. In terms of economic development and HUD there’s a ton of funding for this generally. However you want to get specific. If you’re a private land develop.
You might tap into one of those federal programs. But you’ll there’s a lot to navigate there, frankly. I was actually one of those programs. There are there’s grant funding. If you want to get into this, there is a grant funding to help you learn about how to access grants. For private development of housing.
So HUD has grants to help you learn about their grant programs. So it is a big pot of federal money. There’s a lot of funding. You can go get grant funding to learn about their grant programs. That’s how complicated it is. Congratulations on OpenGrants and your years of work in the field. I appreciate that.
Thank you so much. It’s been a journey and we’re excited to keep keep building this. Can I touch briefly again on how projects were, can grants be searched specifically for each project? Yeah, so basically if you want to create a a profile on the platform and I’ll just, I’ll pop over here again.
I think what you’re asking about is how do we how do we set up a a profile, like a bunch of different profiles. So if you go to manage organizations off of your dashboard, you’ll be able to, you can see that you have one organization here. And so right now, this profile will receive grants that are related to this organization in particular.
And and basically you have the opportunity as you can see up, up in the top here to add add an organization so effectively what you do say. So you’re working on a bunch of different products around the country. So you have five different projects. You have solar panels, you have electric vehicle maybe your Navy companies.
You might have solar panels, electric vehicle charging and areas. And you might have a different kind of like fast charging in Utah. If you want it to create an organization for each of those, you can do that. And then you would get lists that would match those with grants that would match those.
So that’s how you do that. The other aspect of the projects that I’ll just bring it up since you brought it up. But I feel like I may, maybe I answered it properly, but just in case you were asking about projects, Specifically projects, can our platform just refers to your relationship with a consultant and you can manage that under your projects tab.
So you can see what was billed, how much has been billed. You can track like what they propose to you. All those things, you can review the deliverables. They said they would send in all that stuff. So that’s that’s how you do that. Great questions on the international side. I might’ve missed this, but is it for the USA only right now?
It is, we are expanding and I’m working to support the international community. And that’s one of our goals for this year in 2022. So we’d love to hear your thoughts on what we can do to make that happen. But we do have a roadmap in place and if you reach out to us or just shoot us an email, we’ll be sure to send you a note.
Once we get there.
And I see burning through the questions here. I’m a grant consultant candidate. Should I sign up a hundred percent please sign up. Once we open up more markets outside of the United States, we will send. Are there grants for small black female businesses? Yes. There’s all kinds of grant funding and it takes just getting more specific.
So instead of a generally funding, like a small black female business, you’ll see that there are grants for businesses that are helping revitalize main street or put an E V charging or like it’s more. You can be more competitive. And there’s like set asides federally to award more money to populations that might have been underserved or that are underserved.
And so if you are a woman owned business or you saved minority owned business and then you apply for like specifically to, get a grant for a main street business. Then you can be more competitive. So that’s of how that works, right? Instead of the other way around of Hey, we’re a small black female business.
There’s, you’re not going to find a grant for that specifically necessarily you might. But you’ll find a lot of grants where you can actually be more competitive by being a small black female business, applying for funding to do something specific.
Do we have consultants specialized with stem education and non-profit museums. Yes. On stem education, you might have to search and see what’s up with the nonprofit museums. I’m not sure about that. Thoughts on crowdfunding versus grants that one’s grants are great. Non-dilutive capital crowdfunding.
Obviously you can do equity, crowdfunding or otherwise. We’ve used, we funder. I’m happy to talk about this offline, frankly. I’m not sure it’s super relevant to this other than to say that. Grant funding is non-dilutive, it doesn’t require any repayment. In crowd funding, it often requires something in return for the money.
So all I will share that, but if you do have questions specifically about our experience around we funder crowdfunding, then definitely let us know. And yeah, happy. I know we’re drawing to a close here, so I, I want to throw out just another quick poll here. Let me pull this up.
And then I’ll just go through some some closing thoughts as we get to the end here. So I definitely want to hear from y’all what’s your biggest challenge with fundraising right now? I’d love to know a bit about that. So if you could respond to the poll and then I’m going to go ahead and switch tacks here a little bit and pull up just another slide here.
And you just mentioned a few things. As y’all are responding to that poll. I just want to share a couple of things. I w we are very much committed to the idea of building a community and an ecosystem around this. And I think that is definitely like for me, it’s one of our biggest differentiators.
And in order to do that, we’re doing a few things very different than you’ll see a lot of companies doing. And one of them is raising community capital. So we’ve opened. Our fundraising effort so that all of you can be owners in Oakland grants as well. And this one of the things we’re very excited about.
To the extent that it’s interesting for you, you can visit, we funded.com/OpenGrants. For as little as a hundred dollars, you can become an investor in OpenGrants and an owner. And part of that experience is to just join our community. On maybe a more deeper and engaged level.
There’s a discord server that we run for all of our investor community. And we’re excited to make that open to anyone who invests. And you can get access to beta features ahead of launch. You can get access to a lot of interesting surveys, as well as access other members of our investor community.
Very excited about that. Also just want to note the big takeaways here in best practices One definitely creates your profile on the platform. It’s free, make sure it’s complete so that we can send you matches to grants another. Please reach out to the consultants, connect with them, chat with them.
And then if as you are getting into a relationship with them, be sure to manage that relationship online in the platform. That way we can provide all the production protections we provide to both sides of the table. We provide NDAs, we manage the. We manage the taxes. We manage security around the payments, all those things.
So be sure to keep that relationship on the platform so that we can provide all the benefits that we want to to both parties. So excited to have you all here. Thank you all for tuning in and stay sticking with us for this presentation. If I didn’t get to your questions I would love to definitely reach out, email us, feel free to get into.
He mnemonics at input, OpenGrants that IO. And then I’ll go ahead and share the results of the poll. It’s you know, it sounds. The big thing that people are challenged with right now is finding the right grant opportunity. And I think that has that’s the core of what we were hoping to solve.
So please, as you’re creating your profile and you’re getting these curated lists let us know how we can make it better. As we get input from you, we will continue to improve the product and the platform and the service in general. And you are you are helping us build what we see as a public good in the future of grant funding.
Definitely get involved. Feel free to get involved at whatever level you’d like to. If you want to be an investor, if you just want to be a consultant, if you want to do all of those things we’d love to have you involved. So thank you so much for your time today. Appreciate it. And with that, I’ll go ahead and close us out.
Thank you all. We’ll see you next time.