Firstly, it's worth keeping in mind that the evolution of the international development sector has resulted in more funding being directed to multi-sectoral projects than ever before. This has meant that sometimes it's more challenging to get business alert results that are 100% accurate to your interests. But with a bit of tweaking you can make them work well for you, here are some tips to help you along the way:
Avoid long strings of general keywords
For example if you are interested in funding opportunities related to education around gender equality, and also health related to youth or children you may type in education gender equality youth health systems young people and leave the funder and location filter open. It's likely you will receive many irrelevant opportunities that include these words, as they are common to many different types of funding opportunities.
What we recommend to people is to set-up separate business alerts on each particular topic so that they can review the results and refine them. So for example if you are interested in these topics, you could set-up two different alerts:
- education AND "gender equality" - note the use of quotation marks to avoid the words equality and gender being searched for separately
- health AND (youth child*) - note 1. the space between youth and child means it's searching for either youth or child. 2. Parenthesis are necessary to define it as a statement. 3. The * means it will search for all words with this root (children, child).
This article gives you a list of Boolean search term combinations that can help.
Exclude certain terms from your search results using AND NOT
For example if opportunities related to construction continue to appear within your results exclude all of these by typing AND NOT construction, i.e. health AND NOT construction.
Think like a funder.
Use the terms that funders use to describe the topic you're interested and test them by watching how the number of results changes as you add or remove keywords.
Visualize your results first, to then get more specific with your business alert.
If you don't have a specific region or funder of particular interest identify those that may be of interest using the option to visualize your results to see trends, to then get more specific with your business alert.
For example, if you are open to new funding opportunities across the world but you have experience working with partner organizations that have experience in West Africa, perhaps it's worth investigating which funders are distributing funding to your sector of interest in this region so you can take advantage of your network there.
Likewise, if you have experience working with a particular funder on a topic you can quickly see the top ten regions they are directing their funding to this way. This then allows you to focus your business alert on these areas or funders, while you can always create another business alert that's open to all regions and funders, but perhaps is only delivered once a week rather than daily.
For more information on visualizing the search have a look here.