skip to content

Knowledge Base

How do I find grants for my nonprofit?

The process of finding grants typically begins with prospect research. Foundations generally give based on subject and geographic region, so look for funders whose interests match your organization's mission, programs, populations served, and locations served. 

Please note that foundations generally give to nonprofits with 501(c)(3) status. If you don’t have exempt status, first consider finding a nonprofit to work with or to act as your fiscal sponsor. These might help you qualify for more funding opportunities. To learn more, please see our articles on fiscal sponsorship.

Foundation Directory Online (FDO) is Foundation Center's searchable database that provides an unsurpassed level of comprehensive and accurate information on grantmakers and their grants. You can search based on field of interest/subject, geography, grantmaker type, type of support, trustee names, and many other search fields. See a sample record.

The FDO homepage also lets you explore funding trends by subject category and location. For example, you can see what has happened to the level of funding for health in Florida since 2008.  Recent years are estimates since data collection is still in progress. You can read more about data lag time here.

To use it from your own computer, you can choose from two subscription plans that you can renew by the month or year. You can also use it for free at one of our 400+ locations worldwide. 

We also offer these free online resources for finding grants:

Keep track of your prospects

The amount of information you will collect will grow quickly! If you subscribe to FDO, its Workspace features can help you manage your prospects.

If you'd rather save your research externally, here's a prospect worksheet to help you keep track of your information or to help you create your own system. If you're looking for software options, Idealware offers reports and articles on choosing a donor management system.

New to finding funders?

Start learning now with Introduction to Finding Grants, available for free as a live/recorded webinar or an in-person class.

Watch the recorded version now in the YouTube window below, or see its Course Page for more details and upcoming live dates and locations.


See also our related Knowledge Base articles on:


- Corporations

- Writing grant proposals

- Government funding

Have a question about this topic? Ask us!

The Foundation Center's Ask Us service is available 24/7 to answer your questions related to starting a nonprofit, finding grants, or other fundraising and management queries.

Ask Us Now! >>

Selected resources below may also be helpful.

We Recommend

Books & Articles

Click on book covers to get more info and buy them on Amazon. Find more books & articles.

Find in FC libraries
Find in nearby libraries
Find in FC libraries
Find in nearby libraries
Find in FC libraries
Find in nearby libraries

Web Sites

* indicates staff pick

Books and Articles

Check title availability at our libraries and Funding Information Network locations or your local libraries.

Rate Content

You don't have access to rate this page.

Log in or create a user account to rate this page.

Average Rating (7 votes cast):
  • Currently 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!