How to Use Data to Win Grants and Attract Investors

Learn how to leverage data to create compelling grant proposals and investment pitches. Grantify has helped innovators secure £125M+ in funding.

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Megan Williams
June 18, 2024
How to Use Data to Win Grants and Attract Investors

Data is the secret weapon that turns a good pitch into a winning proposal. It shows funders that your project isn't just a hunch – it's backed by hard evidence.

The best part? By using data effectively, you're not just convincing grant assessors – you're building a persuasive narrative that can resonate with equity investors, too.

This guide answers all your burning questions, from what kind of data to gather to where to find reliable sources (without getting lost in an internet black hole). 

Even if you're an early-stage startup with limited data, we'll show you how to strategically present what you have to make a strong case.

How do we know what works?

In less than five years since Grantify was founded, we've helped hundreds of innovators secure over £125M in funding by equipping them with the tools and knowledge to tell a data-driven story that captivates funders and investors.

Let's infuse your proposal with the persuasive power of data. Ready to get started?

Why does data matter in grant applications?

In a highly competitive funding landscape, your innovative idea deserves to stand out. But how do you convince funders that your solution isn't just a gut feeling, but a carefully researched plan with a high chance of success? This is where data becomes your superpower.

Hand holding a phone showing analytics dashboard
Substantiating Your Claims
Data provides the evidence to anchor your proposal in reality. It's one thing to claim your product fills an urgent market need; it's another to cite industry reports and surveys that prove the demand exists.
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Addressing Real-World Problems
Funders don't just back cool ideas; they invest in solutions that tackle significant challenges. Data helps you quantify the problem you're solving, demonstrating its scale and impact.
One man showing another man facts and figures on a laptop - both smiling
Building Credibility and Trust
When used responsibly, numbers and statistics show that you've done your homework. A data-driven proposal signals to funders that you're thorough, methodical, and committed to making a measurable difference.
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Like many industries, data is key in fundraising. Grant providers want to know what the scale of the problem you're solving is. The economic burden, financial impact or health/environmental implications of the problem going unsolved is a key metric that assessors like to see - what's the industry motivation behind your solution?

This leads you nicely into being able to demonstrate the impact that your solution may have and why it should receive funding.

Likewise, for investment funding, data such as customer demographics, market research, and financial forecasting will all be strengthened by including independent, quantified evidence of your arguments or figures, along with a clear need for the business.
Testimonial Author
Stephanie Ward
Funding Consultant @ Grantify

What types of data should I include in funding proposals?

Think of data like the ingredients in a recipe for your grant application or investment pitch. You need a mix of different elements to create a truly tempting dish.

Here's a breakdown of the key ‘data flavours’ you'll want to incorporate.

Problem Definition Data
Demonstrates the need for your solution
E.g. Market research reports, statistics on the prevalence of an issue, target audience surveys.
Solution Data
Quantifies your ability to deliver the solution and make a difference
E.g. Models and projections, internal metrics from previous projects, estimates based on recent research studies and scientific statistics.
Financial Data
Ensures your proposal is both ambitious and realistic
E.g. Detailed budget breakdown, cost-benefit analysis, information on secured and potential matching funding.
Supporting Evidence & Credibility Data
Backs up your claims with reputable sources
E.g. Third-party statistics, letters of support, relevant scientific studies.

Remember: The specific mix of data you'll need depends on the specific grant programme and the nature of your project.

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One of the main methods of persuasion is the use of logical appeals because it's difficult to argue against facts, statistics, and unbiased data.

If there is a need, shortcoming, or inefficiency that could be improved upon, and data-driven quantified examples can be used to project the improvements that are possible, you can make a persuasive argument that investment in one's solution is the logical thing to do.
Testimonial Author
Michael Sarnowski
Funding Consultant @ Grantify

Real-world examples: Using data effectively in grant proposals and funding pitches

Now that you know the types of data to include, let's see how to weave them into your proposal to create a compelling narrative.

These examples come from Grantify clients who we’ve helped secure hundreds of thousands in grant funding.

Problem definition data: Demonstrates the need for your solution

Software that automatically designs optimally shaped slopes in mines to reduce carbon emissions and costs.

"The goal of achieving net zero by 2050 requires the mining industry to reduce its carbon footprint, which currently accounts for approximately 8% of the global carbon footprint."

How the data defines the problem:This data quantifies the mining industry's substantial contribution to global carbon emissions, underscoring the urgency for innovative solutions like OptimalSlope's.
A corporate volunteering platform to increase employee engagement and streamline the process.

"Only 14.3% of the 29.8M UK workforce engage in volunteering, resulting in charities losing approximately £14.6B worth of volunteering time."

How the data defines the problem: This data reveals the low participation rate in corporate volunteering and the significant financial impact on charities, highlighting the need for a platform like Volunteero to bridge the gap.
Heartfelt Technologies
A medical device for remote monitoring of heart failure patients.

The company opens with a powerful quote from a heart transplant surgeon:

"Do you know that half the people I operate on wouldn't require surgery at all if they had reported their symptoms in time?"

This statement paints a vivid picture of the problem: preventable heart failure hospitalisations due to lack of timely symptom reporting. They then back this up with a hard statistic:

"One-fifth of the population is at risk of congestive heart failure, which results in direct healthcare costs of $65B/year."

How the data defines the problem: The combination of the quote and the statistic paints a compelling picture of the human and economic costs of unmanaged heart failure, underscoring the need for innovative monitoring solutions.

Solution Data: Quantifies your ability to deliver the solution and make a difference

This type of data demonstrates that your solution will have a predictable, measurable and considerable positive impact on the problem you have highlighted.

An AI/ML platform with human oversight that manages worker classification and compliance.

"The solution boasts a cost efficiency of over 81.3% compared to its market competitors, including ongoing checks to ensure accuracy."

How the data showcases impact: This statistic directly compares CoComply's solution to its competitors, highlighting its superior cost-efficiency and accuracy. This positions CoComply as a leader in the field and instills confidence in its ability to deliver results.
Exyo Design
A platform using novel technologies to enable over-65s to remotely monitor and self-manage their fitness to prevent falls.

"Unlike other solutions, Exyo's offering employs a wealth of data to increase resource efficiency by 225%."

How the data showcases impact: By quantifying the increase in resource efficiency, Exyo demonstrates the superior effectiveness of its data-driven approach compared to existing solutions.
A revolutionary indwelling urinary drainage system that eliminates the need for external bags or tubes.

"The unique selling points of this device are its leak-proof design and patented magnetic valve technology, which ensures greater confidence and a potential economic benefit from a reduction in CAUTI treatment costs for the NHS by 10% of the HCAIs related to CAUTIs, which could be as much as £57M/year."

How the data showcases impact: Ingenion highlights its unique patented technology and quantifies the potential cost savings for the NHS.
Pro tip: The best stats have strong, recent references

Statistics in grant proposals are significantly more effective when they are evidence-based. In other words, if you say:

“By implementing our AI-powered energy management system, office buildings can reduce their carbon emissions by an average of 23%.”

It’s important you back your claim with a reference like this:

“This projection is based on a comprehensive analysis of energy consumption data from over 500 commercial buildings across the UK, as documented in the 2024 Building Energy Efficiency Survey conducted by the Carbon Trust."

Project budget breakdown example

While the real-world examples above showcased how to use data to define your problem and solution, let's shift gears and explore how a well-crafted financial plan can make your proposal even more compelling. 

Keep in mind that even if you're pre-revenue or early-stage, funders and investors want to see that you've carefully considered the costs involved and have a realistic strategy for using their investment wisely.

To illustrate this, let's dive into a hypothetical scenario: an AI-powered educational platform for primary schools. 

This example will walk you through the key financial components you'll need to address in your grant proposal.

Project Summary

A 12-month project to develop an AI-powered educational platform for primary schools. 

Total project cost: £353,500.

Cost breakdown:

Labour Costs: £220,000
  • Project Lead: £70,000 (Experienced educator with a background in AI integration, allocated 90% to the project).
  • AI Developer: £60,000 (Experienced AI developer, allocated 95% to the project).
  • Educational Content Specialist: £50,000 (Experienced educator specialising in primary education, allocated 80% to the project).
  • New Hire: UX/UI Designer: £40,000 (To be recruited upon grant success, allocated 90% to the project).
Overheads: £44,000
  • £44,000 (20% of total labour costs).
Subcontractors: £60,000
  • Data Annotation Service: £50,000 (To annotate educational materials for the AI model).
  • Regulatory Advisor: £10,000 (To ensure compliance with data privacy and educational standards).
Materials: £29,500
  • Software Licences: £10,000 (Specialised AI development software).
  • Cloud Computing Resources: £10,000 (To host and train the AI model).
  • Testing Devices: £2,000 (Tablets for pilot testing in schools).
  • Travel & Subsistence: £0 (Omitted due to minimal travel needs and focus on value for money).
  • IP & Patent Filing: £7,500 (To protect the platform's novel AI algorithms).
Match Funding: £106,050 (30% of total project cost)
  • £60,000 from internal cash reserves.
  • £46,050 conditional investment from an angel investor contingent upon a successful Smart Grant application.

(Match funding is the portion of the project costs your business must contribute to be eligible for the grant funds. Check out our article matching funding explained.)

This hypothetical example gives you a taste of how to structure your financial data, but crafting a truly competitive financial narrative requires a nuanced understanding of each funder's priorities and a knack for strategically presenting costs and projections

Our platform goes beyond the basics, offering custom-designed financial templates, in-depth guidance, real-world examples, and expert insights to help you optimise every financial detail and maximise your chances of securing the funding you need.

Where can I find reliable data?

Data is the backbone of any persuasive grant proposal, but where do you find credible sources without drowning in a sea of information? 

Here’s a quick rundown of where to look for each type of data you’ll need:

1. Problem and Solution Data:

Industry Reports: Seek out reports from reputable market research firms like Statista, Gartner, or IBISWorld. These reports often contain valuable data on market size, trends, and customer needs, which can help you define the problem and demonstrate the potential for your solution.

Government Statistics: Explore data published by government agencies such as the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), or the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). These sources often provide data on social, economic, and environmental issues, which can be used to quantify the problem you're addressing and demonstrate the potential impact of your solution.

Academic Research: Look for relevant studies and findings published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Academic research can provide in-depth analysis of specific problems and potential solutions, adding credibility to your proposal.

Internal Metrics: If you have any data from previous projects, pilot studies, or customer feedback, use it to showcase your track record and demonstrate the impacts of your solution.

2. Financial Data:

Benchmarking Studies: Research industry averages for costs, salaries, and pricing models to inform your budget. This will help you create a realistic and competitive budget that aligns with industry standards.

Financial Modeling Tools: Use software tools to create projections and analyse your project's financial viability. This will help you demonstrate your project's potential return on investment (ROI) and long-term sustainability.

Investor Databases: Explore databases like Crunchbase or Beauhurst to understand funding trends and investor expectations. This can help you tailor your financial projections and pitch to appeal to potential investors.

Quotes from Subcontractors: Collect detailed cost estimates from potential subcontractors to ensure your budget is accurate and comprehensive. This demonstrates your due diligence and commitment to responsible financial planning.

3. Supporting Evidence & Credibility Data:

Third-Party Statistics: Corroborate your claims with data from reputable sources, such as government agencies, industry associations, or academic institutions. This adds credibility to your proposal and strengthens your arguments.

Letters of Support: Obtain endorsements from key stakeholders who can vouch for your project's value. This will demonstrate that your project has support from relevant organisations and individuals, increasing its chances of success.

Scientific Studies: Cite relevant research findings to strengthen the scientific validity of your proposal, especially if your project involves innovative technology or scientific research.

Grantify: Your data powerhouse

While those general sources are a good starting point, the task of gathering relevant data from reputable sources can feel daunting to even the most data-savvy founder. 

Without knowing exactly what to look for or where to find it, market research can be time-consuming and potentially very costly (a single industry report can sometimes cost thousands).

To save you time and money, Grantify equips you with a powerful in-platform arsenal of data tools and guidance on how best to use them, including:

  • Free Statista Enterprise Access: Tap into millions of data points, articles, and industry reports—normally costing thousands of pounds—for free.
  • Free Data Gardener Enterprise Trial: Easily identify and size your UK B2B customer base with this powerful market intelligence tool. All Grantify clients get an exclusive two-week free trial to the enterprise version of Data Gardener (worth £2,000!). This trial is completely free, and there is no obligation to sign up for the paid version (but if you do, Grantify clients get a 30% discount).
  • Google Scholar: Expert advice on how to use scientific literature to back up your claims and demonstrate the innovative nature of your project.

With Grantify, you don't just get access to raw data; you get guidance on how to strategically select, interpret, and present the most impactful evidence to captivate funders and investors.

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In a recent round of government funding, 64% of all winners were produced by the Grantify platform.

Learn how to leverage data to create compelling grant proposals and investment pitches. Grantify has helped innovators secure £125M+ in funding.

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