There’s a free version called FDO Quick Start that will give you basic information on more than 100,000 foundations.
You can also use the full database and access Foundation Center materials at more than 400 libraries, community centers, and nonprofit resource centers. Use this location finder, enter your zip code, and you’ll find the Funding Information Network nearest you.
As of this writing, 3-month subscriptions start as $219. GrantStation will run promotional pricing on annual subscriptions from time to time.
Some organizations will offer GrantStation as a membership benefit. For instance, when you subscribe to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, an annual subscription to GrantStation is included at no extra charge.
And, of course, the reference librarian at your local library can help you find foundations and guide you on your grant writing journey
Okay, I found a foundation that looks like they might support our nonprofit. Now what?
Once you’ve identified a foundation that looks like it could be a good fit for your organization and its needs, you’re ready to begin your true research.
Before you start writing, here are some things you need to know about each foundation:
Does the foundation accept applications?
How do I apply?
When do I apply
How much should I request?
The first question is key. If the foundation doesn’t accept unsolicited applications – or you haven’t been invited to apply – then the rest of the questions are moot.
That last question is important, too. The biggest mistake I see grant writers make is asking for too much money from a single foundation. Far too many organizations ask for what they need, instead of what a foundation is likely to award.
There are two reasons why you want to ask a foundation for an amount that might be less than the total amount you need:
Most foundations don’t want to be your sole funding source, and very few foundations will fund an organization – or even a program – in its entirety.
The reality is that most grant awards are less than most people think.
It stands to reason that larger foundations will award larger grants, and smaller foundations will make smaller awards. But how large and how small?
Laura Rhodes is a fundraising consultant, speaker, and trainer. She’s raised millions of dollars for nonprofits via grant writing, fundraising planning, donor appeals, and customized trainings. She is the author of LetsTalkNonprofit.blog. Laura can help you find more funders, win more grants and raise more money for your nonprofit.