How Technology Changed Grant Research

My son turned 21 today which has me reflecting on how much the world has changed in the last two decades. For example, my husband carried a beeper in the final months of my pregnancy since cell phones had not yet become commonplace.

 
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Grant research has also changed markedly in the last 20 years. At the time, I worked as Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Bridgewater College in Virginia. Finding grants meant searching through the BIG green Foundation Directory ... and by BIG I means hundreds of pages in 3” volumes of onion paper printed in about 5 point font. (Think Reader’s Guide instead of Google.)

The process involved going through the index to find key words that fit the project of interest, writing down the page numbers for the profiles of the possible funders then checking them one at a time to see if (1) they would fund higher education, (2) if they made grants in Virginia, and (3) if they funded similar projects to the one of interest. It would literally take all day - and then some - to find a handful of possible funders. Not the most efficient use of time, but it was all we had.

Fast forward to today and you have an internet swimming with grant information - much of it free - right at your fingertips. But like everything on the internet, not all information is created equally. You have to sift through mountains of data - some false, others outdated - to figure out the best grants for your projects.

Wastyn & Associates recently launched a project to make searching for grants for organizations that serve clients in the greater Quad Cities even easier. We do all the work for you, searching multiple sources and pulling all that data into one easy-to-search location. And we ask the funder to verify the information, making it more current than anything else on the Internet.

What 20 years ago took a full day to research, more recently could be accomplished in a few hours, now takes a few minutes. Technology indeed can improve our lives — and in this case, our productivity.