October 21, 2009

Tools of the Trade: Resources to Aid in the Search for State Contracts and Grants

In August, The Grant Plant published the first article in a series devoted to resources we use to search for funding opportunities as well as tips to help navigate these resources. In that first article we discussed key strategies and tools specific to federal funding opportunities. This month, we continue our series with a focus on web-based tools for seeking state contracts and grants.


One of the more recent and useful tools for learning about and locating state funding opportunities is the New Mexico Office of Recovery and Reinvestment (NMORR) website. Created by Governor Richardson earlier this year, the NMORR oversees the state’s implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The website not only provides information on how more than $3 billion in federal stimulus funding allocated to New Mexico is being spent, it also offers information on competitive grant opportunities as they are announced.


When logging on to the site, visitors will see a menu bar at the top of the home page with a variety of options from which to choose, including one called “Current Funding Opportunities.” The Current Funding Opportunities page may or may not have recent grant opportunities posted, but it will contain a link to Grants.gov, a resource highlighted in our August newsletter. (This link also can be accessed directly from the home page by choosing a button on the along the right side of the screen). State grant opportunities that are funded through the ARRA typically are administered through each state agency, and grant seekers can find links to those websites in the top right-hand corner of the NMORR website.


A good find within the NMORR website that offers some great tips on applying for state grants and government funding can be accessed here.  This page features an overview of competitive stimulus funds slated for New Mexico as well as information on what types of programs may be eligible.


Many state agencies will post Requests for Proposals (RFPs) on their individual websites. For example, on the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) website, there is a menu item called “Providers.” This option allows visitors to select “RFP” from the pull-down menu. See www.cyfd.org to navigate through this system (a direct link to the RFP site is here). Other state agency websites with dedicated pages to RFP announcements include:


New Mexico Behavioral Health Collaborative
New Mexico Environment Department
New Mexico Department of Health
New Mexico Human Services Department
New Mexico Department of Transportation
New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions

State agencies that do not have a web page dedicated to grants and RFPs will typically post these opportunities and announcements on the home page or under News and Events. Also, state RFPs can sometimes be located by doing an advanced search.

While researching state grants and contracts can take a bit of time and initiative, the payoff can be tremendously rewarding. A wealth of online tools exists to help nonprofit organizations search for funding opportunities within state government agencies. Those detailed in this article are just a sampling of the resources The Grant Plant uses each day to determine who in the state may be funding a project or program that may be a good match for one of our clients. Here are couple additional tips for monitoring opportunities:

  • For state sites that align with your work, check to see if there is a newsfeed or email list to receive announcements for upcoming grant/contract opportunities.
  • For sites without a notification link, contact the agency directly because many maintain internal mailing and email lists for announcing opportunities.
  • Use your electronic or print calendar to post reminders about checking back on sites. You can set automatic repeat reminders in Outlook, Palm Pilot calendar, and other applications.
  • If you don’t want to bother with monitoring sites, The Grant Plant can do this for a modest flat monthly rate.

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