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11 Tools for Grant Prospect Research

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Grant prospect research is a critical step for organizations looking to secure funding. It involves identifying and evaluating potential funding sources that align with an organization's mission, projects, and goals.

7 Benefits of Grant Prospect Research Infographic

Utilizing the right tools can significantly streamline this process, making it more efficient and effective. Below are 11 key tools and resources that can aid in grant prospect research:


Overview: This is the central portal where U.S. federal agencies post their available grants. It allows users to search for funding opportunities across various federal departments.

Features: Users can search for grants based on keywords, funding opportunity number, agency, and category. It also offers email alerts for new grant postings.

  1. Instrumentl

Overview: Designed for nonprofits and grant writing consultants, offering a comprehensive platform for institutional fundraising. Features a vast database of over $1 billion in active grants from various funders, including corporate, federal, state governments, and private foundations.

Features: Offers intelligent matching to relevant funders, up-to-date grant information, clear visualization of 990s and foundation profiles, with grant management and reporting tools. It aims to streamline the grant prospecting, tracking, and management process into one easy-to-use platform.

  1. Foundation Directory Online (FDO)

Overview: Operated by Candid (formerly the Foundation Center and GuideStar), this is one of the most comprehensive databases for private foundation grants in the United States.

Features: Provides detailed profiles of grantmakers, including their funding interests, application guidelines, and awarded grants. Subscription-based with various levels of access.

  1. Pivot

Overview: Pivot focuses on both domestic and international funding opportunities, including grants, fellowships, and scholarships from government agencies, private foundations, and other funding organizations.

Features: Offers robust search and alert capabilities, allowing users to find and track funding opportunities that match specific criteria.

  1. GrantStation

Overview: GrantStation offers online access to a comprehensive set of grant research tools and resources, including listings for federal, state, and private funding opportunities.

Features: The site provides detailed grantmaker profiles, a library of grant-writing tips and strategies, and various newsletters highlighting new and upcoming funding opportunities.

  1. The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Overview: While not a grant database, The Chronicle is a leading publication in the nonprofit world, offering news, articles, and resources relevant to fundraising and grant seeking.

Features: Includes reporting on trends in philanthropy, major gift announcements, and interviews with grantmakers, providing insights that can inform grant prospecting strategies.

  1. Google and Other Search Engines

Overview: Don’t underestimate the power of a well-crafted search query. Search engines can unearth announcements, press releases, and previously awarded grants. Using a Boolean search can be helpful.

Features: Useful for identifying lesser-known grant opportunities and researching potential funders’ interests and priorities.

Example Boolean Search:

("performing arts" OR theater OR dance OR music) AND (grants OR funding) AND federal NOT "visual arts" NOT sports

  1. Internal Resources

Overview: Leveraging your organization’s existing relationships, networks, and previous grant applications can yield valuable leads and insights.

Features: Review past proposals and reports to identify funders who have previously supported similar projects or areas of interest.

  1. Social Media and Professional Networks

Overview: Many foundations and funding organizations use social media platforms to announce grant cycles, workshops, and funding priorities.

Features: Following potential funders on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can provide real-time updates and networking opportunities.

  1. Regional and Local Grantmaker Associations

Overview: These associations often have directories or listings of local foundations and grant-making entities, which can be invaluable for targeting region-specific funders.

Features: May offer workshops, training, and networking events that can further assist in grant prospecting and application processes.

  1. Candid’s GuideStar

Overview: GuideStar provides information on nonprofit organizations and is a valuable resource for researching potential funders and understanding their philanthropic history.

Features: Access to financial documents, IRS 990 forms, and detailed profiles of nonprofit organizations, including foundations.

Each of these tools has its strengths and can be combined to conduct thorough and effective grant prospect research. Identifying the right mix of resources will depend on your specific needs, the nature of your projects, and the scope of funding you are seeking.

Grant prospect research is a fundamental yet time-consuming phase in the grant application process. While this research is crucial for securing necessary funding, it can also be a substantial drain on resources. This is where considering a partner to assist with the process can be highly beneficial.

If you're looking for a partner in grant prospect research and grant writing, you've come to the right place! Let's connect and see where you are, where you'd like to be, and how we can support you during the process.