Get information on every U.S. Foundation with one search in FDO Quick Start. It’s free to register!  
Featured Jobs



What I Learned About Grant Research From Skunk Hunting

We have a skunk that wanders around our yard on occasion. (I'm sure that's not something you read every day). Let's just say he is not a welcome visitor.
A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I were sitting on the back patio enjoying a glass of wine, when he said in one of those loud whispers, “There's that skunk. I'm getting my gun. Stay right here.” And he left. It was just me and the skunk, and, believe me, I was paying a lot more attention to his (or her) movements than he was to mine.

When he first saw the skunk, it was a good distance away, but, as I waited and watched in horror, it started to amble casually toward the house. My heart started racing, and I thought, “Where is he with that gun?” Fortunately, the skunk turned and just as casually went to the back of the property, finding a bug or something else that interested him. By the time my hubby showed up, the skunk was out in the field by our house. 
So, what did this little adventure tell me about grant research? And, why on God's green earth would I make the connection?  

Well, to answer the questions, it taught me three key things.
Here are the three things I learned from skunk hunting that I can apply to grant research:
Thing 1: Patience is a virtue when it comes to grant research, as it is in skunk hunting. 
It takes patience to hunt a skunk. They are pretty crafty little creatures. They usually show up in the early evening, right around dusk. But they don't show up every night. 
The same is true of grant research. Even with databases and excellent tools out there to research grant funding, it still takes the time to do grant research. Remember, “Patience is a virtue.” The wait may be well worth it.
Thing 2: It is important to be prepared in order to do effective and efficient grant research.  This is also the case with skunk hunting. 
It is important to put together a project plan and use it to identify keywords before you start your search. And let's just say when I was sitting there alone watching the skunk stroll toward me, I really wished we had been more prepared for the skunk hunt!
Thing 3: There is a season for skunks, just like there is for most grants. 
I don't see many (or any) skunks in the winter. They tend to hide in our barn and sheds (not the best surprise if you happen to walk up on one or a family of them). They venture out when the weather is nicer. As skunk hunting is best done when they are out and about, there is definitely a hunting season.
Many grant cycles only occur once or twice a year. There may be a spring and fall cycle. For example, applications are released in March and applications are due in May. After that, no applications can be submitted until the fall cycle. That is why it is important to do regular research on available grants for your projects. Depending on the “season” and the release of new funding, you will get new opportunities that pop up throughout the year. So be diligent about your grant research.
I hope that while this was a humorous (and maybe a little weird) analogy, you took away three key components of grant research: patience, clarity on your search terms, and diligence. Now, if you'll excuse me, we have to go back to “skunk watch”!