How to Win with OpenGrants in 2023
Join us for a platform walkthrough and open Q&A with OpenGrants CEO, Sedale Turbovsky. Learn how to find grants, hire experts, and more.
In This 1-Hour Session, We Covered:
- How to use OpenGrants to maximize success
- The latest platform tools and features
- How to prepare and capitalize on new programs
- Comprehensive Q&A session
About the Speaker
Sedale Turbovsky, Co-Founder & CEO, OpenGrants
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.
So excited to have you here. As I mentioned, my name’s Sedale Turbovsky. I’m the CEO and co-founder here at OpenGrants. Super excited to close out the year with y’all. We’re going to be talking a bit about how to win in 2023.
So the format of today’s meeting is gonna be a bit of Q and A hoping to answer lots of your questions, but I will go over bits and pieces of the platform itself and some of our strategies for being successful in developing funding. So as people are starting to trickle in just wanna cover some housekeeping things with y’all.
For everyone’s comfort, we have things mostly locked down here. So if you do have questions, please use the q and a queue and we’ll be excited to answer those. And then here on the zoom, of course we will open up a q and a session post discussion. Once again, thank you all for being here and I will start just diving into some of the ins and outs of how to be successful in 2023, however, As folks start to join, I do wanna let you know, I wanna roll out a poll this morning or whatever time it is where you are.
Wanna roll out a poll and understand a bit about what brought you out today why you are here on the webinar and what you’re interested in learning. So hopefully we can arrive at some consensus around some of the big topics we can dive into and make this super valuable for everyone.
The format of the discussion today is gonna start with I’m gonna run through this presentation. It’s gonna be pretty quick and short. I am gonna make some notes about some of the exciting new features we have on OpenGrants, help you understand a bit about how to leverage OpenGrants as a tool to be super successful on your fundraising and development strategies.
And then I know we’re also gonna be diving into your question. As folks are checking in, I do wanna roll out this poll. Would love to hear from you. What brings you out today? What kind of things are you interested in learning about and where are you currently in your in your journey?
Are you working at a nonprofit? Are you in the public sector? Are you self-employed? And sorry I neglected to put neglected to put nonprofit there on the on the list. So if you’re like a nonprofit that focuses on public sector maybe jump in there. But yeah, really excited to have y’all.
Definitely feel free to use and post any questions that you really want to have answered in the q and a and we’ll get right into it. Thank you all. I see a lot of really cool questions coming in. It sounds like most people are looking for funding, which is super exciting. There’s some of you who are looking for clients which also of interest, and I will dive in that a bit.
And then a lot of a good split between private public sector, private company. Folks, self-employed folks, and people who don’t work, which is an exciting space to be in as well. Really excited to have y’all here. I’m gonna go ahead and end that poll. I’ll share those results out with everyone.
And then I’m just gonna get into it. The climate of course from an economic standpoint a little bit of a downer these days, right? Not a whole ton of good news in that front, but one of the things that is exciting is the idea that you can use grants to, fund what you’re doing to get access to capital.
And obviously grant funding is. because it’s also non-dilutive, meaning you don’t have to give any ownership. It doesn’t require repayment. It’s a great resource. And one of the main things I want to have y’all take away from today’s discussion about how to be really successful in 2023 is that regardless of of what you’re doing, you’re gonna need to get really tactical about how you’re using your capital and what kind of capital resources you are using.
So grants by themselves are. A great resource, but grants combined with other capital even better, right? So if you can get multiple sources in and use those for very specific things that’s the way to go. And the reason I bring that up is because this is one of the main questions. I get so many questions all the time, but frequently it’s something along these lines of.
Hey, I have a new small business, or I have a existing small business and I want to get grant funding. And that’s the end of the question. And unfortunately, that’s a really terrible question because it doesn’t help us give you any kind of answer, right? A much better question to ask is, Hey. I have a small business and we’re located in a downtown area and we are interested in getting grant funding for electrical, electric vehicle charging, or I have a growing small business and we do manufacturing and we’re really interested in some of that chips money.
I have a growing small business and we’re interested in training new employees on these new kinds of manufacturing techniques. Those are, you want to get very specific about what your needs are because grant funding, Apart from all the things that it is, it’s non-dilutive. It’s a great resource.
It’s validation, it’s sale, it’s relationships. It is also specific, so you are frequently going to find this, especially the big grants. There are a few programs out there that award, $10,000 here and $5,000 there. The California Dream Fund is one, it rewards 10 K, right? Those are the kind of.
Those are the kind of opportunities. You might be able to go after and just say, Hey, I need grant funding. I’m doing this business. And they might be interested. But when you start to get into the opportunities to do economic development, for example so say you work for a municipality or you work for a nonprofit, you’re trying to get people more jobs or you might be trying to expand a program where you’re already deploying.
Some kind of job creation program, and you want to just do more you want to get really specific about your needs because grant money for all the good things it is often comes with constraints about how it can be spent. And so the more specific questions you can ask, the better response you’ll get, not only from funders, but also experts who can really help you understand, all right, these are the kind of grants that are gonna be a great fit for you.
Grants are validation. They’re sale, they’re a sale. They’re someone buying into your idea. So that’s really cool. They’re a relationship and they are certainly non-dilutive, but they also are very specific. And so this is one thing I’m gonna say startup, small businesses, et cetera.
I just want to talk a little bit really quickly about where you can find grant funding. There’s a lot of places and this kind of applies to just the general audience as well which is why I left this slide the way it is. There’s a lot of places you can find grants. If you happen to be in California, you could go to the California grants.gov portal.
If you happen to be anywhere else in the United States, you can go to grants.gov and they even have grants for people outside of the United States there. You can go to open. Obviously selfishly, I think that’s the best place to go look for grant funding, but there’s a lot of places you can find grants, you can Google it, you can do all kinds of different things.
And all of this is a moot point if you don’t know how to ask the right question. Now, OpenGrants does offer some pretty cool things in terms of if you get on OpenGrants, instead of having to know how to ask the right question, you can just tell the platform. In your profile and OpenGrants for free, you can tell the platform, Hey, these are the things we’re working on, and we’ll start matching you to grants.
But I want to talk a little bit about the skills and the framework you can use to ask better questions so that you can find grants really quickly and efficiently. Because as I said before, there’s some economic headwinds coming our way, and grant funding is a great resource. But there’s also a ton of opportunity between the I R A bill and the I J A.
There’s a lot of money and funding out there available for a lot of folks. Whether you be in the public sector and working as a municipality or you’re a nonprofit or you’re a for-profit business, doesn’t matter where you’re at. There is a lot of opportunity right now and there’s gonna be even more in 2023.
So we’re very excited to dive into that. So before we get into winning grant funding I wanna pop back here and. I’m gonna leave this up as this is what grants are and I want to talk a little bit about the framework for asking, asking good questions and getting really specific in your needs.
And this is where, For me as a consultant and as someone who spent a lot of time in this space, it comes very naturally to me. But I know that this is not necessarily the natural process where you’re like, man, I got a lot of things on my plate. I just need I just need a hundred K and I can make all this happen.
And so a grant request and a really good one is gonna be really specific. Instead of saying, I need a hundred K, you’re gonna say I need 20 for this and I need 50 for this, and I need, you really break it down and get really specific and. As you think about, your strategic goals over the next year, what do you wanna accomplish in 2023?
And think about the different facets of your business and how it relates to your, to the ecosystem around you. This will start to give you an idea of who you might want to go ask Grant before grant funding and why. And why they’d be interested in funding you. So for example I know there’s gonna be a lot of work being done around economic development and there’s also gonna be a lot of interesting work being done around climate.
And so to the extent that you can tie those two together, so if you’re a business or if you’re a city regardless. To the extent that you can tie those two concepts together and say how can we train more people to work in climate? Maybe we’re training ’em to work on solar, or we’re helping them understand carbon mitigation strategies, or we’re helping educate businesses about managing their carbon footprint.
Maybe want to, we wanna put a program out there that encourages better recycling, best practices, those kinds of things. The approach you wanna start to have when you’re thinking about really spend some time getting very strategic about your asks and how that relates to the larger impacts that are being driven around you.
A lot of this a lot of these priorities you can get out of, going really local. You can get, figure out like what your city’s. Strategic initiatives and goals are like, read their master plan, understand what they’re up to. If you don’t wanna spend all the time doing that, there’s of course, technical assistance providers.
There’s all kinds of folks who can help you do this, but at the end of the day, someone in your team, ideally or someone related to you from a business standpoint, should be understanding these incentives and structures that are developing around you, because everyone’s gonna have.
Things that they’re focusing on right here in California, massive, like in influence and impact around like electric vehicles. There’s all this talk of electrification and net zero and all these things around climate, and there’s a lot of focus on economic development in general and manufacturing.
Different states have different priorities and then when you zoom down to that very local level, just a couple nights ago we were having a discussion. Economic development in the city that we’re based here in Folsom and what the, what the city can do to invest more in startups. And that’s a really specific discussion that’s happening right now, right here in the city of Folsom.
So understanding who is your, who’s your city manager? Who’s the mayor? Who’s who’s on that board? What kind of decisions are they making about the future of your city? That’s really important. I want you to take that framework away. I’m happy to answer other questions about like how, to go about building out that structure.
But that is, at its core, that’s how you’re gonna align incentives is by understanding the priorities of the people around you. Talking about first and foremost, understanding what kind of grants to go look for and then finding the grants themselves. I feel like this is, one of the things that, that’s like the second step on your process.
So first understanding what kind of grants, what your ask is. Second, figuring out. What kind of grants are available, what’s out there? And as a word of caution, the biggest mistake I see people make is trying to shoehorn their program into a grant, right? They found a grant and they’re like, oh, we want this money.
Let’s figure out a way to try to convince these people. Don’t do that. Get really clear on your ass. And then look around and you’ll find a grant program that fits your ask. I almost guarantee it. If you don’t, you’ll definitely find a foundation or community group who’s interested in funding it.
Maybe they don’t have an R F P out, but there’s people who want to fund your idea. So please don’t try to shoehorn your funding program into somebody else’s. I. Get clear on your ask, find that find that opportunity, and then get into the meat of aligning those incentives. And so this is the, there’s two things.
If you’re gonna be successful securing grant funding, one thing you’re gonna need to do is you’re gonna need to follow the rules no matter where you’re applying for funding. There’s some rules about the receiving the money and they may be published in the R F P, right? So there might be a pdf. Or they might be published in like the Federal Register, or maybe they’re like the city bylaws, but there’s rules.
Follow the rules. Now, following the rules is gonna put you on the same level as everyone else who can read and follow rules. Which there are people who drop out because they don’t follow the rules. , be careful about following the rules. Be very cognizant of what those are and how to comply.
But that next step is really about the thing that’s gonna set you apart is being a good partner. And so whether you’re working with a city or a foundation, or you are a city and you’re working with a federal agency being a good partner is really important. And that ranges from. Understanding the incentives and trying to move forward the agenda of whoever has funded you.
But it also involves, recognizing them. And you’re gonna put out press releases, you’re gonna make announcements. The stuff you all are doing on this, all of you on this webinar, the stuff you’re doing is amazing. I’m consistently impressed by the incredible projects and people that run across the OB grants platform and, You’re gonna be making news and you wanna include those people.
Make sure to mention your funders be, be reciprocal in the fact that, they gave you money, so you should acknowledge them. And being a good partner also involves continuing to follow up with, updates, making sure you’re doing your reports on time, those kinds of things.
Because ultimately, these relationships, the capital relationship and that initial grant, it’s, it can grow into, you could be getting that same grant for 20 years or, however long you’re in business, right? So that can be a huge opportunity for you. So be a good partner. Invest in that relationship.
Make sure you are inviting them to like, Ribbon cuttings and events and including them in press releases. And, the other really cool thing about being a good partner, especially if you have a federal or funder or like a state agency or a big foundation, is they have, really big email list.
They have a lot of clout on social media. Like these are folks who you want to be talking about, you and your brand or your city, what, what have you. So be a good partner and that will really continue. Activate grant capital for you moving forward. They will see the good work you’ve done initially.
And then they will continue to. So this is the snapshot of the process, and like I said, I don’t wanna spend a lot of time here. I’m gonna just run through these real quick. I’ll take a look at some of the questions and open it up, and then I’m gonna dive into the platform a little bit.
The process here, once again just to summarize this short presentation. I think if I had to say it in one word, it’s be, it’s like intentional, right? Be intentional about how you’re approaching this process. So it’s much better to be active than reactive in this space. You want to be doing your research, understanding the grantors, understanding the incentives, understanding the things that are driving investment in your space, and aligning yourself with those strategic goals and be authentic.
I’m gonna skip down to three here. Be real. Don’t try to shoehorn or smash your, program into a place that’s not a good fit. Find the people who are interested in doing what you’re doing and start talking to them your. Your act of leaning in and being authentic will act as a signal and a filter, and people who aren’t interested won’t get in touch.
And people who are interested will stay connected and they’ll fund you. And that is true. It can take a long time, but it’ll happen. Following the rules, of course, is super important, but this last one, that’s one that sets you apart and that is being a partner. Be a good partner, be, authentic, but also inclusive.
Abide by the rules, act with integrity. Those are things that really will endear you to funders and they will continue to fund you for, many years potentially. With that, I’m gonna just take a quick look at what’s in the q and a. And ask answer a few of these.
And then I want to dive in a bit to what is the realm of the possible here in grant funding. I’m gonna use the OpenGrants platform as a jumping off tool to like, talk about that. But as I’m going through this process and even now, please definitely ask any questions you have here in, in the q and a section.
So I’m gonna dive into a couple of these questions here. There’s one that says, is there any form of investor assistance grants Now I think what you might be talking about is support for maybe new funds or new investors. There are some really cool programs out there. I’d say S B C I, it’s the big one that everyone knows about and I would look into that.
That’s the state small business credit initiative, depending on where you. There is a there’s different amounts available on every sit, every state. But depending on where you are, there is a significant amount of support for, oh, no, the question is inventor assistance grants. Sorry, I misread that.
Inventor assistance. Yeah. S B I R. And we have a great webinar about that, that we did earlier this year. I’m gonna invite you to check. It’s N s nsf, S B I R. We did an interview with Ben Shag there, who leads there. He’s like their public sector liaison. And yeah, incredible program.
Over 181 billion is invested annually by the US Federal government into inventors and people developing new technologies. The government can be an incredible partner, especially if you all these these steps that I outlined here. So definitely lots of assistance grants for inventors and people building new technology.
lots of cool programs. So I will I’ll leave that one answered now resources for Canadian businesses. I love this. So a couple caveats here. OpenGrants does not currently do a lot of work in Canada. However, we’ve supported a lot of Canadian businesses in accessing grant funding from the United States Federal government.
So if you have compelling technology and you’re interested in collaborating with a national lab or developing some information here or some technology here there’s a lot of resources and we can help you navigate that, help you well our folks on our platform can help you navigate relationships with labs and other things like that.
Yeah, some good re resources. Another question here. The relationship involved acquiring grant funding for pilot feasibility on gun violence. So I’ll just answer this as a bit of a higher level too. Grant funding is frequently relationship driven, and this is not in a sort of collusion way, but you can think of applying for grants a lot like a sales process, which is to say that people who are giving grant money out are not super interested in cold calls, which is, the first time they hear about you should not be when they get your grant.
It should be a a process where you’ve developed a relationship, you’ve maybe asked some questions. They know who you are. They might know what you’re up to. And all of this is good. You want to educate the industry at large about what you’re working on. The relationships that you need in place are really, you want to like, have good brand presence and good notoriety potentially in your industry.
And have that social proof there so that as they’re evaluating your grant project they feel confident, they’re excited about funding you and they’re excited about, what you might be able to achieve with the with the funding. Just. Just be aware that’s something that you should be doing ahead of your that’s part of your research process is building those relationships.
And that really will make you successful. This is I will say this is a long game, right? This is not oh, I need 10 K next weekend. This is, a six month to a year process. On a, in a good In a good environment with everything you need in place. It’s not a fast process, but it is, significant amounts of capital and significant relationships that can really propel you into the future.
You can find those relationships by networking. You can google around, you can initially cold call, like they don’t mind the cold call of Hey, can I have a meeting? What they mind is you dropping a, request for a quarter million dollars and they’ve never. Set those meetings up, reach out use the network at OpenGrants.
We have a great community on our platform of consultants who are happy to chat with you, make introductions and open up that open up that space. Yeah, that’s, what I have to say on relationships in general. Great question here. Identifying the an appropriate PO who would be knowledgeable about the N I H grant you’re applying for?
I would say once again, Reach out to folks in the marketplace on the OpenGrants platform, talk to other people who maybe have worked with NH N I H grants. Selfishly, I’m always gonna be promoting OpenGrants, but there’s a network, if you have a relationship with a research institution, if you have a relationship with a university, the, their bread and butter are federal grants in particular.
So N I H is the National Institute’s of Health. It’s a federal program to fund research in that space. There, there’s bound to be people in that network if you happen to have that affiliation. If you don’t, we have a great resource of consultants and they’re not gonna charge you for, conversations and such.
I would reach out to those folks. Great question here. Is there a consistent characteristic you’ve seen that takes applicants from being rejected to getting that first grant? I think one of the things here that I’ve seen teams do really well and seen teams who failed do very poorly is simply, Under, like closely reading and understanding incentives.
Grant funding is all about incentive alignment. It’s this altruistic money that somebody is putting out there. It could be the federal, it could be the feds, it can be a foundation, but in every case it’s money that is being deployed with no expectation of financial return. They’re trying to create impact.
They want to do something. They want to build new technology, they want to create jobs, they want to do something, and if you are thinking about what makes you better than someone else and more, and more grant worthy and what’s gonna make you more successful, it is understanding that.
And then I would say pairing that with a relationship, right? Making sure that not only you have closely read and understood the incentives that are at play. Like why are they moving this money out the door? , like, why are they interested in this in the first place? So understanding that and making sure your incentives are deeply aligned and then having the relationship, so doing the work upfront to get them interested making sure that they’re aware of your organization and the work you do.
So I think it’s being authentic. It’s showing up to serve your community. It’s showing up and saying, Hey, how can we help? And all of that turns into this process of, understanding. And aligning incentives and it can be incredibly powerful. So really excited to have that question out there.
And thank you so much for asking that. Good question. What does OpenGrants do? I’m going to go ahead and stop sharing this screen for a moment. And I’m gonna pop in and share a different screen and just show you all really quickly what we do here at OpenGrants and why I think that might be of interest to folks on this on this call in particular.
What I’m showing you right now, this is the OpenGrants platform. It’s free to sign up, create a profile. You sign up and create a profile for your program or company, whatever you’re doing. It’s free and we will start matching you to grants once you sign up. And so one of the things that’s really exciting about that is it allows you to get connections to grant funding that’s relevant.
And this is a brand new profile I created just this morning, so there’s no matches here yet, but as. Continue to like input information on the platform, you’ll start getting matched to grants and we will match you to five grants every week for free. And the reason we do this is because this is all public information.
It should be accessible. It should be much easier to utilize grant funding, and we hope that the resources we’re providing here at OpenGrants are making that process much easier for you. You can sign up for free, you can create your profile. You can start connecting with an expert right away. You can have conversations with people who do this professionally as their job day in, day out.
And they are curated professionals that we have. There’s about let’s see, how many are there are these days? There’s 204 different firms here and on the platform. One of the really exciting things about what we’ve done too, Say you’re really bootstrapping. You don’t have a lot of capital for this.
You can find a really great selection of pro bono firms who are set up to support companies. They’re paid by the federal government to help them navigate funding. The Environmental Prone Protection Network just recently helped two companies at no cost Secure Incredible S B I R awards. I think about a half million dollars, about 250 K each.
So that’s just one really quick example. What you can do on the platform. Just to quickly walk through how this all works, you’ve got when you log in, you’re going to have the opportunity. So you go to OpenGrants.io, click signup and when you log in, you get to select grant seeker or Grant consultant or grant professional.
So if you happen to provide consulting services or anything like that, please do apply. Our team will review it. They’ll review your references. And we do have some kind of standards. We like to see people. But if you do meet those standards, we were, we’re more than happy to invite you to join the ecosystem.
Now, if you’re a grant seeker it’s pretty quick. You sign up, you create a profile for yourself, create a profile for your organization. We use that organizational profile to start to match you to grants. We use a variety of AI and ML tools, and so we like to see at least two, maybe three paragraphs of information about what you’re working on.
The other really cool thing about the platform though is say you’re working on stuff and then you have something specific. Maybe you are an economic development organization and you do a lot of things right? So you might post a specific project like say, oh, I wanna do developments downtown, or I wanna do some rural placemaking whatever it might be.
Job training, you can post projects out to our community as well. And those projects will get you engagement from not only funders but consultants and other groups. And so that digestive information is something we provide to folks who are interested in funding. Compelling projects. So that’s a couple initial steps, sign up on the platform, it’s free.
Create that profile so we can start matching you to grants. Post a project about something specific, some specific initiative you’re working on. We would love to see in 2023. We would love to see a ton of you doing all kinds of cool things, getting connected to funders, getting connected to consultants on this platform.
And, we do have some great great case studies and success stories that are rolling out. And you can check out all of that on our website. All of that to answer that question of what do we do? This is what we do at OpenGrants is we provide a place for you to get connected to grant funding, get connected to experts who can help you on your journey.
And ideally you can manage that whole process here on the platform. So there’s a lot of tools that we have, and I’m not gonna go in depth into all of that cause I don’t really want this to be a sales pitch on OpenGrants, but more of a primer on This is how you can win funding and be successful in 2023.
Hopefully that answered your question. That’s what we do here at OpenGrants and I’m happy to go into more detail or if you have other questions, happy to share that stuff. So a couple other questions. Grants for French language education I don’t know off the top of my head, but the cool thing is, and I’ll just show you right here you can come in here and you can search, so let’s.
French language. Let’s see. There’s a few places that have grants for French language that might be a resource. I would go check it out. Grants for renewable energy IP licensing. Yes, we in fact work with some really cool folks on that front. There are grant funds for it. And I would just dive into the platform, check it out and then reach out to our consultants as well.
Lots of lots of great resources on that front. There’s a few cool programs. I would say check out Lab Start. They’re a new partner of ours that we’re working with and they have a whole like program about IP licensing and such. Great question here. How do you suggest connecting with a funder who doesn’t have a website or available contact information?
So this goes back to one of the things I was talking about, which is to say networking, right? Meet people. Generally speaking, all of the experts on our platform have incredible connections to the industry because this is what they do all the. So be sure to have those conversations reach out, say you can in fact go to our marketplace.
So if you go to, if you go to, so say you’re looking for a specific funder and this one I know has a website, but if you need a connection, for example, to the Sloan Foundation, just type that in and you’ll see that there’s some results of people who work with Sloan. And likewise. Take that foundation name or funder and pop into the experts marketplace here and search.
And you’ll be able to connect with a consultant who can, offer up connections up in their network. We specifically vet and bring in these people to do this. We know that. A lot of this stuff, unfortunately, is still very relationship driven, and if you don’t have the network, it’s incredibly hard.
It’s a huge barrier to access for a lot of people doing incredible work. So we wanna make it as easy and accessible as possible. And so that, networking, having a really good Having a really good pitch dialed in too also really helps, right? Like you want to be able to take advantage of that of that network introduction.
So have a good pitch dialed in for sure. Question about a startup focused on sports techs. What grants should you be looking at? High level sports tech N I H S B I R the military in general might also be very interested. I would search in our, in the grant finder search for sports technology and see what comes up.
There’s also, I, my mind au automatically, generally goes to federal funding opportunities, but there’s a lot of other there’s a lot of other things out there in the world. Definitely search and see what comes up. The question here about OpenGrants, does OpenGrants provide insights on how to improve grant writing content to relevant industries?
We don’t currently do that. We do have some partners we work with who do those kinds of things. We also have some features that will be coming out in the coming coming quarters. But one of the best things to do, frankly, is connect with. Connect with a consultant who has done a lot of work in your industry and they’ll be able to help you.
And sometimes it’s very quick, right? Like you don’t have to think oh, I’m gonna end up paying 10 K or 5k, this consultant, it could be like a couple hours. A lot of these folks who have a lot of expertise can look over what you’re doing and give you really good feedback really quickly and efficiently.
You don’t have to like, expect to roll in and spend a ton of money to get really good expert advice. You might just need a couple hours of time from one of these experts. And that’s totally acceptable. Great question. Funding for a supermarket with a fueling station to support the food insecure.
This is great. Like these are the kinds of projects that we’re really pumped up about, we love to see happen. One of the things I want to throw out there that can make you also make you much more successful in securing funding is bringing partners to the table, right? So if you’re saying, oh, I want to get a supermarket and feeling station in a food insecure area.
Have you talked to the local, have you talked to local government there? Have you talked to the have you talked to the food banks? Have you talked to the other people who are already in that place? The government and generally people, they love funding successful projects. And if you can build a strong coalition of experts and people who are doing what you’re doing that just is so much more compelling than you just showing up and saying, Hey, we’re gonna do this project by ourselves.
It’s a good story. Generally it’s really useful for you. And you can also secure a lot more funding that way. So I would really I would really dive into basically the whole like kind of cohesive comprehensive approach to this kind of project. So you mentioned in your question, infrastructure issues and other things.
Right. , that’s probably not your strong suit. Maybe it is, I don’t know. But putting together a coalition of the willing, and that can sometimes start actually with the, like the local government or who, or whatever jurisdiction is like in charge of that space, right? You might approach them and say, Hey, we wanna do this project.
There’s these other issues. Do you have other partners? Who are ready to rock and roll. There’s so many people that are trying to do everything from broadband to fixing the pipes and the water infrastructure to education, to, there’s so much stuff going on. There’s a lot of need out there, and y’all are doing incredible work.
And one of the things that we see as a stumbling block frequently is that it’s sometimes kinda like hard to find the other your other people like your tribe maybe so to speak. The, to the extent that you can be intentional and have bandwidth to go out there and do some coalition building do some listening, do some community engagement it can be just really a game changer between putting in an application that aligns incentives and is really good and you have the relationship to An application that really wins.
Having these, like having a d e I lens, having, experts who do that, don’t like, don’t try to take on stuff that’s not in your wheelhouse. Bring people to the table and and really explore the realm of the possible when you’re approaching like these larger infrastructure projects.
And that goes for government, that goes for everyone. Can we use the OpenGrants platform to find experts that can help. Set up your stuff. Yes, a hundred percent. We have lots of experts on the platform. Ian, great question. What are the ML and AI tools you use?
The tool is really like SageMaker and aws. It’s much more to do about, the design of the model itself and the data set we have, which is pretty pretty unique. But yeah, that’s, How is this, how is that different than other platforms? I hon honestly, our big differentiator, there’s some folks who do great work in this space in terms of grant aggregation.
There’s a lot of folks who do great work just general with AI and ml, of course, that’s a huge industry. But one of the big differentiators that we have here at OpenGrants is the not only the curation of the grant funding itself and matching that. , but the integration of a marketplace of experts who can help you do the next steps.
So a lot of times we find any, everyone from government to to private industry, they’ve got a lot going on and grant funding is a complex and, and sometimes a hard process to, to move through. And so what we what we do is connect them to those experts as I’ve been mentioning, and they’re able to like really push the project through and get it down the road.
That’s one of the big differentiators here at OpenGrants. Can you help us more nonprofit in South Dakota? Sure thing. Sign up. It’s free. Create a profile, get mesh to grants, and you’re on your way. And hit us up if you have any questions. There’s this little blue thing here. That’s our live chat and our support team.
If you have any questions at all, just ping them. Grants for voter education safety I’m sure there are hop in, create a profile search for them. Recommended grants for cybersecurity, for nonprofit orgs. Techup is a great resource there. If you haven’t checked them out, I would. then depending on where you are there’s program’s like Uasi from the federal government that’s all about securing.
Infrastructure. And, but that’s more for the borders. So if you operate on a, in a border area all kinds of different resources though yeah. Question about kind of the costs of being partnered with a consultant or you, or so generally speaking of the platform, as I’ve mentioned itself is free to use.
You can sign up, create profiles, do all that. Some of our consultants, of course, are paid resources and others are subsidized by the government or free to you. So just depends. Seeking new grant opportunities, how long does it take to build a portfolio of awarded grants? That’s a pretty loaded question just because the timeframes for all of these differ.
Wildly. Some grants might take you a year to get other grants might take you 60 days. It depends on where you are and who you are. I will say, as I mentioned earlier, this is not a quick process. If you wanna be successful here, and this is one of the things that I get excited about, especially during the holiday season, is, this is a great time to do some reflection and do some strategy work.
And I encourage you all to be super intentional. Put out feelers, start to understand like, who should you just like, Maybe start dripping some emails to, and, have a coffee with who should you meet up with? What relationships do you need to start building so that you can secure grant funding for whatever initiatives it is that you’re working on.
And you’ll get a better idea from those people about your timeframe. As a as a consultant this can go much faster because you might be working with 10 or 20 orgs and they’re all getting funded, one after another, and that’s pretty cool. But, for an org that’s looking to receive grant funding and have a portfolio of grant funded projects, it really depends depends on who you are and what you’re doing.
Our Canadian business is EDU eligible to apply for US grants. Strictly speaking. Sure. There are re restrictions and other, there’s ways to get around it. There’s ways to go around it. It just depends on what you’re doing. And there’s very legitimate, like you could partner with the university, they could apply for the grant.
You could be a civil awardee kind of thing. It, it really depends on, what you’re engaged in. If you’re doing like defense work can be much more tricky. So yeah, lots of things to consider there. But generally the answer is yes with some caveats. Question here about looking for funding for a boutique grocery store.
Permits for energy efficient registration oh and in Chico. Dope. California, there’s a lot of really great programs through the utilities, through the state. I highly encourage you to jump on OpenGrants and create a profile. . And you also are in a rural area, so there’s U S D A grants.
There’s all kinds of really great resources for someone doing that kind of work. And this brings up an important point, I think, for everyone to, to I just wanna circle back on this there’s a lot of variability based on where you are. So understanding once again, what incentives are happening in the region around you.
So are you in a rural area? There. There’s a whole agenda about like broadband for rural areas and access to, access to resources for innovation and entrepreneurship. There’s a, there’s grants for like VCs that are focused in those spaces. There’s so much, there’s so many incentives and.
Opportunities, depending on where you are. And one place is not necessarily better than the other. If you’re in an urban corridor or the urban core of some city, there’s also programs that are focused on things that people think are really important for that area. So understand how you fit in.
To the incentive structure of your region, like what’s going on, what kind of agenda do like the local folks have? What kind of agenda do you federal agencies have and people who are representing your area with the federal government, understand that space. And then, act accordingly.
And, there’s a lot of ways you can go about doing that. OpenGrants is a resource you can reach out to community leaders, reach out to people on, reach out to your mayor, reach out to your, congressional rep. Like these are the resources to help you figure out what incentives there are there.
Question about a consultant. So very tactical question here. I work, this person works for a bunch of different startups and they want to know how to create pro. Should they create separate profiles for each of these startups? Yes, I would do that because then you can get grants matched to each profile.
And this goes for y’all. When you create a profile on the platform, you have a personal profile and you have an organizational profile, and as a person, you can belong to multiple orgs. And it’s free. You don’t have to, there’s no extra charge for this. So yeah, hop on there. I would create so maybe some of you work at a startup or you work in government or what have you, but maybe you also work for a nonprofit.
Create both those profiles and we’ll start matching ’em to grants. We’d love to have you do that, so please do create those. And that’s the most efficient way to get th that done. If you submit a bid or proposal for a certain amount and it’s not approved, is it possible for, will they approve you for a small amount?
Yeah. So this this seems like more of a more of a question or an answer for people who are looking for more clients. Yeah. If you send out a proposal to someone on our platform and you say, Hey, we’re gonna help you with this grant funding program and it’s gonna cost X and they don’t approve it yeah.
They might, come back to you and say, all right. Let’s do less. Certainly it’s possible. I’m just gonna pop down here. Grants for freelance content, media production, environmental climate and journalism. Yeah, lots of grant funding for all kinds of cool stuff. Hop on the platform, search for it.
I will say that like some of the very there’s some very exciting federal and state programs about like climate education. And so one of the. That you can do is dive in, search for that stuff. You’ll see a lot of foundations also that are interested. And this is a great time.
Reach out to those folks, people are doing like planning and strategy work right now towards the end of the year on like the foundation side of things. And so yeah, reach out, get in touch. Yeah, really excited about that. Quick question of what’s our actual website? I’m just gonna go ahead and type it in.
It is OpenGrants.io. So happy to be a, happy to be a resource for y’all. Someone here said, I suggest getting on the n I H email list as well as other relevant organizations. Wouldn’t you Sure, yeah. Get on all the lists that you need to. That is a one very valid way to track all of these opportunities is to sign up for all the list serves.
Of course that can be a bit cumbersome and blow up your email inbox. Which is one of the reasons we built OpenGrants, of course. But yes, that is a great way to track all of that. One of the reasons to track that additionally, and maybe you want to filter a little bit higher level is there are all kinds of workshops, there’s all kinds of opportunities to go and engage with the industry people themselves.
And so it can be a great way for you to like network and build those relationships. So yeah. Great advice there. Thank you for that. I’m going to I’m gonna skip over anyone asking about specific grant opportunities for specific space from now on, just because the short answer is hop on OpenGrants, get in that grant finder, search for it.
If it’s there. If it’s not, ask the consultants. And they will know. I will say one caveat to all of this is that there are a lot of grant funds that are discretionary w we track at OpenGrants and the same goes for everyone else in the space. And for grants.gov, what’s published out there is grant opportunities are these RFPs.
It’s requests for proposals, which means that they want you to apply and go through a process and get funding, but there are tons. And. The I r A bill is a specifically, really great example if the IRA bill authorized all kinds of discretionary grant for grants for transportation and all these other things, and these are just mo, this is just money that cities and states and governments are getting to do what they need to do to make transportation better or.
Or to work on climate related projects. And they’re not necessarily gonna be published as RFPs. They are money that the city now has or the state now has. But you might not actually ever see an RFP published about this. And this is where having those relationships and having the consultants can be really helpful or having the relationship once again because you can talk to your local, local government or your state government or someone at your Department of Transportation and.
Hey, we’re doing something really innovative to make bike lanes safer, or we’re rolling out this program that’s gonna improve solar adoption. And they might be able to say, look, that’s actually something we need a lot of help with, and we have all this money we can spend, that happens . And you can get in there, build those relationships and drive those requirements and, that can be a process that you can engage in as well.
So I encourage you to get really strategic, start building those relationships and I’m. Go through and answer some more of these questions here. Great question. What do you mean right for points on your slide? In most RFPs so most of those like requests for proposals, you will see a rubric.
That actually gives you like, Hey, we want this concept and this concept. It’ll be like three or four sections. And they’ll say a really good one scores you a, you a hundred percent of the points a bad one at 75, blah, blah, blah. Pay attention to those rubrics.
There’s like very specific scoring criteria that’s about following the rules. That’s what I mean. Can you use grants to find a prospect researcher if you don’t have time to do research yourself? That’s really a great question and I will say that you can use grants for a lot of creative things.
At my first company, we got nearly a half million dollars to go out and do customer research and we spent a whole year doing it and it was very leisurely because we had this great grant from the state. So yeah, you can get grants to do all kinds of things. Sometimes you have to be really creative and.
But as long as you’re doing some of the things we’ve talked about, you can make it happen. Great question. What are some of the tools that we’re launching in 2023? Lots of cool stuff coming out. We have planned to do a some grant management stuff which actually will probably be in collaboration with a partner we hope.
We have some plans to roll out, a few other tools that will help you evaluate like a confidence scores on the grant. So I’ll help you understand what’s one in the past, what does your project look like in relation to those? And so how should you prioritize your. between three or four different grants.
That’s the other thing we’re super excited about. So thank you for that question. We’re excited to continue working and honestly, if anyone on this webinar or listening to it afterwards has thoughts about products you’d like to see OpenGrants roll out, please reach out. We’d be super excited to to hear your feedback.
That helps us a lot, frankly. Awesome. Some other questions. Here we are, we’re winding down here. We’ve got about 10 more minutes left and I want to get through some of these questions. But I also just wanna say that, OpenGrants has been built with the mission of making grant funding more accessible, more equitable, and improving representation amongst awardees.
And for that reason, the platform. Core structure and functionalities are free to use. And I encourage you to share this with other folks who might be looking for solutions in this space. Because what we’ve done here is not only, created a platform and a portal for you to get, access to grant funding, but we’ve also done a significant lift in terms of opening up networks.
And I saw a question about can you get in? Touch with like topic managers and other people? Yes. That’s what we have these firms on this platform for first and foremost, it’s less about the you paying them and us, having some of that marketplace revenue, but it’s much more about opening up your connections and your network to funders who are interested in what you’re doing.
And this is something that the funders are interested in. They wanna see more projects, they wanna see more innovative things being done. They want to see impact being created. And y’all are the people who are doing all that cool work. So whether you’re working at a city or local government, or you’re working for a state agency, or maybe you’re at a nonprofit or a startup, no matter where you are in your process, in your career, there are folks who are looking to.
Fund really interesting, innovative, motivated folks who are doing good work in the world. So please do leverage this as a resource and let us know how we can improve it and continue to make it better. Because that’s really what we’re all about here, is, continuous improvement. We wanna make sure that we continue to be the easy way to win grants.
Couple of other questions here. RFP grants are formal proposal that may be for a million dollars. However, if you just need a few thousand dollars are there, ways to go about getting access to those smaller grant opportunities? Would you track grant opportunities that are a little bit smaller?
I don’t know that we actually track anything that’s just a few thousand dollars. But we do track smaller grant opportunities. There are programs You won’t see that as much from the federal government or state governments just because the work to put out a grant is not worth that amount of money.
Like it’s not cost effective to deploy capital that way for them. But you will find like different organizations and corporates in particular who we also track do deploy grant programs that are smaller in, in dollar size. And so you might look for that. Instead of looking at government grants, I would look at private, philanthropy and.
And corporate strategic partners who are interested in funding different activities and they have, smaller grant programs that you might be interested. Another question. Does OpenGrants have access to organizations, visibility to mentoring and coaches in South Africa? Super specific
I, I don’t think we we have some network out there. Certainly there’s experts in our marketplace if that’s interesting definitely, feel free to reach out and see. See if there’s something there. One other thing that I’ll say on that topic, you might have a specific ask like this.
And if you don’t find a resource that you need just by searching around on our platform, definitely reach out to our support team via live chat and get in touch with them and see what they can do. Because that’s also how we drive that sort of process of bringing on additional resources.
So if we get a lot of requests for certain, a certain thing, and we, especially if we don’t have it, we. We’ll go out and get that for you. And that’s, something that our team is really good at. A few other questions in here that I think are Or either already answered or not. So if you do have any other questions, do let me know.
But once again, thank you all for coming out. I really appreciate it. I hope that I communicated a framework that’s useful to you in terms of starting to plan and be successful. And I hope that you’ll leverage OpenGrants as a resource as you lean out and lean into your program as you’re showing up authentically for your community.
And starting to attract those funders. Use OpenGrants as a tool to make that happen and catalyze that a bit. But really this is about empowering you as the experts, as the community leaders, as the nonprofit leaders, as the business leaders, as the innovators and inventors. Like you need capital to do really cool things.
And here at OpenGrants, our goal is to make that process a lot. Streamlined and easy. So thank you so much for being part of the community. Thanks for signing up. We will send this send this presentation out. And this video out, it’s gonna be on YouTube as well. And there’ll be email follow ups and other things, but I just encourage you to check it out and definitely, the other thing I want to throw out there real quick, because y’all are hopefully starting to think about grant funding in 2023.
We did just launch something pretty cool. It is called. The the learning library. And it is a bunch of really cool resources for you as you’re looking at grant funding. So we have a collection of funded grant proposals. So this is a collection a library of proposals that have been funded by foundation’s, state agencies, federal agencies.
So if you ever want to see what, like a full grant proposal that was super successful, looks. We have a whole library of them right here in this in this guide and like resource section. We also have a collection of all of the like final reports. So this is the research information that was created by a grant process and team.
So hop in there. If you need to like source something or cite something please dive in. And then we also have organized our webinars. So that you can really quickly dive in and understand certain key topics like how to build a fundraising funnel. That’s one I highly recommend that you check out as you’re getting strategic and tactical about your approach for the year.
Build a funnel that’s gonna be super useful for you. But thank you so much. It’s been a real pleasure. Super excited about 2023. I think there’s a lot of really great opportunity. I know there’s a lot of really great opportunity and really excited to see what y’all continue to build and do here with the OpenGrants ecosystem.
The final note, the other really cool thing that we released recently is our a p I. So if you’re building some kind of platform or doing some kind of work, Check it out. You can sign up for a free trial right here and you can integrate the functionality of OpenGrants into your platform. So thank you all for being here.
Any last questions, feel free to fire ’em away, but it’s a real pleasure. It is it’s been a very interesting and exciting year. And we’re excited to have you be part of this in in 2023. So thank you.