The Best Government Grant Search Engines

Author:

Melissa Branthaver

,

Communications professional

Reviewed by:

Published:

May 16, 2024

Last Updated:

May 16, 2024

Government grants can be like the holy grail of funding. They’re often large, span multiple years, and consistent.

With that being said, filtering through all the noise to locate the best-fit government grants for your nonprofit can be a challenge.

The solution? Using government grant search engines to help you narrow down your search.

In this article, we’ll cover a list of the best places to find government grants—whether on the federal, state, or even local level. We’ll also provide tips along the way to make sure you’re maximizing your efforts to find the best opportunities for your organization.

Sound good? Let’s jump right in!

Grants.gov

Grants.gov is the official grants database for the United States government, offering a comprehensive repository for all federal funding opportunities.


When compared to other grant databases, Grants.gov’s search engine may seem clunky and overwhelming. However, if you are looking for a single source of truth for all federal funding opportunities, you will find it on Grants.gov.

Grants.gov offers a comprehensive grant database of all federal funding opportunities.

You can browse the database without registering. However, you must have an account to apply. To get started, you should complete the following steps. They will help streamline the application process:

  1. Register on SAM.gov, which is the website for the System for Award Management. You must have an account here to do any business with the U.S. government—including receiving grants.
  2. Obtain a Login.gov login, which is a single-sign-on solution for all U.S. government websites. Having this account will make it easy to log into all government platforms when searching and applying for grants.
  3. Apply for a UEI number, or unique entity identifier. This is similar to a tax ID number. It’s provided by the U.S. government to identify organizations that are eligible to receive federal grants, awards, and other contracts. 

Once you’ve registered, you can start locating funding opportunities. There are thousands of opportunities available on the site, so it can be difficult to navigate. Consider the following tips.

  • Subscribe to department newsletters to be notified of funding opportunities in your area of work. If there are specific agencies you want to work with, check regularly for opportunities.
  • Narrow your focus. Use keywords or category filters to only show opportunities that you are interested in. You aren’t going to qualify for opportunities for literacy programs if your nonprofit is a food bank.
  • Location matters. Federal, state, and local grants are available, so make sure that you are considering opportunities that you are geographically eligible to apply for.

The U.S. Department of State allows you to sign up for their newsletter for updates.

State-Level Grant Resources

Government grants are also offered on the state level.

Unlike the federal government, centralized government grant search engines aren’t typically available at the state level. There are a handful like New York or California that have a streamlined search engine, but these are the exception, not the rule.


What this means is that you’ll need to search government departmental websites individually in your state to see what funding opportunities are available.

Usa.gov is an official website that helps make government services easier to find, including state departments, benefits, and programs.

Usa.gov can help grantseekers locate departments within their state that may be offering funding.

All you need to do is select or enter your state and hit go. The site will auto-populate the different state government departments, and you can navigate to their individual websites to identify if there are any funding opportunities available.

For example, you can see the state agencies that are in Arkansas. They are linked, and you can click into each to see what funding opportunities are available, if any.


As you identify state grants, you should keep the following key considerations in mind:

  • Location: As long as you operate within the state, you should qualify for the state grants, but make sure to read the fine print.
  • Purpose: Make sure your nonprofit’s mission and work aligns with the grant’s focus area. This will give you a better shot at landing the grant.

Community Impact: Lastly, you want to ensure that you’re able to make the impact in the specific community or focus area.

Find Your Next Grant

17K Live Grants on Instrumentl

150+ Grants Added Weekly

+3k NonprofitsNew matchesTry Instrumentl free for 14 days

Local Government Funding Opportunities

You can even drill down funding opportunities at a more granular level, with many cities and counties offering funding opportunities within their local communities.

When you’re looking for local government funding opportunities, start by searching for the city or county that you operate in online.

For example, DuPage County has a general website, and within it, they share information on the Small Nonprofit Grant Program, as well as other funding opportunities that are available.


Local funding opportunities will vary, so you need to stay vigilant if you’re hoping to secure a local grant. Here are some tips:

  • Subscribe to your city or county’s news releases. Their PR departments love sharing these opportunities because it shows how they’re investing in the community.
  • Keep tabs on local government websites. Make it a monthly occurrence to browse your department sites, local community social media, and more.
  • Note older deadlines or funding opportunities. If they’ve offered opportunities before, chances are they will do so again at a similar time, so keep an eye out.

Pro Tip: Depending on the size of your town or county, you can also reach out to local officials to see if there are new opportunities on the horizon. Never underestimate the power of networking.

Want to get better at grants?

Join 10K+ grant pros already receiving our 5-minute free newsletter, packed with grant strategies, networking events and new funding opportunities.

Get access to weekly advice and grant writing templates

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

10k+ grant writers have already subscribed

Instrumentl

Instrumentl is a fantastic government grant search engine. While it’s known for locating foundation grants, it’s also a powerful resource when it comes to locating federal, state, and local funding opportunities.

Instead of having to search various websites, Instrumentl curates a list of government grants for you based on your mission and funding needs.


When creating your saved search, simply select that you would like to see grants from “State/local government”.


Instrumentl will then analyze its entire database of more than 15,000 active funding opportunities to match you with the most relevant government grants.
It’s that easy!


Once you’ve received your list of matches, you can filter them by location, funder type, and more to narrow in on the very best fits.


You can find a more detailed breakdown in this helpful guide: State and Local Government Grants: How to Find Them Fast.

Instrumentl pulls everything together in one location, making it easy for you to find, track, and manage government grants through the entire grant lifecycle.

GrantStation

We believe that Instrumentl is the best resource out there, but it’s not the only grant research and management platform. There are other databases that can help you find government funding, such as GrantStation.


GrantStation
helps nonprofits locate funding opportunities, but how does it stack up when it comes to government funding?

  • It features all programs that are being offered by the U.S. federal government that are listed on Grants.gov. These will populate within the search.
  • It will list agencies by state that offer grants and loans; however, it does not populate those opportunities within the platform.
  • It does not offer local, city, or county funding opportunities.

GrantStation also does not provide information on current opportunities or RFPs, which means that you still need to go to the funder’s website to see if the grant is active and accepting submissions.

When it comes to a government grant search engine, there are better options out there—including Instrumentl.

Think Outside the Box When Shaping Your Funding Strategy

When searching for government funding, don’t limit yourself to just the official websites—get creative!

For example, libraries qualify for FEMA money because they are often a centralized location for emergency preparedness. Infrastructure grants can go toward community agencies who are accessed often, including healthcare nonprofits or farmers markets.

Additionally, you can partner with other nonprofits that share or complement your mission so you can be ready and increase your competitive edge for government grants. Proactively reach out to potential partners so you can be ready when collaborative grant opportunities arise.

For more tips and insights on how you can find federal government grants, check out this guide: Federal Government Grants: How to Find Them Fast.

Ensure You’re Government Grant-Ready

Government grants are fantastic, but they often come with a greater commitment, especially when it comes to compliance requirements.

Patricia Davis, CEO of Grants Works, a government grant consulting firm, offered insight on making sure you’re government grant-ready in her webinar Government Grants 101:

“Government grant readiness is a journey. And there are no shortcuts. Government grant readiness is not something that you will just have—it takes time to plan it out, implement as a team, and then determine.”


You need to make sure you’re ready to meet the requirements head-on before you apply for funding.
You can set yourself up for success by following these basic steps Davis outlined in her webinar to ensure you’re government grant ready.

  1. Make sure your business requirements are up to date, including your 501(c)3 status, articles of incorporation, employer identification number, and login.gov account.
  2. Evaluate your financial management system, ensuring you have the proper policies, procedures, and structures in place to meet future reporting requirements.
  3. Evaluate your programs, taking a step back to look at how you’re measuring success, collecting data, reporting outcomes, and more.
  4. Evaluate grant management processes and infrastructure, which will allow you to review requirements, plot out deadlines, and assign milestones to keep all on track.
  5. Train your team, empowering them to own end-to-end grant management and stay compliant to avoid misuse of federal funds.

One of the best ways that you can prepare is to review federal compliance requirements. This will help you know what is expected once you land the grant, and you can work backwards to make sure you have the infrastructure in place beforehand.

Wrapping Up

A government grant search engine can help you locate federal, state, and local government funding opportunities. You can find these opportunities on individual websites, but that can be time-consuming, complex, and confusing.

Instrumentl makes it easy to locate government funding opportunities in one place, allowing you to set up projects and filter your search results to best target the government grants you are looking for.

Ready to see how Instrumentl can help you land your next government grant? Sign up for a free, 14-day trial today!

Melissa Branthaver

Melissa Branthaver

Melissa Smith is a freelance communications professional with over 10 years of fundraising experience working within higher education and corporate philanthropy to help clients land their next funding opportunity.

Become a Stronger Grant Writer in Just 5 Minutes

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

17,502 Open Grants Waiting For You

Find grant opportunities to grow your nonprofit

Try 14 days free

10 Ready-to-Use Cold Email Templates That Break The Ice With Funders

Transform funder connections with our 10 expert-crafted cold email templates. Engage, build bonds, showcase impact, and elevate conversations effortlessly.

Read Ebook
How to save up to 15 hours per week with smarter grant tracking

How to Save Up to 15 Hours per Week with Smarter Grant Tracking

Watch Now
Arrow right

Related posts

Try Instrumentl

The best tool for finding & organizing grants

128 reviews | High Performer status on g2.com

Try free for 14 days