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Looking for Grants in All the Wrong Places?


If you have ever been involved with a nonprofit organization at any level, you know that competition for grants is intense. Although there are many factors involved in securing funding, the first step is identifying opportunities.
December's Question of the Month was "How much of your grant research do you conduct on-line?" More than 90 percent of responding readers indicated that they conduct all or most of their grant research over the Internet. So what resources are they using for all this on-line research? Below are some of the Web sites mentioned by Question of the Month respondents. Keep in mind, these are sites for conducting grant research. Most of them are not grantmaking organizations themselves.

Search engines are a great place to start any research project on the Internet, and Google received quite a few mentions. Google is helpful for locating the Web sites of specific foundations you're interested in and for more general research. Experimenting with different combinations of keywords may lead to sources of information you didn't know existed.

GuideStar, of course, is another resource for grantseekers, as pointed out by several of our loyal readers. Although GuideStar doesn't post specific grant opportunities, there's a great deal of useful information on grants and grantmakers in our database. GuideStar Plus users can use our site to seek out information on foundations.

For more advanced research, GuideStar's Grant Explorer service offers a database of information on more than 42,000 of the nation's largest foundations and more than 1.2 million grants. Grant Explorer is updated weekly and is priced with small nonprofits in mind. A yearly subscription is only $499 or you can try it out for $49 a month.

University-based research databases are a good source of information on grant opportunities for institutions of higher education. Specifically mentioned by newsletter readers were the Illinois Researcher Information Service (IRIS) and the Texas Research Administrators Group (TRAM). Although IRIS is a fee-based subscription service for universities and colleges only, TRAM offers free access to its database of funding opportunities.

If you're looking for government grants, you should probably be looking at government sites. Among the individual agency Web sites noted by newsletter readers were the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

For a more general overview of government grant opportunities, visit Grants.Gov. And an excellent starting point for any sort of government-related research is the First Gov portal.

State and regional associations sometimes provide localized information for grantseekers. Sites mentioned included the Minnesota Council on Foundations, the Michigan Nonprofit Association, and the Donors Forum of Chicago. To find the Web sites of your local associations, visit the National Council of Nonprofit Association (NCNA) or the Regional Associations of Grantmakers (RAG).

There are also Internet resources that focus on funding research for specific types of nonprofits. The Community of Science (COS) offers a subscription database of funding opportunities for research and development. The Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues Web site features a free database of organizations that fund lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender-related programs.

The Foundation Center has multiple free resources for grantseekers, including the Foundation Finder, Philanthropy News Digest, and a directory of grantmaker Web sites. The Foundation Directory Online is their fee-based subscription service for grant research.

Other resources for on-line grant research that were mentioned include:

  • Big Online
  • Chronicle of Philanthropy
  • Dun & Bradstreet
  • Federal Register
  • Grant Advisor
  • Grantmanship Center
  • GrantSelect
  • GrantStation
  • Hoover's
  • Lexis-Nexis

Thanks to all our newsletter readers who contributed resources. We hope this list of grant research sites helps connect all your organizations with the funding they need to continue their missions.

The preceding post is by Patrick Ferraro, editor of the GuideStar Newsletter.

Topics: Grants GuideStar Newsletter Nonprofits