Many local non-profit agencies rely heavily on grant funding to sustain their operating costs. Like other methods of fundraising, such as donations and sponsorships, finding grant prospects takes time and extensive research. With the right tools and resources, small nonprofits can streamline their grant research process to enhance their success.
Wondering how to find grants for nonprofits?
In this guide, we’ll explore where to find grants for nonprofits to jumpstart your research. This article covers starting points for grant research and how to determine eligibility for grant applications. Let’s dive in!
Where to Find Grants for Nonprofits
Finding a grant for your non-profit organization starts with knowing where to look. Check out some of the top places to help find grants for nonprofits. These sources can help you to find winning grants for your agency. Below, we’ve included a mixture of sources that are both free and paid platforms.
For non-profit organizations seeking large, government grants, start with Grants.gov. This website encompasses all the grants available to non-profit organizations in the United States. Using their free search tool, agencies can narrow down search results based on sub-agencies, such as the Department of Justice.
Based on the services your organization offers, you can narrow down your search using terms relating to your funding needs. Obtaining a government grant is a big step for small nonprofit organizations. According to Constant Contact, a widely used non-profit software, government grants are one of the most reliable grant sources.
Pro Tip: Sign up for the grants.gov email newsletter for free. This will keep you engaged and up-to-date with funding opportunities as they arise. While federal grants through grants.gov are extremely competitive, they are also a great way to win a high-award grant to further your mission.
2. Subscription Databases
There are several paid platforms available to help nonprofit agencies locate new grant opportunities. Using a tool like grantwatch.com or instrumentl.com, organizations can narrow down search results to help find new funding streams. Both are useful tools for nonprofits looking for both private and public grant funding.
Purchasing a subscription to a grant watch will cost you approximately $200 per year. Yet, your organization can weigh the ROI to invest in this tool. If your budget allows, try a year subscription to help identify new grant prospects.
Guidestar is a useful tool to help agencies perform grant research. Through Guidestar, agencies can view any nonprofit’s 990. A 990 is a tax form that shows all the grants awarded by a grantor in a given year. Using this information, you can help determine if a foundation is worth applying for. Even better, this helps you gauge how much to request in a grant proposal.
4. Community Foundations
Finding local organizations and agencies in your community/funding region can help to learn about new grant opportunities. One great place to start is to look for your local community foundation. A simple google search for “Community Foundation in X town” will suffice! Community foundations receive money from various sources, including major community donors. Their job is to distribute this money amongst agencies in the funding region.
Community foundations disburse award money through several avenues, including through grant applications and donor-advised funds. As an organization, building a relationship with your local community foundation can help increase your odds of winning grants.
5. Local Guides
Some cities, states or regions publish local guides and/or searchable databases that can give you additional insights for where to find grants compared to national databases like Grantwatch or Instrumentl. For example, the Community Resource Center in Colorado publishes a Colorado Grants Guide that has deeper local insight compared to national databases Instrumentl or Grantwatch.
6. Search Engines
Although it may surprise you, using search engines to find grants can be effective. But, your search keywords must be relevant to your grant funding needs. For example, search for grant terms related to your target audience, type of nonprofit, and geographic area. Through this search, you may find grant opportunities such as corporate funding, private grant foundations, as well as grants specific to your community.
While these five options are great places to start, there are hundreds of other great methods to find winning nonprofit grants. Depending on your type of organization, some methods may deliver more success than others.
Keeping Track of Grant Prospects
As you locate new grant prospects, keeping a detailed spreadsheet can help you keep track of deadlines and details. Throughout the research process, keeping detailed records will make the application process much easier. Furthermore, keeping a spreadsheet or log keeps you on pace to meet upcoming deadlines.
Here, you can determine which grants need your immediate attention. Then, place grants with extended deadlines on the back burner. When the end of the fiscal year comes, your grant log can help you measure your progress and create goals for the upcoming year.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of how to find grants for nonprofits and where to find grants for nonprofits, determining eligibility is the next step. While it may be tempting to want to apply to everything, your organization first must determine eligibility. Always double and triple-check the requirements for any grant application.
Spending adequate time carefully reviewing eligibility requirements helps protect your precious time! Also, it’s important to note that grant eligibility can vary quite a bit from grant to grant. Larger government-based grants are likely to have more eligibility requirements than smaller, private foundations.
As a rule of thumb, some factors of eligibility to consider include: