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Quick, Free Way to Find Grants That Fit Your Nonprofit

Posted on 14th March 2011 by Gray Digital
By Admin |March 14th, 2011

I hope that this information is old news to you.  But, if not, it’s time that you were let in on the secret.

Where do you go to find a list of foundations that may be interested in giving your organization a grant?

You may have to look no further than the local library.

If you’re the type who has had an aversion to the library since the 2rd grade, you may finally want to return that overdue Berenstain Bears book or just pay the $436 late fee.  It will be worth it.

You’ll have access to the Foundation Directory Online.  It’s an easy-to-use, super-powered search engine that gives you the ability to sift through over 100,000 grantmakers to get straight to the ones that will fit your organization.   Plus, you can access it for free from selected libraries.  You could spend less than an hour at the library and come away with a year’s worth of relevant grantwriting opportunities.

This database is maintained by the Foundation Center, a Nonprofit that is a leading source on philanthropy worldwide.  The Foundation Center has 5 locations in the U.S that serve as learning centers and libraries for Nonprofits.

When I visited the Foundation Center library in DC, the Reference Librarian, Katrina Brown, was extremely knowledgeable and took the time to show me how to use the Foundation Directory Online.   As Trina walked me through the use of the Power Search feature on the directory, she pointed out how to search for foundation grants in several ways.

As a test case, I decided to research grants by foundations who give in Virginia and DC to prevent homelessness.   The search form let me input all the requirements based on my test case profile.  The form even gave me the option to exclude foundations who were not taking in any new grant applicants.

The results of the search showed a list of foundations and grant programs specifically geared toward helping the homeless in the DC Metro area and Virginia.   I could drill down into the search results to see upcoming grants, requirements, and deadlines.  I could also access historic donation and recipient information going back several years along with interactive giving maps and donation charts for the foundations.

There was so much good information that I really felt like I would have an inside track to getting the grant.

When I got back to my office, I could not resist the temptation to see how another search engine would compare to the Foundation Center’s online directory.   So I went to Google and typed in “grants+Virginia+DC+homeless shelters”.  I got back 137,000 results.  And…. at least on the first page, the results were mostly excerpts from news articles.  This information was fairly useless.  I would have had to wade through a lot of links to find anything worthwhile.

While Google is a powerful tool, it’s not really designed for such a narrow search.

The Foundation Directory Online is free if you can make it to one of the 450 plus locations across the country.  To find one, you can click here.  By the way, you can get a monthly subscription that lets you access the directory from your home or office.   There are different price plans that you can get if you contact the Foundation Center directly.

Either way, the Foundation Directory Online is a great resource for Nonprofits looking for new sources of funding and is well worth checking out.


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