The Best Grants Websites of 2024

Author:

Amelie Heurteux

,

Customer Success Manager at Instrumentl

Reviewed by:

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Published:

December 10, 2021

Last Updated:

January 16, 2024

There are a lot of websites out there that have databases of available grants for nonprofits in the United States. But some are more comprehensive than others. Likewise, some are free, offer a free trial, or are paid.  

Before we unpack them below, here are the best grant websites for nonprofits

Quick Summary

  1. Instrumentl — Best for researching and managing LOTS of grants all year round
  2. Foundation Directory Online — Best for quick grant searches
  3. GrantStation — Best for international grant searches
  4. GrantWatch — Best for small businesses and individuals looking for grants
  5. Grants.gov — Best for finding government RFPs finding grants for free
  6. Corporate Giving Websites — Best for finding grants from companies you know
  7. Community Foundation Websites — Best for small nonprofits

How To Choose Which Grant Website Is Right For You

Google isn’t great at providing you with new grant opportunities.

Google is not a good place for finding grants

That’s why grant websites exist

They help you weed through the many funding opportunities available to find the relevant ones.

Many grant websites are also platforms to manage your grants.

But how do you decide which one is for you? 

Consider these:

  1. Is it a comprehensive database of grants from government agencies, foundations, and corporations?
  2. Is the database regularly updated?
  3. Are there advanced search filters to narrow down the grants based on criteria such as funding amount, deadline, and eligibility requirements?
  4. Can you set up custom alerts to stay informed about new grant opportunities?
  5. Can you track your grant applications and update the status?
  6. Is the website easy to use?

What are the Best Grant Websites?‍

The table provides a brief comparison of the most widely used grant websites.

Table 1
Instrumentl Foundation Directory Online GrantStation GrantWatch
Pricing
$499 / mo
14-day free trial
$219.99  $179 $199
Popularity High High Moderate Moderate
Features Prospecting, tracking, management, reporting, 990 snapshot, access to 500,000 funders and 17,500+ active grant opportunities Funder profiles, recipient profiles, access to over 100,000 funders, access to 990s Funder profiles, project creation, additional education such as newsletters, webinars. Detailed grant information included pre-application workshop info, important dates

In addition to the paid platforms, there are free grant websites. 

  • Grants dot gov is a federal database of all grants from government agencies.
  • There are a plethora of foundation websites and corporate funders. Many don’t even have websites but are invite-only grant funders

Let’s unpack each of the grant websites in more detail.

Discover Your Next Grant

 
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1. Instrumentl

We’re biased, but we believe Instrumentl is the best grant website for nonprofits who have an established grant strategy. 

Instrumentl's grant tracker dashboard

You use Instrumentl across your entire grant lifecycle.

Instrumentl's grant tracker dashboard
  • If you want to… find grants, Instrumentl will instantly match you with hundreds of relevant and available grants. All you have to do is specify what kinds of grants you’re looking for.
  • If you want to… win grants, Instrumentl pulls insights about funders like their grant sizes, past grantees, causes they support, and other relevant information. We pull this all from 990 filings so you don’t have to go through years of filings to see if a funder is a good fit.
  • If you want to… manage awarded grants, Instrumentl makes it easy to track payments and integrate with your accounting tools to manage grant budgets.
  • If you want to… share grants with your team, Instrumentl lets you generate reports and share links to opportunities.
A sample of a funder's profile based on their previous 990 filings
Instrumentl provides insights on funders like their grant sizes, who they support, and how to stand out.

Instrumentl is your all-in-one grant management platform. 

Pricing: There is a 14-day free trial available. No credit card is required. If Instrumentl is right for you, after 14 days, you can decide to start one of three plans starting at $179.

“I have so many people ask me, ‘Holly, where is the best place to find grants and how do I manage them?’ and I will say, without a doubt, Instrumentl.” - Holly Rustick, Author, Grant Expert and Trainer

Popularity Among Nonprofits: Instrumentl started in 2014 so is newer than other platforms. But it’s now used by over 3,000 nonprofits and grant writing consultants. They love the accurate  and up-to-date database, deadline reminders, and the ability to save grants to a tracker. 

Features Offered: Instrumentl brings grant prospecting, tracking, and management to one place. There are easy tools for creating projects and smart matching features.

Key Financial Status

Instrumentl isn’t the cheapest option on the market. It’s a premium grant management tool for nonprofits who already have an established grant search strategy. If you want to centralize your grant work and not fight with spreadsheets, Instrumentl has become the go-to tool for medium to large nonprofits who want to grow their grant funding.

Learn why the investment is worthwhile through a 14-day free trial; no credit card is required. 

Types of Grants Listed: Instrumentl indexes opportunities from foundations, corporations,  government grants, and hidden invite-only funders.

After you tell us about your nonprofit, we will instantly match you with relevant grants. You can then filter them down.

Ease of Use: Instrumentl is known as the easiest grant platform to use because our interface is straightforward and not cumbersome.

Start Your Grant Search

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2. Foundation Directory Online

Foundation Directory Online can be a great resource if you are looking specifically for foundation funding.

Foundation Directory Online

Pricing: There are many public locations such as libraries that can provide you with free access. You can use the lookup feature to find a free access location near you. If you prefer to have access whenever and wherever you need it, you can get your membership starting at approximately $49.99/month.

Popularity Among Nonprofits: This grant research website is popular among nonprofits because free access is available and it provides information on many foundations that may not even have their own websites. The database offers insight into as many as 225,000 different funders depending on your subscription level.

Features Offered: Foundation Directory Online provides helpful features such as keyword searching, linking to 990s, and information on work that has previously been funded by the foundation.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Types of Grants Listed: When analyzing the types of grants listed, this database ranks a little lower because it only includes foundations.

Ease of Use: The database allows you to set up a recipient profile and then search for matches. You can then view the funder profile which provides many details on the foundations including contacts.

If you’re exploring FDO vs. Instrumentl, you may find this page useful.

3. GrantStation

GrantStation ranks pretty well based on pricing and popularity, and is primarily used for simple searches.

GrantStation

Pricing: The annual cost for a GrantStation membership is $699/year, but there are many ways to receive discounted pricing. Many nonprofit associations partner with GrantStation to provide discounts and you can receive a free membership to GrantStation if you subscribe to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Popularity Among Nonprofits: We found that GrantStation is popular among nonprofits based on the fact that nonprofit associations choose to partner with GrantStation and provide a discounted membership.

Features Offered: In addition to relatively straightforward keyword search options,  they provide high-level funder profiles that include current funding priorities, grant guidelines, application deadlines, and even specific notes about certain funders.

You can see an example funder profile below:

GrantStation

Instrumentl provides much more robust foundation profiles. Here is the link to the same exact funder on Instrumentl. Notice how Instrumentl gives insights to grant amounts, past grantees, openness to new grantees and more while GrantStation does not have this capability. To learn more about the differences between GrantStation and other grant tools, go here.

GrantStation also provides additional training opportunities, blog posts, a newsletter, and more.

Types of Grants Listed: GrantStation lists all types of grants from foundations, to corporations, to government grants.

Ease of Use: GrantStation is fairly simple to use and offers keyword search options. Their funder profiles give a starting place for your searches but you’ll likely need to do more digging to truly understand whether a funder is a good fit or not. They also provide a snapshot of the funding opportunity as well as links to funder websites and resources.

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4. GrantWatch

GrantWatch offers a decent combination of features at an affordable price point. Similar to GrantStation, it’s an okay place to start a grant prospecting process, but does not have very robust features beyond that.

GrantWatch

Pricing: GrantWatch requires a paid subscription to complete searches which costs $199/year if paid annually.

Popularity Among Nonprofits: This particular grant website is relatively popular among nonprofits due to them being founded in 2010.

Features Offered: GrantWatch offers features including information about pre-application workshops, funding amounts of previous grants, and the number of awards within this database.

Types of Grants Listed: They also rank highly because their grant research database is a comprehensive search engine option for finding a variety of foundation, corporation, and government grants.

Ease of Use: This database ranks okay for ease of use because you can search for opportunities that match your needs through keyword searching and they link to funder websites. That said, the user interface may feel a bit dated and clunky to navigate as you work through it.

Here is a screenshot from their site listing out the key features of the grant database.

GrantWatch Subscriber Benefits

Related: Compare GrantWatch to Instrumentl

5. Grants.gov

Grants.gov is a great resource for government grants. The website includes a database of all federal and some state-level grant opportunities for a variety of entities.

Grant.gov

Pricing: The website is free to access. Since it’s free, you may find you’ll need to sift through the site to identify the best opportunities for you.

Popularity Among Nonprofits: This database is popular among nonprofits specifically for government grants.

Features Offered: The grant database includes keyword search options to help you find funding aligned with your work. You can access RFPs for all funding opportunities and link to the application documents through this website as well.

Types of Grants Listed: Grants.gov only lists government grants, but it will provide the most on these types of funding opportunities.

Ease of Use: This website can be a bit cumbersome and is easier to use if you already know what you are looking for.

6. Corporate Giving Websites

A corporation or corporate giving website is a great place to start if you’re looking for corporate grants.

Pricing: These websites will be free of charge. Since it’s free, you’ll likely need to spend more time sifting through relevant and irrelevant information.

Popularity Among Nonprofits: Corporation and corporate giving websites are relatively popular among nonprofits when searching specifically for corporate grants.

Features Offered: These websites will provide specifics on funding priorities, contacts at the funder, and typically link directly to the application if they accept online applications. The site may also include information on past work which the corporation has funded.

Types of Grants Listed: A corporation or corporate giving site will only provide information on corporate funding opportunities.

Ease of Use: These websites are typically easy to use with direct information about funding and links to applicable information.

To give you an idea of what you might find on a corporate giving website, here is a screenshot from the Wells Fargo Foundation.

Corporate Giving Websites

Another good example is Walmart Giving. We have included a screenshot of their giving programs and there are many other good resources on their website.

Corporate Giving Websites

7. Community Foundation Websites

Websites for a community foundation in your community, region, or state can be a great resource for more localized funding opportunities.

Pricing: These websites are free to access and search for grants.

Popularity Among Nonprofits: Community foundation websites are very popular among nonprofits looking for local or regional funding opportunities.

Features Offered: These types of websites will provide information on specific funding opportunities, details on past giving, funding timelines, funder contacts, and may provide links to online application portals.

Types of Grants Listed: A community foundation website will only provide information on their own local or regional funding opportunities.

Ease of Use: These types of grant websites will be relatively easy to use because they only have information specific to a few funding opportunities.

One example of a community foundation is the North Carolina Community Foundation. They offer funding at the state and regional level, as well as operating affiliate foundations in many North Carolina Counties.

One example of a county affiliate is the Wayne County Community Foundation.  If you are not aware of a community foundation in your area, you may be able to find them through a simple internet search. You could also reach out through your nonprofit association to learn if there is a community foundation nearby that funds your locale.

Here is a screenshot of previously funded work from the Wayne County Community Foundation.


Grant Website FAQs

1. What is the best free grant website?

If you’re looking for the best grant website at no cost to you, look no further than starting with Instrumentl’s 14-day free trial. Instrumentl is a truly comprehensive grant database for nonprofits. You can search, track, and collaborate all in one place. The combination of these features makes Instrumentl the best website for grants.

Instrumentl’s search features include smart matching which will help you identify grant opportunities for a specific project quickly. You can learn how Instrumentl compares to other grant search engines through the footer here. The 14-day free trial will provide you access to the full grant database so that you can begin your grant search.

Here is a screenshot of the project setup tool that helps you search for matches aligned directly with your work:

Grant Website FAQs

2. Are there websites that also report on funders with bad reputations?

If you are looking for information about the reputation of a specific funder, then GrantAdvisor is a great resource. The website compiles reviews about foundations that are submitted by organizations that have worked with the funder or have some knowledge of the funder. You can use these reviews to learn tips and tricks and the database also compiles a score for the funder based on the reviews.

Here is a screenshot to show a couple of examples of the reviews provided on this site.

Are there websites that also report on funders with bad reputations

These types of reviews are a great way to gain insight into details about the funder that you may not find in your general search efforts.

3. How long should a short-list of potential funders be?

The length of your “short-list” of potential funders will depend on your organization and the work that you are seeking to fund. You will want to make sure that you have identified prospects with true potential while keeping the list short enough that you can do further research.

Your deeper research into potential funders will likely weed out a few more from this list, so depending on the amount of funding that you need and your potential prospects, we recommend a short-list of five to ten potential funders.

You need to keep in mind the capacity of your fundraising team as you will be doing further research on these funders to determine which applications you will complete. If you are a small shop, then five potential funders is a good amount.

4. Is there a limit to how many grants a nonprofit can apply for?

There is no limit on the number of grants that a nonprofit can apply for, but you need to keep in mind your organizational capacity. Each application takes time to complete, especially if you are completing a truly competitive and well-written application.

You also have to make sure that you can comply with all grant requirements for each grant that you are awarded. Many funders will require specific reports and you will need to track expenses and complete the proposed work.

It is also important that you do not receive more funds than you can use, because most funders will require you to show expenditures and you will be required to return unused funds.

Wrapping Up: The Best Grants Websites

We have provided you with insights regarding the best grant websites to help you in your grant research. We hope that you have found the information we have provided useful and now feel better prepared to search for grants to support your work. It is important to utilize grant research websites when conducting your grant research so that you can maximize your efforts.

We recommend you check us out as the best website to prospect, track and manage your grants. Just create a 14-day free trial here.

Our unique matching algorithm has matched thousands of nonprofits with new good fit funders, enabling them to expand their mission and community impact.

Amelie Heurteux

Amelie Heurteux

Amelie Heurteux, a Customer Success Manager at Instrumentl, works day in and day out training nonprofits and grant writers how to efficiently prospect new funders and streamline their grant tracking and management processes.

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