Foundation Directory Online vs. GrantHub: In-Depth Analysis & Review

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February 8, 2023

Last Updated:

March 3, 2023

If you work in nonprofit fundraising, you know grant discovery platforms like Foundation Directory Online and GrantHub Pro.

But between Foundation Directory Online’s database and GrantHub’s tracking features, how do you know which of these is the best for your specific nonprofit?

Below, we compare Foundation Directory Online to GrantHu. We review: 

  • Top features 
  • Pricing plans
  • Customer reviews 
  • And how they stack up against top alternatives

By the end, you should have enough insight to decide which is the right tool for your organization.

Foundation Directory Online vs. GrantHub Features Compared

First things first—let’s take a look at FDO and GrantHub’s top features. We will specifically look at: 

  • How well they help you identify RFPs and good-fit funders 
  • Their grant management and tracking features 
  • Whether they allow for easy collaboration with your team 

Foundation Directory Online Features

Finding RFPs and Good-fit funders: 

Here’s an example profile from FDO for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

A part of Candid, Foundation Directory Online’s extensive funder database is considered one of its major selling points.

Their database includes funder profiles (such as the one pictured above) with basic information pulled from 990s, such as a funder’s past grant sizes or past grantee locations. Depending on your subscription level, you’ll have access to over 300,000 grantmaker profiles. 

With that being said, it’s clear that FDO’s focus is on these funder profiles, and less so on active grant opportunities. 

FDO’s listings of active RFPs are incredibly limited, meaning users might have to do additional research outside of the platform to find active grant opportunities. And because users have to search for RFPs manually within the platform, it could take some time to dig through all of the results before you come across one that’s worth pursuing. 

To learn more about how you can improve your grant research strategy check out this post on our blog.

Grant Tracking and Management: 

FDO’s tools mostly cover the pre-award stage of the grant lifecycle. While they do offer some grant management features, they aren’t robust and lack some key functionality.  

Through their My FDO dashboard, users can:

  • Track submitted grants
  • Keep a contact list
  • Assign tasks
  • Store notes

As of now, FDO’s strengths remain primarily with grant discovery. They don’t offer automatic deadline reminders or the ability to track your grant pipeline across all stages. FDO users will likely have to invest in separate management tools to keep track of their different grants.


‍Unfortunately, FDO offers very limited collaboration features, which can make working together as a team difficult or even impossible.

While My FDO Dashboard allows users to assign tasks to other teammates, to access the dashboard, each user must have an individual license. Collaboration between teammates is extremely limited because of this. 

However, the Dashboard does allow users to pull reports into a PDF that you can share with your organization’s team and stakeholders. 

GrantHub Features

Finding RFPs and Good-fit funders: 

Discover New Grants and Funding

Part of Foundant Technologies, GrantHub will often be featured high on lists of grant management platforms.

Though GrantHub is well regarded by its users, it would be misleading to call it a grant discovery platform since its search features are limited. As they rely on GrantStation and GuidesStar for the information provided in their funder profiles, their database is not built with the goal of finding new leads.

Grant Tracking and Management:

That being said, while GrantHub’s discovery features may leave a lot to be desired, its tracking and management ones are much more helpful.

GrantHub’s tracker can help keep you on top of your work while you monitor multiple applications at once. You can easily create tasks, manage your to-do list, and see what you have looming on the horizon and adjust your strategy accordingly.

And a practical grants calendar also helps you keep up-to-date on your tasks all in one place.


GrantHub’s system permits for up to 35 users to work together online in a single account. You can assign tasks to each other, see how your work is progressing, and send automated emails so that everyone is on the same page.

Another great feature that GrantHub provides is a library that lets you keep, organize, and retrieve all of your grant-related documents easily.

GrantHub also provides users with pre-built templates that facilitate reporting, and those can be exported into PDF, Excel, and print.

Foundation Directory Online vs. GrantHub Pricing Compared

Now that we’ve analyzed the features of both Foundation Directory Online and GrantHub, it is time to compare their pricing plans to see whether they are worth the investment and fit within your organization’s budget. 

Foundation Directory Online Pricing

FDO offers three different subscriptions. Each of them offer different perks and vary in value. 

Out of the three subscription types, the most affordable is the Essential one.

FDO Essential comes with access to over 150,000 grantmaker profiles and is $37.42/month if paid annually and $54.99/month if paid monthly. Because the monthly plan can be canceled at any time, it is the most flexible.

Then comes their Professional subscription.

The Professional plan comes with access to over 300,000 grantmaker profiles and is $133.25/month if paid annually and $219.99/month if paid monthly. You also get access to recipient profiles as well as helpful funder maps and charts. 

Their last subscription is the Enterprise one, which is reserved for foundations, academic institutions, and other types of large organizations.

If you are thinking about this option, FDO will provide you with a quote based on your specific needs.

GrantHub Pricing

GrantHub offers two different subscription models—one with their pre-award grant management features and one with both their pre- and post-award grant management features. 

  • For just pre-award grant management, the price is $95/month. 
  • For both pre- and post-award grant management, the price is $349/month 

For more insight into whether GrantHub makes sense for your nonprofit financially, check out this guide: Is GrantHub Worth It?

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What are Customers Saying About Foundation Directory Online and GrantHub?

Customer Ratings

Now that we’ve compared FDO and GrantHub’s features and pricing, we’ll look at what actual customers have to say about these two platforms.

Foundation Directory Online User Reviews

When averaging the 42 reviews available on FDO’s page on G2, FDO scores 4.2/5 stars.

Foundation Directory Online User Reviews

This long-time user not only remarks on the way FDO’s services have vastly improved over the decades, but also on its system’s user-friendliness. When paired with in-depth information, this accessibility is what helps the research process go so much faster without sacrificing the quality of results.

That being said, his point about pricing was echoed by other equally happy customers, making one wonder whether FDO should offer additional grant management features in order to make it truly worth it.

This sentiment can also be seen in FDO’s review page on Trust Radius.

Foundation Directory Online User Reviews

Once more, we see an emphasis on FDO’s user-friendly interface and the quality of information provided. Being able to search through such an extensive database in order to discover new funding opportunities is what makes this platform such a great resource for nonprofits.

GrantHub User Reviews

When averaging out the nine reviews on GrantHub’s page on G2, the platform scores 4.3/5 stars.

GrantHub User Reviews

Most users seem incredibly happy with GrantHub’s tracking features. Their tools helped them optimize their workflow so they could more efficiently get their tasks done. This is especially useful when multiple people are working together on the same project.

However, there were concerns raised regarding GrantHub’s accessibility. While many find it easy-to-use, others mentioned not understanding some of GrantHub’s definitions, having trouble with the clunky website, and other small bugs that—though they did not render the platform unusable—were annoying to deal with.

GrantHub User Reviews

Grant Hub reviewers in Software Advice follow this same pattern.

GrantHub User Reviews

While GrantHub’s customer support team is praised for its great work, and while the features help with every aspect of the grant tracking and management process, ease of use and functionality are cited as GrantHub’s main weaknesses.

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Is There a Better FDO or GrantHub Alternative? Instrumentl Explained

Here’s a quick summary of what we’ve learned so far:

  • Foundation Directory Online is a great database with informative funder profiles that helps users learn more about foundations and their giving priorities.
  • GrantHub optimizes the grant tracking and management process so that it is less overwhelming, helping users craft better strategies while keeping their entire teams on task.

Both platforms can be good resources, but they each only help with half of the grant proposal journey.

This is where Instrumentl comes in. Highly regarded by professional grant writers and consultants alike, not only does Instrumentl combine the best of FDO and GrantHub, it does so while building upon their existing features.

Below, we’ll break down what Instrumentl has to offer.

Finding New RFPs & Good-Fit Funders

Like FDO, Instrumentl has a comprehensive and highly curated database of foundation profiles. 

However, Instrumentl goes beyond FDO to provide 990 Snapshots that are informative and easy-to-read, providing insight into: 

  • Giving patterns
  • Openness to New Grantees
  • Key Contacts
  • Average and median grant amounts
  • Giving by NTEE codes
  • Past grantees


Instrumentl’s 990 Snapshots are easy to read and full of valuable funder insights. 

These snapshots make it easy to evaluate funder fit and determine how competitive your grant application would be. 

What really sets Instrumentl apart is that it also connects users to active RFPs using Smart Matching technology. 

Rather than having to search its database manually, Instrumentl allows users to set up “Projects” where they input their funding needs, area of focus, location, and more. Instrumentl will then analyze its database of over 15,000 active RFPs to deliver a list of curated, good-fit matches based on these criteria. ‍

Instrumentl’s Smart Matching system is the easiest way to find good-fit grants fast. 

These personalized recommendations for active grant opportunities streamline the prospecting process and make it easy to narrow in on the most relevant grants. 

Grant Tracking & Management 

Like GrantHub, Instrumentl’s tracking features maximize efficiency. It’s intuitive workspace keeps everything in one place while also giving you the flexibility to create and manage multiple projects at varying stages.

Instrumentl’s Grant Tracker keeps everything organized and accessible in a single dashboard. 

Once you save a grant within Instrumentl, it will automatically be added to your Grant Tracker. From here, you’ll be able to see each grant’s: 

  • Deadline
  • Status
  • Amount 
  • Tasks
  • Notes 

If a funder makes any changes to their priorities or their deadlines, Instrumentl will email you notifications so you can adapt your strategy accordingly.

And once you win a grant, Instrumentl also provides users with comprehensive Awards features to help with compliance, reporting, budgeting, and more. 

Instrumentl’s Awards features make it easy to manage your funding and maintain compliance. 

Collaboration & Reporting

Because Instrumentl understands that teamwork is the key to success, its platform was built to facilitate collaboration.

Instrumentl’s multi-user access means your entire team can work within the platform at once.

Assigning tasks in Instrumentl keeps your whole team accountable and on the same page. 

Not only can you easily assign tasks to different individuals, your team also has the ability to store documents in a shared library so that you no longer need to email each other constantly looking for files.

All of your grant-related documents are easily accessible in Instrumentl’s document library. 

You can also easily create reports by exporting your pipeline into CSV and PDF files. 

Customer Testimonials

Given all of these features, it is no wonder that users who tried Instrumentl are so happy with its service. When looking at its review page on G2, the 128 reviews average to a score of 4.9/5 stars.

Instrumentl users are happy with both their ability to find new funding opportunities faster and to then manage their applications with greater efficiency.

Users also state that Instrumentl has helped them boost their fundraising efforts. Having all of these tools in one place helped set Instrumentl apart from other platforms.


Here’s what Dr. Bev Browning, Author, Grant Consultant & Coach at Bev Browning LLC had to say:

“I started using Instrumentl and thought - oh my gosh, this is a miracle! This is going to save me weeks! It just does everything for me. I insert the keywords, set up a project, and it magically shows me the most relevant funding matches.”

You can check out even more success stories here.

Wrapping Up: Foundation Directory Online vs. GrantHub: In-Depth Analysis & Review

Fundraising can be difficult and overwhelming. When all you want to do is save the world, it can be easy to resent the time spent searching and applying for new grants. That’s why it’s so important to find the right platform that allows you to find and win grants faster so that you can go back to furthering your mission.

While Foundation Directory Online and GrantHub are great resources, Instrumentl combines their best features into an easy-to-use platform.

See for yourself why Instrumentl is the best value grant discovery platform by signing up for a free 14 day trial today.

Instrumentl team

Instrumentl team

Instrumentl is the all-in-one grant management tool for nonprofits and consultants who want to find and win more grants without the stress of juggling grant work through disparate tools and sticky notes.

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