Foundation Directory Online Pricing: Which Plan is Best for You?

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November 2, 2022

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December 2, 2022

Before choosing a grant discovery platform, it is important to have a strong grasp of its pricing and different pricing tiers.

The following article will help you come to an in depth understanding of Foundation Directory Online’s pricing options and provide a comprehensive breakdown of what each subscription level offers, and if FDO will be worth it.

By the end, you will be familiar with which features are available at each subscription level and you will be able to determine which Foundation Directory Online pricing option will result in the greatest value for your nonprofit organization.

Let’s get started!

Foundation Directory Online's Pricing at a Glance

Price tag

Foundation Directory Online (FDO) is one of the most popular information databases available to U.S. based nonprofit organizations. It is a valuable resource for fundraising, providing insight into a plethora of U.S. based funders including foundations and corporate philanthropy.

FDO has two major plans to choose from: FDO Professional and FDO Essential.

FDO’s most popular annual plan is FDO Essential, which starts at $399/year or $758.00/two years for additional savings. These prices increase depending on the number of users needed to access the subscription.

For example, for a maximum of 10 users FDO essential is $3,272/year or $6,217/two years. For ease and flexibility, FDO also offers month to month payments at $49.99/month with the option to cancel at any time.

FDO Essential

For a more extensive plan, FDO also offers their FDO professional tier starting at $1,499/year or a monthly billing plan that starts at $199.99/month. FDO professional offers an extensive library of grantmakers and opportunities for nonprofit organizations to choose from.

FDO Professional

And if you’re currently working for a major institution, such as a large nonprofit or university, FDO has an option for that too!

FDO Enterprise is a customizable option that focuses on the complex needs of larger organizations who require several departments to access the platform and need more in depth information to drive fundraising strategies. The prices for FDO Enterprise vary based on specific needs of the organization.

FDO Enterprise

We will revisit each subscription level in more detail further along in the article.

Foundation Directory Online's Key Features

Key features

Now that you have a baseline understanding of Foundation Directory Online’s pricing structure, it is time to get acquainted with its most important aspect: its features!

FDO has a number of key features and functions, each of which align with a different subscription level. The following are just a couple of FDO’s tools that are available with a subscription to their platform, with certain features available only at specific subscription tiers—we will break down each tier later in the article!

1. Foundation Search and Grantmaker Profiles

FDO’s most comprehensive and arguably most valuable function is the grantmaker search feature. With the search feature, nonprofit organizations instantly get access to a variety of grantmakers, as well as grant opportunities, to support a myriad of different programs, projects, and needs.

FDO’s search feature retrieves information about thousands of prospective grantmakers including private and independent foundations, corporate foundations, U.S. federal funders, public charities, and international foundations.

What makes FDO’s search function so unique are the accessible maps and charts that help nonprofits identify grantmaking trends based on region. It also makes available trends and information about grant size so that nonprofits understand how to best focus their requests.

2. My FDO

FDO also allows users to keep track of prospect research through the platform's My FDO tool. Through My FDO users can access saved searches, favorites, tags, and alerts.

Additionally, the tool enables users to evaluate funders and keep track of tasks associated with prospecting and applying for opportunities via the Assessment Tool, which guides users through the evaluation process and helps identify if an opportunity is a good match.

My FDO tool

3. Access to Key Contacts

One of FDO’s most valuable features is its built-in LinkedIn integration, enabling users to access an expansive network of who’s who at notable foundations and grantmaking organizations.

This integration feature lists the names of key people and companies that serve crucial roles in the grantmaking space, including names and information on board members, trustees, and donors. This allows nonprofits to work on relationship building and strategies alongside the proposal process, leveraging these key contacts to develop stronger asks.

4. Searchable 990s

Sometimes during the prospecting process, it is necessary for nonprofit organizations to get into the nitty gritty details of a foundation or grantmaking organization.

For nonprofits who want to dig in and do more in depth research, FDO offers a database of searchable 990s—tax forms that most tax-exempt organizations are required to file on an annual basis and that help users learn more about a funder's detailed financials or giving history.

990s can provide insight into an organization’s total assets, a comprehensive list of the names and types of nonprofits the organization funds, and a list of top earners and executives at the organization, as well as a full list of the members of the organization’s board of directors.

5. Assessment Tool and Funder Evaluation

Through the Task function, FDO allows users to manage a variety of items that are necessary to secure a given grant, including a task assignment function, deadline tracker, progress tracker, and the ability to take notes and write comments associated with the opportunity.

The project tool gives users the ability to manage larger projects and fundraising efforts with multiple collaborators, tracking progress through the entirety of the work.

Moving forward, we will take an in-depth look at pricing and what is offered with each subscription plan with Foundation Directory Online. You can also explore FDO Discount code here.

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A Closer Look at Foundation Directory Online's Pricing Plans


Now that you have a stronger understanding of FDO’s key features and what the platform can offer your organization, we will now take a more in-depth look at Foundation DIrectory Online’s different pricing options.

Let’s dive in!

1. FDO Essential

FDO Essential is all about the basics.

FDO Essential provides organizations with the foundational elements of a grant discovery platform and grantmaker search tool.

FDO Essential provides access to:

  • Over 111,000 expanded grantmaker profiles in addition to searchable 990s and 990-PFs
  • Over 400,000 profiles of key decision makers and leaders including board members and trustees, executives, and key donors
  • MY FDO tool and its functions

While FDO Essential offers a variety of functions and features, it is still limited in its scope. The unique maps and charts that enable geographic searching capabilities are not included in this tier.

And in most cases, FDO Essential should only be utilized as a tool for organizations who are primarily focused on seeking information on private funders and grant opportunities. U.S. Federal grant opportunities are not made available with FDO Essential which means that thousands of opportunities will not be searchable or included in this subscription level.

However, FDO Essential can be a good option for smaller nonprofits looking for foundation and corporate giving opportunities and whose grants team consists of only a few professionals and writers. FDO Essential can support a modest team, up to 10 users.

FDO Essential is also most appropriate for organizations who are looking to get more insight into funders and not necessarily focused on discovering or identifying actual RFPs or funding opportunities.

Pricing for FDO Essential is as follows:

  • $758.00/two years or $31.58/month
  • $399.00/year or $33.25/month
  • $49.99 billed monthly with the option to cancel at anytime

2. FDO Professional

FDO Professional is the better option for nonprofit organizations who are looking to access more grantmaker profiles, tap into a bigger network of professionals and leaders, and focus on finding grant opportunities and RFPs.

With FDO Professional, organizations can tap into an even wider array of grantmakers, grant recipients, and notable contacts. This subscription tier opens organizations up to a network of:

  •  Over 242,000 expanded grantmaker profiles, including in-depth geographic maps and charts to get a specific look at grantmakers’ priorities and geographic focuses 
  • Over 2,300,000 recipient profiles 
  • 1,200,000 profiles on key decision makers and organization leaders 
  • A personalized My FDO platform formatted to direct organizations toward opportunities and funders who are best aligned to support the user’s needs
  • Over 24.8 million grant opportunities and RFPs, including U.S. federal grant opportunities.
FDO Professional

FDO Professional is for nonprofit organizations that have already built out a robust grant making program but want to tap into broader networks and diversify their revenue streams.

FDO Professional takes all the features available in FDO Essential and expands them, offering tools and resources that will support nonprofit organizations as they build on their grants program foundation, supporting more in-depth strategic fundraising processes.

With the addition of the U.S. federal grantmaking opportunities, this tier is also for organizations who are seeking consistent long-term funding to provide a strong basis of support for programs that provide public services, innovative research, or recovery initiatives. FDO Professional is designed for modest grant programs or development teams, supporting up to 10 users.

Pricing for FDO Professional is as follows:

  • $2,848.00/two years or $118.67/month
  • $1,499.00/year or $124.92/month
  • $199.99 bill monthly with the option to cancel at anytime

3. FDO Enterprise

For large nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, or foundations, FDO offers customizable pricing and features based on the needs, size, or objectives of the specific organization.

FDO Enterprise

FDO Enterprise taps into the features available in FDO Professional and makes them available to the user’s entire organization.

For organizations that have teams larger than 10 individuals, this subscription is ideal. It allows for user flexibility, opening features up to a broader fundraising team to consolidate organization processes and streamline fundraising initiatives.

This tier is especially great for major academic institutions such as universities, offering options for students to access the platform and search information on scholarships, fellowships, and student aid.

FDO Enterprise can also be customized to include cross collaboration and engagement with community networks including faculty researchers, development professionals, other nonprofits, and students.

Foundation Directory Online pricing at this tier is customized to specific organizations. You can contact FDO directly to receive a quote and begin the process of connecting your organization to their platform.

Is There a Better Foundation Directory Online Alternative?


Foundation Directory Online is a popular and widely utilized grant and foundation discovery platforms available to nonprofit organizations.

That being said, as you consider how to best support your organization’s fundraising initiatives, it is important to consider if there are alternatives to FDO that aid in grant research and management.

Instrumentl is one of the most comprehensive and advanced fundraising tools available today. Instrumentl gives grant writers, managers, and nonprofit professionals the ability to prospect, track, and manage grants all within one easy to use and intuitive tool.

Instrumentl positions organizations to tap into a vast network of grantmakers and uses smart matching to connect users with opportunities that are tailored to their unique mission, program, and needs.

Instrumentl also updates grant opportunities 24/7 to ensure users are connected with grantmakers that align with their fundraising priorities.

Instrumentl provides a robust assortment of features not included in FDO’s offerings, including:

  • 24/7 deadline reminders and updates
  • Intelligent matching to RFPs and funders
  • Tracking with enriched RFP and funder information including active notification of changes to RFP deadlines and changes in priorities
  • Easy to use workflows for efficient prospecting and collaboration between users
  • Active and current RFP data connected to grantmaker profiles

The platform also offers a search function specifically for grant opportunities, giving users the option to search RFPs by program or project type or focus (e.g. capacity building grants, grants for museums, etc.).

As a bonus, Instrumentl offers free resources to grant writers and professionals to develop their skills through blog posts, webinars, and more.


Instrumentl has several pricing options and subscriptions to meet the needs of different sized organizations and organizations with specific objectives. The cost of a basic plan with Instrumentl is $195/month. If users choose an annual plan, the cost is brought down to $179/month.

They also offer a guarantee for their Standard and Pro Plans ($299/month and $499/month respectively) allowing organizations to try out these levels for a month and if they decide to switch back at the end of the trial, Instrumentl will credit the unused Standard/Pro time toward the Basic subscription.

Like FDO, Instrumentl offers a customizable option for larger organizations including hospitals, universities, and large nonprofits with personalized features and full access to the platform for the entire organization. You can explore how FDO compares to Instrumentl, and then make an informed decision on which to choose.

Start your 14-day trial today to see how Instrumentl can help your organization grow and prosper!

Wrapping Up: Foundation Directory Online Pricing: Which Plan is Best for You?

Best price

Trying to decide between different grant discovery platforms and even different tiers can be a confusing process. We hope that the resources and analyses provided in this article will help you be able to decide which is best for your nonprofit.

Take what you have learned here when deciding what prospecting tools to utilize and start growing your fundraising program today!

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