At The Grants Collective, we’re often asked how to find grant opportunities for an organization. There are a ton of websites with various grants on them, and it’s hard to make sense of all them, not to mention it takes a lot of time to read all of the descriptions.

We recommend staying aware of funding opportunities by spending a small amount of time every day looking at the following resources:

Federal

  • www.grants.gov, the federal government’s online portal for 26 federal grant making agencies.
  • www.Fedspending.org, a project of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Watch. Fedspending.org allows you to see who received past grants or contracts by name, state, amount, program, or other criteria of interest to your organization.
  • www.ruralhealthinfo.org/funding, the Rural Information Hub’s website provides state-specific resources and a funding guide to help you with your search.

State

Many state agencies will post Requests for Proposals (RFPs) on their individual websites:

Private

This year, Foundation Center and Guidestar are merging to become Candid — great news for those of us who regularly use both sites.

www.foundationcenter.org has a robust database that offers a free Foundation Directory Online search tool.

www.guidestar.org is a free resource that offers downloadable IRS Form 990s for foundations, which provide a nice listing of past grant awards so you can see a complete picture of how many, how much, and to whom grants are ma

Corporate Philanthropy
In seeking corporate funding sources, start with those in your own backyard. Begin with local companies or national companies with local operations. Then think of other ties:

  • What businesses have supported you in the past through things like donations, in-kind goods, volunteer projects, employee matching gifts, or sponsorships?
  • What businesses synch well with your organization (e.g. pet stores for animal welfare groups)?
  • What businesses are geographically close to your service sites?
  • What businesses do you have a relationship with (via staff, board, volunteers, volunteer projects)?
  • What companies have funded agencies that do similar work to yours?
  • When you have a list of prospects, start going through their websites. Donation guidelines are usually found on tabs or links for “About Us,” “Company Information,” or “Community Involvement.” Check geographic restrictions, interest areas, deadlines, and submission guidelines.

By regularly monitoring these four categories of funders when creating a grant-seeking plan, you’ll be able to diversify the types and sizes of money coming into your organization and not miss out on grant opportunities. This will help your organization be stable and help you focus on delivering your programs to the community.

Sincerely,
The Grants Collective Team
Many Grants. One Collective.

P.S. Even when you do find a grant to apply for, whether or not you should really depends on if your organization meets that funder’s criteria. Keep an eye out for some tips from us on making sure you’re spending your time wisely by applying to the right sources.