Howdy. This is Jeffrey Helton, AmeriCorps VISTA with Grow Appalachia, and this is part two of my series on identifying funding opportunities. (Part one can be found here.) Last time around, I blogged about the basics of funding—from government funding to private foundation funding. (By the way, a Grow Appalachia participant emailed me to ask about other foundation directories, so here’s a more in-depth list: The Christian Funding Directory, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, FoundationSearch, Fundsnet Services, The Grantmanship Center, GrantDomain, GrantStation, and GrantWatch.) The question now is how we can make all of that information useful, because most people want to find funding and not just read about it! Smart Searching I mentioned in my last post that these directories offer limited (or sometimes no) access to non-paying members, and the membership fees might not be realistic for small nonprofits. It might even feel like you need to apply for a grant just to join a grant directory. That’s unfortunate, because foundation directories can give you information on what kind of projects foundations fund, how much money they typically give, etc. All of that information is important when crafting a proposal for funding. Thankfully, there are some smart search tricks that you can use to learn more about foundations that might be a good fit for your organization all on your own. The first thing that you need to know about searching for funding opportunities is how to brainstorm keywords and phrases, because it’s often the case that the information that you’re looking for has been phrased in a way that’s a little different from what first comes to mind. As a general rule, specific searches are better, so you’re better off looking for “Lexington commercial kitchen grants” than “Kentucky commercial kitchen grants,” which is better than simply searching for “commercial kitchen grants.” If your specific searches aren’t working, that’s when you can gradually broaden them. And if you need help brainstorming keywords, you can always plug a search term into a thesaurus or even a reverse dictionary to find related concepts. An even more practical skill to have is knowing how to search within a specific website. Although there are apps that you can download that will help you do this, you also do it pretty easily on your own. If you want your Google search results to come from a particular site—Wikipedia, for instance—then you can either follow for precede the search terms with site:wikipedia.com. A search for “farming” that is limited only to Wikipedia pages would look like this: site:wikipedia.com farming (Note that you can also search by site type, so if you only want governmental sites, just type: site:gov followed by your search terms.) Other tips: To search for series of words or phrases in an exact order, put them in quotations, otherwise Google will jumble your words in a misguided attempt to help you find more search results. For example, searching for “Food hub grant” without quotations will give you the same results as “food grant hub” or “grant hub food.” Usually, this is OK, but sometimes the word combinations can give you very odd results, so be mindful. If your search results feature a lot about another topic that you don’t care about, you can remove mentions of that topic by adding a dash (-) and the term that you want removed. For example, if your search for food kitchens returns a lot of results about Martha Stewart, of all people, you can fix that by typing: food kitchens -“Martha Stewart” With these skills and tips, you can search for funding opportunities in a much smarter way without having to spend a lot of money on a directory subscription. You can search state, county, and municipal websites exclusively for funding opportunities, while using synonyms and related phrases to increase your chances of finding something. You can search for newsletters that mention funding possibilities. You might even search the websites for local newspapers to see if there are any stories about foundations giving money in your area. You’ll have to be creative with these techniques, but there’s real power in them, and the mental challenge is also part of the fun. Until next time!