Funding Menu FAQ

Welcome to our FAQ page! Here, you’ll find answers to commonly asked questions about our services, processes, and resources available to startups and small businesses seeking non-dilutive funding opportunities. This page is designed to help you understand how we can assist you in securing funding without giving up equity in your business.

This FAQ page aims to provide clear and concise answers to your questions, making your journey to securing funding as smooth as possible. If you need further assistance or have additional questions, please contact us directly or schedule a consult call with us here


We charge a flat fee. There are no hidden costs with the menu. If you have not had a conversation with us, we welcome you to schedule a call here

Yes.  Regarding our references, we are happy to provide them upon request. You can see our client success stories in more detail in our Client Testimonials and Client Success Database.

Grant writing and Proposal Preparation services are available but are sold separately from the Funding Menu service.

We are happy to have a conversation about grant writing. If you have not had a conversation with us, we welcome you to schedule a call here

We are pleased to provide you with hand-screened and vetted funding opportunities specific to you that are mapped 18 to 24 months out or more and completed in 30 days or less. This includes…

  • Researching based on your business focus area
  • Screening eligibility requirements and other info
  • Verifying information with the funder
  • A useful format for you to make informed decisions
  • 3 Meetings (Onboarding, Progress Check-in Meeting, Final Review)
  • Funding Menu with Summary, Planning Calculator, Next Step Guidance, and Funding Opportunities

There are various factors that come into play. It depends on the parameters that details you provide to us. Some clients have 50; others have well over 100. Each client's needs are different.

Our goal with the Funding Menu is to maximize your organization’s chances of securing grants by carefully selecting opportunities that align well with your mission, capabilities, and strategic goals. Here’s how we ensure that the grants listed are attainable for your organization:

  1. Tailored Selection: We take into consideration your organization’s past experiences, strengths, and areas of expertise when selecting grants to include on the Funding Menu. This ensures that each opportunity is relevant and achievable based on your specific context and history.
  2. Comprehensive Analysis: We analyze why previous applications may have been unsuccessful and use these insights to better match future opportunities. This might involve focusing on grants that have less competition, are more specific to your field, or are known to support projects similar to yours.
  3. Resource Alignment: We assess your organization’s capacity to meet the application requirements effectively. This includes considering your available resources, such as staff expertise and time, to ensure you can prepare a strong application.
  4. Feedback Integration: If available, we incorporate feedback from past applications to improve how your proposals address the funder’s priorities and expectations. Learning from past submissions is crucial for enhancing future success.
  5. Strategic Advice: We provide guidance on crafting compelling narratives, gathering robust supporting data, and aligning your proposal closely with the grant’s objectives. This strategic support is aimed at increasing your proposal's impact and appeal.
  6. Ongoing Learning: Our approach includes equipping you with skills and knowledge through workshops, templates, and one-on-one coaching sessions to improve your grant-writing abilities continuously.

By focusing on these aspects, the Funding Menu is designed to offer a realistic and strategic set of funding opportunities tailored to your organization’s unique needs and circumstances. We aim not only to match you with potential grants but also to enhance your overall grant-winning capabilities, increasing the likelihood of future success.

Yes. Want to know what your plans are for the next 3 to 5 years. We also what to know about plans or activities that you have tabled due to funding needs.

Yes. On the surface, an agency may not seem like a fit for you. However, we ask that you don't rule them out, as the agency may have a specific funding opportunity that aligns with your work.

Yes. You will have access to our team to answer any questions you may have during the Funding Menu development process.

Our Funding Menu is designed to encompass a broad range of non-dilutive funding options to suit various organizational needs and stages of development. Non-dilutive funding means you receive financial support without having to give up equity in your organization. Here are some of the types we include:

  1. Grants: These are often provided by government agencies, foundations, and private entities. Grants are typically tied to specific projects or initiatives and do not require repayment. We include grants that support research and development, innovation, community projects, education, and more.
  2. Fellowships: These are usually aimed at individuals or teams within your organization to support professional development, research activities, or specific projects that align with the funder’s objectives.
  3. Awards and Prizes: These are funds awarded to organizations that achieve certain milestones, demonstrate innovative solutions, or win competitions. They are a great way to gain recognition and financial support without sacrificing equity.
  4. Tax Credits: Available primarily for specific industries or activities, such as research and development, these reduce the amount of tax your organization owes to the government. We identify applicable tax credits that can save you substantial amounts in operational costs.
  5. Government Contracts: These contracts are for organizations that can provide goods or services to government entities. They are a steady source of non-dilutive funding if you can meet the government’s needs.
  6. Reimbursement Programs: These programs reimburse you for certain types of expenses, often in the healthcare and technology sectors. They are structured to minimize financial risk as you develop and deploy new technologies or services.
  7. In-kind Support: This includes non-cash assistance such as free use of equipment, software licenses, or technical support and services. While not direct funding, in-kind support helps reduce overheads and operational costs.

By incorporating these diverse types of non-dilutive funding into our Funding Menu, we aim to provide you with a wide array of options that can support your organization's growth and sustainability without diluting your ownership.

Each Funding Menu comes with well-matched opportunities for your current needs, an onboarding meeting to help us refine and shape our research, a progress check-in meeting to answer any questions you may have, modify research, and see time-sensitive opportunities, and a final review to review all findings, answer any questions, and develop a strategy to move forward with the opportunities in your menu. We also include a Planning Calculator to help with planning out your timeline for your next proposal and so much more, including all the information listed below that comes with each opportunity.

  • Name of the Funder: Name of the organization providing funding
  • Title of Opportunity: Specific name of the opportunity
  • Type of Funding: Where the funding is coming from
  • About: What is the funding opportunity focused on
  • Award Amount: The value of each  opportunity
  • Due Date: The date the proposal or application is due
  • Key Contact: Name of the funder 
  • Key Contact Type: How to best contact that funder
  • Link: Link to the Funder’s application
  • Initial Approach Date: When you should approach a funder
  • Approximate Notification Date: When would you find out
  • Eligibility Requirements: Specific qualifications to apply
  • Barriers to Applying: Potential roadblocks to applying
  • Repeating: Does the funding opportunity repeat, and how often
  • Awards: Number of Anticipated Awards
  • Insights: Our notes and intel on the funder
  • and so much more

It depends. If we have to contact the funder it will be to collect additional information about a specific funding opportunity. We will not contact a funder on our client's behalf.

The decision to contact a funder directly depends on the specific circumstances and needs of the inquiry. If additional details are required about a funding opportunity that are not available through publicly accessible sources, we may reach out to the funder to gather this essential information. This can include clarifications on eligibility requirements, application processes, or specific grant conditions critical to preparing a robust grant application.

However, it's important to note that our role does not include contacting funders on behalf of our clients to advocate for their grant applications or to influence the funding decision in any way. Our interaction with funders is strictly limited to obtaining information that aids in understanding the grant opportunity better.

For clients, engaging directly with the funder can be beneficial when:

  1. Clarifying Application Details: You might need to discuss specific aspects of your project or organizational capacity that could impact your eligibility or the appropriateness of a grant application.
  2. Building Relationships: Direct interaction can help build a rapport with the funding organization, which might be beneficial for future funding opportunities.
  3. Seeking Feedback: After a grant decision, you may wish to contact the funder for feedback, especially if your application was not successful. This can provide valuable insights for future applications.

While we facilitate the initial stages of information gathering, we encourage you to engage directly with the funder when it comes to discussions that pertain to your specific application or funding needs. This approach ensures clear communication and maintains the integrity of the funder-applicant relationship.

Grant due dates are often set well in advance to allow potential applicants ample time to prepare their proposals. This extended timeline is typical because the grant application process is generally complex and involves several key activities:

  • Understanding Requirements: Each grant has specific requirements regarding eligibility, use of funds, and expected outcomes. Applicants need sufficient time to fully understand these criteria to ensure their project aligns with the funder's goals.
  • Gathering Documentation: Applying for a grant typically requires gathering detailed documentation about your organization, project budgets, planned activities, and expected impacts. This preparation can be time-consuming, especially if financial audits or detailed project descriptions are required.
  • Collaboration and Partnerships: Some grants require forming partnerships or collaborating with other organizations, which can require negotiations and formal agreements. Setting up these partnerships effectively to benefit all parties involved takes time.
    Internal Approval Processes: In many organizations, grant proposals must go through internal review and approval processes before submission. This adds additional time to the application timeline.
  • Quality Assurance: Submitting a high-quality, competitive proposal often involves drafts and revisions. Time is needed to refine the proposal to ensure clarity, accuracy, and alignment with the grant's objectives.

We understand the urgency of funding needs, and we recommend focusing on grant opportunities with upcoming deadlines while planning for future grants that align with your long-term goals. This dual approach helps maintain a continuous cycle of potential funding and project development. Ultimately - Grants should never be an organization’s first dollar. You should be raising funds from individuals first e.g., people who believe in your organization and are willing to make a contribution to get you started.

This is subjective, and you may have a different alignment interpretation from our team. Here is our definition

  1. Future Fit: Business/Team: The grant opportunity has the potential to support the long-term growth and objectives of the organization. However, organizational skills and resources need to be in place to execute the grant-funded project successfully.
  2. Future Fit: Product Preparation Needed: This considers the current stage of the product or service that is central to the grant proposal.
  3. Strongly Aligns: The grant opportunity is an excellent fit for the organization's mission, goals, and capabilities. The project seamlessly connects with the organization's future direction.
  4. Looks good but will require a more in-depth look: There's strong potential for alignment, but more analysis is needed. This could involve further scrutiny of the grant requirements against the organization's capacity or detailed planning to ensure that the project outcomes support overall business goals.
  5. Strict requirements, still a possibility: The grant has highly specific requirements that pose hurdles but not insurmountable ones. The organization might need to adapt its approach, acquire additional resources, or form partnerships to be competitive.
  6. Not Aligned with Business: The grant opportunity focuses on an area outside the organization's primary scope, mission, or capabilities. The project, even if successful, wouldn't meaningfully contribute to the organization's long-term goals.
  7. Not Eligible: The organization categorically fails to meet basic eligibility requirements set by the funder. There's no point in pursuing this opportunity.
  8. Contact the funder to discuss: There are ambiguities in either the grant description or your organization's specific situation that make assessing alignment difficult. A direct conversation with the funder would clarify the fit.

"Future Fit" can refer to how well potential funding opportunities align with both your current stage and anticipated future needs as your venture progresses. Different funders have specific requirements based on the maturity of a business. For example:

  1. Stage of Business: Some funding sources, like certain venture capital firms or advanced grants, may require you to be past the ideation stage. This means having a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), some degree of customer traction, or even generating revenue. These criteria ensure that the business has moved beyond conceptual stages and has demonstrated some market validation.
  2. Specific Requirements for Funding: Certain specialized funding opportunities, such as SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) Phase II grants, are aimed at businesses that are already engaged in research and development with some proven results from earlier phases (like SBIR Phase I). Similarly, funding for clinical trials is targeted at businesses that are in the later stages of product development, specifically those that are ready to test their biomedical inventions or drugs on humans.
  3. Anticipating Future Needs: Even if you are not currently at a stage to qualify for certain types of funding, understanding these opportunities can be crucial for strategic planning. For instance, while you might not yet be ready for clinical trials or have the need for a large workforce, knowing about these funding options can help you plan your development path. This includes preparing for eventualities such as expanding your team, which might make workforce development grants relevant to you in the future.

By including a broad spectrum of funding opportunities in our guidance, we aim to not only match your current needs but also prepare you for future requirements. This approach ensures that as your business evolves, you are aware of and ready to pursue the most appropriate funding sources at each stage of your growth. This is what we mean by "Future Fit" – ensuring that the funding opportunities we suggest are a good match for both your present and future needs, enabling you to plan and apply effectively as your business progresses.

  1. Narrow Focus: The Funder has specific areas of interest within the broader sector. For instance, a client might be both an EdTech and HRTech product that is too education-focused for an HRTech funder and too HR-focused for the Department of Education. So, it initially “looks good” but will require more details (like a conversation with the funder).
  2. Uncertain Match: Insufficient information to definitively assess the fit between client and funder.
  3. Adaptable Proposal: The Funder might consider the client if the proposal aligns with their priorities. USDA SBIR is a good example. They will fund an EdTech product, but you would need to apply the benefits specifically to rural students, pilot in a rural school, etc. They will fund a clean energy product, but it needs to benefit rural areas or industries, so the client may have to gather some statistics that they don’t already have. The truck parking app client was a good example because so many truck stops are in rural areas, making it a good place to start– even though the product isn’t really designed specifically for rural areas.
  4. Changing Priorities: Funder's focus areas shift over time, requiring future evaluation. A good example is DOT SBIR (and a few others). It has specific topic areas, but they change every year. Some pitch contests do this as well. Since we don't know what next year's topics will be, we can put it on the list with a “looks good” and a note for them to check next year’s solicitation as a possible avenue to pursue in the future.
  5. Pre-Application Contact: Funder requires initial contact before submission. A good example is USDA SBIR, which is related to the topic of rural development. It appears to match, but ultimately, the funder decides if the match is strong enough or not – but it is close enough to make the conversation worth pursuing.
  6. Limited Information: Funder's guidelines lack specifics for proper assessment.
  7. Social Impact Focus: Foundation funding requires a demonstrated social benefit and potentially a non-profit partnership. For example, economic development, education, poverty, environment, etc. and/or have a non-profit partner. They might have to gather additional statistics or have some record of prioritizing social benefits.

When a grant opportunity is classified as 'Strongly Aligns', it indicates that the grant is an excellent fit for your organization's mission, goals, and capabilities. This means that your proposed project aligns well with the grantor's objectives and your organization's strategic direction, which is a crucial factor in the funding decision.

However, while strong alignment significantly enhances your application's relevance and appeal to the grantor, it does not guarantee funding. The funding decision can also be influenced by several other factors, including:

  1. Competitiveness of the Grant: If the grant is highly sought after, you may face stiff competition from many other well-aligned organizations, which can affect your chances of success.
  2. Quality of the Application: A strong alignment must be effectively communicated through a well-written and compelling proposal. The clarity, thoroughness, and persuasiveness of your application are critical in showcasing how your project aligns with the funder’s goals.
  3. Availability of Funds: The amount of funding available and the number of grants the funder intends to award play a role. Even highly aligned projects may not get funded if the resources are limited or spread across numerous recipients.
  4. Organizational Capacity: Funders often assess the capability of an organization to successfully implement the project. This includes financial stability, staff expertise, and past performance on similar projects.
  5. External Factors: Sometimes, external economic, social, or political factors can influence funding priorities and decisions, which might affect even well-aligned proposals.

In summary, while 'Strongly Aligns' enhances your chances by demonstrating that your project is well-matched with the funder's priorities, it is one of several critical elements that contribute to the success of a grant application. It's important to address all aspects of the grant application process thoroughly and professionally to maximize your chances of securing funding.

Seeing a grant listed multiple times on the funding menu often reflects that the funder offers multiple deadlines for submission throughout the year. Each listing corresponds to a different submission window. We include these separate deadlines to help you better plan and prepare your applications:

  1. Strategic Planning: Different deadlines allow your organization to choose a submission time that best aligns with your operational readiness and project timelines. This flexibility ensures that you can apply when you are most prepared rather than rushing to meet a single annual deadline.
  2. Resource Allocation: By displaying each deadline separately, you can more effectively manage your internal resources, including staffing and budgeting, to support the application process. This helps in distributing workload evenly across the year and aligning grant writing with other organizational activities.
  3. Visual Clarity: Separate entries for each deadline make it easier to visualize and track upcoming opportunities in your funding strategy. This clarity is crucial for maintaining an organized approach to grant applications, ensuring you don’t miss critical deadlines.
  4. Opportunity for Multiple Attempts: If a grant is a good fit but the timing isn’t right, or if your application is not successful on the first try, multiple deadlines provide additional opportunities to refine and resubmit your proposal. This can increase your chances of success without having to wait an entire year for the next funding cycle.
  5. Tailored Preparation: Different grant cycles might have slightly different focus areas or funding priorities based on the funder’s current strategic goals. Knowing all available deadlines allows you to tailor your proposal to align closely with these nuances.

By listing each deadline separately, we aim to provide you with the maximum strategic advantage in planning and applying for grants, enhancing both the quality of your applications and the likelihood of achieving funding success.

Review the list carefully and prioritize the opportunities.

Consider the following factors when prioritizing:

  1. Alignment with your business and long-term growth plans: How well does the grant opportunity align with your mission, vision, and goals? Remember, we are making an educated guess based on the information we have from you.
  2. Eligibility: Do you meet all of the eligibility requirements for the grant? We have looked through all of your funding opportunities to confirm this, but double-check just in case we missed something.
  3. Award amount: How much funding is available through the grant? This information should be available for each opportunity, but there may be a few that have not confirmed their award amounts or want to have a conversation about your budget before they set the funding amount.
  4. Due date: Is the deadline for submitting an application realistic for you? We strongly recommend engaging with the funder at least 45 to 60 days from the deadline.
  5. Competition: How competitive is the grant program? When we are able to get this information for you interns of how many are going to be awarded and how stringent the review process is for that opportunity.

Deciding which grant to apply for first can be influenced by several strategic factors that align with your organization's immediate needs and long-term goals. Here are the key considerations to help you prioritize your grant applications:

  1. Alignment with Mission and Goals: Start by assessing how closely each grant opportunity aligns with your organization's mission and strategic objectives. Prioritize grants that support your core activities and have the potential to significantly impact your organization’s progress.
  2. Deadline Urgency: Consider the application deadlines. If several grants fit well with your goals, you might start with the one that has the earliest submission deadline. However, ensure that starting with a tight deadline won't compromise the quality of your application.
  3. Funding Impact: Evaluate the potential impact of the grant funding on your projects. A grant that provides substantial funding that could catalyze a project or significantly enhance your operations might take precedence over smaller funding opportunities.
  4. Preparation Required: Assess the amount of preparation needed for each grant application. Some grants require extensive documentation and a lengthy proposal process. If you’re closer to meeting the requirements for certain grants, it might be strategic to apply for those first.
  5. Probability of Success: Analyze your likelihood of success based on past interactions with funders, the competitiveness of the grant, and how well your organization meets the eligibility criteria. Starting with grants where you have a higher chance of success can build momentum and confidence.
  6. Resource Availability: Consider your current resources, including staff time, expertise, and the availability of necessary data or partners. Prioritizing grants that you are currently best equipped to apply for can increase efficiency and effectiveness.
  7. Feedback and Learning Opportunities: If this is your first time applying for grants, you might consider starting with applications that will provide feedback, regardless of the outcome. This can be invaluable for improving future applications.

By weighing these factors, you can strategically determine which grant to apply for first, maximizing your chances of success and ensuring the best use of your resources.

The time required to prepare and submit a grant application can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the complexity of the grant, the amount of information required, and the readiness of your organization to supply the necessary details. Here’s a general breakdown to help you plan:

  1. Understanding the Grant Requirements: Initially, you’ll need to thoroughly review the grant guidelines to ensure your project and organization meet the eligibility criteria. This stage may take a few hours to a couple of days.
  2. Gathering Necessary Documentation: Collecting all required documentation, such as financial records, project descriptions, letters of support, and evidence of past performance, can be time-consuming. Depending on the availability of these documents and the need for updated information, this process can take anywhere from several days to a few weeks.
  3. Writing the Proposal: Writing a grant proposal is often the most time-intensive part of the process. This includes crafting clear narratives that outline your project’s goals, methods, and expected outcomes, aligning closely with the funder’s objectives. Depending on the complexity of the proposal and the need for collaboration among your team, this could take several weeks.
  4. Internal Review and Revisions: Before submission, it’s advisable to have your proposal reviewed internally by key stakeholders. This review process can identify areas for improvement and ensure that the proposal meets both internal standards and the funder’s requirements. Allocating a week for review and revisions can be prudent.
  5. Submission Preparation: Finalizing and submitting your application, including filling out online forms, attaching documents, and confirming that all information is accurate, typically takes a few days.

Overall, from start to finish, the process of applying for a grant can take anywhere from one to three months. Therefore, it’s crucial to begin preparing well in advance of the grant’s deadline to ensure a thorough and compelling application.


Once your funding menu has been developed based on your organization’s needs, we can update it periodically, depending on your needs.

Talk with us about your updating needs. We always welcome you to schedule a call about updating your menu here