Webinar: How to find funding and grants


This Horticulture Innovation Lab webinar discusses the process for identifying funding opportunities for international development activities and what the process for submitting a proposal looks like. This was the first webinar in the Horticulture for Development Professional Series, held live on July 25, 2019.

Megan Mayzelle, freelance writer and facilitator, was the speaker for this fundraising workshop. She provided an overview of how international development professionals can identify funding sources and the main components of compiling a proposal for funding. Mayzelle previously conducted a fundraising and grant writing workshop for the Horticulture Innovation Lab's Trellis Fund Summit in Washington, D.C., parts of which were incorporated into this session. 

This summary includes the recorded webinar video presentation, the presenter's slides, and additional resources referenced in the presentation.

Selecting the right funding resources for your organization

When researching funding opportunities for international activities, it is important to evaluate what the funds will be used for. Mayzelle discussed the limitations and restrictions that are placed on grants when it comes to funding salaries, staff training or professional development. If you know you will need funding for these components, looking at other options to complement a grant may be a good idea.

In-kind resources — such as direct services, labor, and equipment — may be provided and used in cases where a grant has specific restrictions on how funds are used. These resources are equally important as money and do not come with specific requirements.

Your own direct fundraising activities are also options for covering necessary costs that may be difficult to cover with a grant. These unrestricted funds can be generated from private events, competitions or other activities.

Grant donors and implementing partners

Various donors and implementing partners exist based on the size of the grant. For larger grant opportunities, the main donors include:

  • U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID)
  • World Bank

Grant opportunities funded by these larger donors will often be geared towards larger organizations which act as implementing partners. Under these opportunities, local or smaller organizations can have a lesser chance of being awarded major grants, but can work with implementing partners as a collaborating organization or sub-awardee. Smaller grants are often awarded by donors that fall under the following categories:

  • Funds
  • Foundations
  • Centers

Local organizations are often more frequently considered for these opportunities. Mayzelle highlighted some common requirements for organizations applying for smaller grants, which include being registered as a nonprofit organization or specific tax status. Understanding who is funding the program and where your organization fits within this structure will allow you to better target relationship building with right-sized donors and partners.

Image of three arrows on top of each other including networking, monitoring opportunities, and developing a project plan, all leading to an arrow titled "Write" and then a star titled "Submit"
Networking should be an ongoing activity that starts long before a specific grant or other funding opportunity becomes available, and continues throughout the process of applying for funds.

Building your organization's network to find funding

One key facet of finding grant funds that Mayzelle highlighted is the importance of networking. Building your network with donors, implementing partners and other organizations allows you to be better informed on new funding opportunities and to understand what donors need. This can ultimately influence your proposal, allowing you to better address what donors are looking for in approaches to solving development issues.

Opportunities for networking include attending conferences in your area or sector, local events, hosting donors or organizations for meetings, or participating in workshops.

Additional grant and networking resources

In addition to her presentation, Mayzelle described useful tools and worksheets that she has developed to assist the networking and proposal development processes highlighted here. These include: