Last Updated:

February 22, 2023

Private Foundation Grants: How to Find Them Fast in 2023


February 5, 2023

Private Foundation Grants: How to Find Them Fast in 2023

Private foundation grants are some of the most reliable and generous sources of funding available. But how do you go about locating them?

In this post, we'll provide step-by-step guidance on how to find private foundation grants quickly and effectively. We'll review how to search for private foundations, target appropriate funders, build relationships with potential grantors, and track your progress.

Let’s dive in.

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What Are Private Foundation Grants?

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Private foundation grants are charitable donations made by private organizations, typically funded by wealthy individuals or families. These grants provide financial support for specific initiatives such as educational initiatives, medical research, public works projects, and other charitable causes.

A great example of a private foundation grant is from the Sunderland Foundation. They fund higher education, human services, arts & culture, and health care services.

Sunderland Foundation

Private foundations are responsible for determining the grant criteria and selecting the recipients of their awards. Organizations must typically meet specific qualifications to apply for a private foundation grant and provide evidence of need or proposed impact. Therefore, potential applicants must research the granting organization thoroughly to ensure their initiatives align with its objectives.

Private foundation grants can also fund start-up costs, cover operating expenses, and provide resources for projects or events. The amount of money awarded per grant can vary, so it is essential to read all the guidelines before submitting a proposal. Grantees must also be prepared to meet all required deadlines and report on the progress of their project or initiative.

Differing from other types of grants, private foundation grants are limited in scope; therefore, these types of donations are often more competitive than other grant opportunities and may require extra time to research and prepare a proposal. Private foundation grants can be an invaluable source of funding for small organizations or initiatives that might not otherwise receive support.

Why Are Private Foundation Grants Important?


Private foundation grants are an invaluable source of funding for nonprofit organizations and can be used to cover a variety of costs. Here are five reasons why private foundation grants are important for nonprofits:

They provide support for initiatives that may not receive other forms of funding

Private foundation grants can help organizations reach their goals and expand their impact. They can also support initiatives that may not be eligible for funding through other sources. An example could be funding needed for experiential marketing campaigns or unique research projects.

By providing a source of alternative support, private foundations can help organizations explore ideas and opportunities they may not otherwise have access to.

This helps organizations get their projects off the ground without having to wait for other forms of funding to become available.

They typically have fewer restrictions on how grant funds are used

Generally, private foundation grantees do not need to adhere to strict guidelines or have their spending monitored, allowing them to use the funds how they see fit.

This means nonprofits can use the funds in whatever way best suits their particular needs without having to worry about explaining how the funds were spent or how successful the project was in the same way some other grants are tracked.

It is important to remember that not all private foundation grants are the same, so it is important to read all of the guidelines carefully and make sure you understand what the requirements are. Additionally, be sure to ask any questions if something isn't clear before submitting your application.

Knowing the specifics of a grant will help ensure that your organization meets the requirements and is able to maximize the benefits of receiving the funds.

They can help nonprofits access additional opportunities

Grant funding is often tied to other resources, such as networks and partners. Receiving a private foundation grant can help organizations gain access to additional resources, contacts, and opportunities that may not be available otherwise.

For example, a private foundation might fund a nonprofit that provides education scholarships to low-income students. The grant money could be used to pay for tuition fees and other expenses associated with attending college.

By receiving the grant funding, the charity also has access to the foundation's networks and partners, which could help them find additional funds or resources to help students with college expenses. In turn, this could open up more opportunities for the charity to make an impact in their community.

They can provide long-term support

Private foundations are typically more likely to fund multiple awards or recurring grants. This can help organizations fulfill larger objectives and cover expenses for an extended period of time.

Building relationships with private foundations can help nonprofits secure ongoing funding.

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How to Find Private Foundation Grants in 11 Steps


Finding private foundation grants can take some time and effort, but the rewards can be well worth it. Here are 11 steps for how to find private foundation grants:

1. Settle on a Budget and Goals

Before searching for grants, it’s important to have a budget and goals in mind. This can help you narrow down your search for grants that fit your needs.

It's important to determine your organization's needs before beginning the grant search process. Establish how you will use any potential funds and how much money you need. With a clear goal in mind, it is easier to determine which grants may be most beneficial.

To help set goals, ask questions like "What do we need to achieve?", "What are our priorities?", and "How much money will be required for the project?". The answers to these questions will help narrow down the list of potential grants to apply for.

2. Utilize Your Network

To further narrow down grant possibilities, reach out to your network for potential leads.

Talk to staff, contact other nonprofits, and ask friends and family about companies with philanthropic branches. Additionally, search online forums or social media platforms and look for grant-related conversations. This can be a great way to find new opportunities and connect with other professionals in the nonprofit sector.

Having a good understanding of grants available from your network can help you better target grant applications to those foundations that may be more likely to award funding. This can take some time, but it can be an invaluable step in the process. By leveraging your network, you can make sure to focus on grants that are most likely to match your organization's goals and objectives.

3. Search Locally

Start your search for grants by looking locally. Many private foundations specifically want to fund their local communities. These grants may not be as large as some national grants, but the competition for these awards is usually less fierce, increasing your chances of landing one of these opportunities.

Create a list of these organizations and research what kinds of funding they offer. By understanding the type of grants your local community has to offer, you'll be able to better target grant applications and focus on those that are most likely to match your organization's goals and objectives.

4. Open Up Your Search

Next, you'll want to begin searching for private foundation grants outside your local community.

Just like with the local grants, create a list of all of the possible funding opportunities you find and research what kinds of funding they offer. Make sure you take note of any particular requirements and restrictions associated with each grant program so that you can better target your applications toward those opportunities that are most likely to match your organization's goals and objectives.

By widening your search for grants outside of your own community, you can increase your chances of finding the right opportunity for your nonprofit.

5. Talk to Other Grantees and Similar Nonprofits

Speak with other organizations that have successfully received grants from private foundations.

Ask how they found the grant, how they prepared their proposal, and how long it took to receive a response. This is an excellent way to learn what strategies work best and how to navigate the application process.

6. Explore Traditional Search Engines

You can use online resources to help find grant opportunities. Start with popular search engines like Google or Bing and type in relevant keywords such as "nonprofit capacity grants" or "private foundation grants for nonprofits".

Searching through a search engine like Google can be time-consuming and challenging to keep organized. It is essential to create a spreadsheet of all the potential grants you find so that you stay on top of your research.

7. Use Free Online Databases

Once you've exhausted your search on Google, it's time to move on to free online grants databases. These databases are more focused and often provide a wealth of information on available grants for nonprofits, including the application requirements, due dates, and contact information.

An example of a website that offers these kinds of resources is Make sure to take full advantage of these tools and don't forget to add the information you find to your spreadsheet.

8. Narrow Down Your Options

Now that you've identified potential grant opportunities for your nonprofit, it's time to narrow them down. Start by looking at the deadlines for each grant and decide if you have enough time to complete the application and do it well. If not, strike it out and move on to the next opportunity.

Then double-check the requirements for each grant program to make sure you qualify. If your organization does not meet the requirements, move on to other opportunities that may be a better fit for you.

Organize the remaining grants into a tiered list and prioritize those that offer the most funding or best match your goals and objectives. By narrowing down your options, you can focus on the grants that are most likely to be successful.

Lastly, examine if the grant amount is worth the time and effort.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Would this funding completely cover what we're trying to accomplish?
  • Would there be any funding left over?
  • Will this grant leave something incomplete?

These questions can help you determine if the grant amount is adequate or if you should consider other options.

9. Prepare Your Proposal

Now that you've narrowed down your list of potential grants, it's time to start preparing your proposal. First, you'll need to collect the necessary documents and craft a compelling case for why your organization should receive the grant.

Remember to reference any research you've done from the earlier steps in this process. The more detail you can include in your proposal, the better your chance of being noticed amongst the crowds of other applicants.

Also, taking the time to customize your proposal to meet the specific requirements of each grant program will show potential funders that you understand their needs and objectives. Make sure your proposal is tailored to each grant program and include evidence demonstrating how your organization can help solve a need or issue relevant to the grant.

10. Contact Necessary Funders

Now that you've written a compelling proposal, it's time to contact the necessary funders. Even if you are submitting an online application, reach out to the funder beforehand and introduce yourself and your organization. Then, ask if they need any additional information or have any questions about your proposal.

By making this initial contact, you can start to build a relationship with the funder, which may help you in the long run, even if your application is not accepted.

Additionally, some funders will not accept proposals from organizations that they don't already have a relationship with. Therefore, connecting with the funder before submitting your proposal is critical.

Finally, make sure to follow up once you have submitted your proposal and thank them for their consideration. This will show them that you are organized and professional.

11. Get Help from a Professional

For more complex grant applications, consider enlisting the help of a professional. An experienced grant writing consultant can create a compelling proposal and help maximize your chances of success.

A grant-writing consultant can also be an effective advocate for your organization, helping you navigate the grant application process from start to finish. With their deep understanding of grant writing best practices, they can ensure that your proposal is written in a way that fits with the requirements and criteria laid out by funders.

That said, hiring a consultant isn’t always the best option. Depending on the size and scope of your project, the cost may outweigh the benefit. It’s important to factor in the time, money, and resources it will require before deciding whether to use a consultant for your grant application.

How Instrumentl Can Help You Find Private Foundation Grants in 3 Easy Steps

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Finding and applying for grants from private foundations can be a daunting task. Luckily, Instrumentl is here to help you streamline the process and increase your chances of success. Instrumentl simplifies the search for private foundation grants into three easy steps so that you can secure funding faster and easier.

Here is how it works:

1. Sign Up for Instrumentl

Instrumentl brings grant prospecting, tracking, and management into one intuitive platform. Signing up is incredibly easy. Instrumentl offers a 14-day free trial to get you started.

Instrumentl Homepage

2. Get Matched With Good-fit Funders

Once you sign up, you can begin exploring and learn how to use the platform's intelligent grant matching feature, which matches your organization with potential funders based on shared interests, locations, or other criteria.

Instrumentl Grant Matching Feature

So instead of spending hours combing through search results on Google, Instrumentl's matching feature does the heavy lifting for you. Instrumentl makes it easy to identify grants that align with your organization and its mission.

3. Manage Your Grant Pipeline

Once you have found the right funders, Instrumentl helps you stay organized and efficient. Unlike some other grants databases, Instrumentl helps you navigate the entire grants lifecycle from start to finish.

You can use Instrumentl’s tracking feature to monitor your progress with each grant application, collaborate with your team by assigning tasks, create saved notes to keep yourself updated on each funder's requirements, and more.

With these three easy steps, Instrumentl can help you find private foundation grants faster and more effectively than ever before.

5 Common Private Foundation Grants Questions


Before we wrap up, we wanted to answer some of the most common questions related to searching and applying for private foundation grants. Understanding the basics of how these grants work can increase your chances of success.

What types of private foundation grants are available?

Private foundations provide grant funding for a wide range of projects and initiatives. The type of funding varies significantly depending on the purpose of the foundation and its specific areas of focus.

How do I apply for a private foundation grant?

The application process for private foundation grants may vary from one organization to another. Generally speaking, you will need to submit an online application through the appropriate online system or website that contains detailed information about your project and how it aligns with the mission of the granting organization. Additionally, letters of recommendation and/or financial statements may be required.

What criteria should I consider when choosing a private foundation grant?

When choosing a private foundation grant, it’s important to consider how your mission aligns with that of the granting organization. Additionally, it would be best if you looked at how much money is available and how long it typically takes for grants to be awarded.

You can also check for any restrictions on how the funds may be used and how often applications are accepted. Finally, it would help if you researched the foundation itself to ensure that its values align with yours and that its track record is positive.

How long does it take to receive a private foundation grant?

The timeline for receiving a private foundation grant can vary significantly depending on how quickly the organization processes applications and how much competition there is for any given award.

Generally, you should expect to wait at least three months between submitting your application and hearing back from the granting organization. However, depending on the grant, it can take as long as 18 months to receive a decision.

What can I do with awarded funds from a private foundation grant?

Funds awarded from a private foundation grant can be used for any number of activities, including research and development, community initiatives, educational programs, etc.

Ultimately, how you use the funds will depend on what was specified in the contract with the granting organization. Luckily, grants from private foundations tend to have fewer restrictions than other types of grants, allowing you to be more creative in how funds are used.

Wrapping Up: How to Find Private Foundation Grants Fast in 2023

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Finding private foundation grants the traditional way can be a time-consuming and overwhelming process. Fortunately, tools like Instrumentl make it so much easier and more efficient.

Instrumentl is the perfect solution for nonprofit organizations looking to streamline how they find and apply for private foundation grants in 2023. Sign up today for a free trial and start seeing more success with securing private foundation grants!

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