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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Finding Funding in Hard Economic Times

Times are tough for everyone today. A recent article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy (October 17, 2010) noted that "donations to the nation's biggest charities dropped 11 percent last year, a decline that was the worst in the two decades that they have been calculating their Philanthropy 400 rankings." Here at the University of Minnesota Libraries, we offer individual consultation and workshops to help people find sources of funding for their research, to help grad students pay tuition or travel costs and other needs. Additionally, in my community work, I've helped local and regional organizations as they look for funding support.

I've been surprised at how little is written in the library/information professional press on strategies and resources in this area and pulled together information into two articles that were published a year ago. I'm posting them here in case they give others insight, ideas or strategies - in academe or communities - for finding support for your work!

For those at the University of Minnesota, check out our listings of workshops often for free workshops on how to search core funding databases through the year.

Here are the articles - feel free to share your own ideas and strategies!

"Grantsmanship: Information Resources to Help Researchers Get Funding," SEARCHER 17(7): 34-45, July 2009.

"21st Century Fundraising: Everything You Need May Be Free on the Web," SEARCHER 17(8): 24-31, September 2009.


  1. Do you have information on fellowships in the Libraries? I need to find funding and hope to avoid loans. I have plenty of those! The Finding Funding workshop was great. Thanks!

  2. Good information and aggressive approach for seeking funding. Thanks!

  3. Here's a quick trick when it comes to fellowship information: Use Google - but use it carefully!
    So, you want to find "fellowships" so that's one potential search term. You didn't mention your department or research area, but that would be another potential search term. Since you probably want qualified, scholarly opportunities, you can do some limiting in Google -- limit by domain so you'd add the command "file:edu". You don't have to use quote marks.
    Try this, if it's still too many, try to limit further by type of document/file that you'd want. Most likely colleges and departments would use Excel, Word or even post fellowship information as PDFs. So try adding a filetype command, such as "filetype:xls" So, the search might look like:
    fellowships filetype:xls site:edu
    If there is still too many (and there would be), limit by your discipline, department or other subject terms to hone in on your core areas of interest -- such as psychology or sociology or "public health", etc.
    Give it a try - it won't be comprehensive, but it's a good way to come up with a short list of possibilities rather quickly.
    For comprehensive results, you still need to use IRIS, SPIN and COS, however.
    Good luck in your search!