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Best Free Grant Research Tools

Grants can be an important part of a nonprofit’s integrated funding strategy. After your organization is grant ready, then it is time for grant research.


Getting Started

If you are not sure where to start, go to your public library. The main branch of your local library will have the databases mentioned here and more. Librarians will be glad to help with your research and there may even be free classes offered.


Research is ongoing because foundations are not static. They change their areas of interest, their application procedures, and some spend down their funds and close their doors. It is important to update your records periodically.


The Foundation Center and GuideStar have merged and are now under the Candid banner, a nonprofit comprehensive research database.


Start with local foundations and, if possible, meet with a program officer. You want to cultivate them as you would any donor. Research regional and national foundations that support your type of nonprofit and your geographic area.


GrantStation is a for-profit research database that also provides information on government grant opportunities. Membership is required to access their services. Members of Grant Professionals Association (GPA) and users of GrantHub have free access to GrantStation.


The Grantsmanship Center provides training and publications to help organizations secure and manage grants.


Other state -level resources can be found HERE 


Finding Government Grants


If you are looking for federal, state, or local government grants, go to, a searchable database of current grant funding opportunities in areas like housing, education, arts, humanities, sciences, and more. Some state and federal funding is awarded to cities and counties that have their own funding systems. Get to know your local elected officials and make sure they know about your organization and the work you do for the community.


Keep in mind that federal grant writing is quite different from writing for foundations. Because of the complexity involved in securing and administering government grants, some grant writers and grant managers specialize in this area.



Michelle Crim, CFRE


Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching, grant writing, and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in small to mid-size organizations because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.


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