top of page

Five Ways to Find Grant Funding (With Sources)


Planning your grant strategy can help you be successful when applying.

I'm going to tell you how to find grant funding, but are a few sources and one major strategy that I personally apply in my application prep that has been an absolute game changer.

LinkedIn. We use it for networking and a business/semi-professional social media platform. Some use it to find jobs, some use it to simply keep in touch...but have you ever though to use it to ask a potential funder a question? As part of my workflow for each new application or really even just an evaluation I do the following:

  1. Search for the agency/funding source

  2. Search for an employee if none are listed in the contact details of the funding notice

  3. Send a connection request with a friendly message.

The message usually reads something like "Hey [name] I'm connecting because I'm going to be submitting an application for your [opportunity name] and I'd like to ask you a couple of questions to make sure we're making effective use of our time. It works 7 out of 10 times.

Know the field through research

Before you start your research, make sure you know the field. You don't need to be an expert, but you should at least know the basics. If a funder is interested in education and has awarded grants for libraries, this means that a library project may be a good fit for them.

When searching for potential funders, it's also good to learn about their mission statement. Who are they trying to help? What do they believe in? What kinds of projects have they funded before? This can help guide your idea towards something that matches with their values and interests.

Check the foundation's most recent IRS Form 990

There are several things that you can learn from a foundation's IRS Form 990. First, it will tell you where the foundation is located and who runs it. Second, it will give you information about the foundation's mission and what funds they have available to give away. Thirdly, it will show details of how much money the foundation has received over the last year, what they have spent their money on, and how much of that went to grants (or other activities). Finally, an IRS Form 990 will also tell you whether or not your organization qualifies for a grant from this particular foundation—this can save time by eliminating applications for grants that aren't worth applying for in the first place!

Using this information effectively does take some practice but once mastered becomes second nature.

Look at grants awarded in the past, but not just at numbers

Next, you'll want to look at exactly what type of grant was awarded. This can help you determine whether it's worth applying for. For example, if the grant is awarded by a local community foundation or organization that works with low-income families and your nonprofit assists seniors with Alzheimer's disease, it may not be worth applying for this particular grant.

In addition to looking at the type of grant, you should also look at:

  • Amounts awarded -- How much did they award? Are the amounts similar to what other organizations received in similar situations?

  • Recipients -- Who has won past grants? Have any of them been similar in size or mission alignment to yours?

Have a consistent list of sources

As part of my retainer, I FIND new opportunities for my clients. I do this by taking advantage of a few reliable sources seen below.


  2. Grant Gopher

  3. Grant Watch

  4. Community Foundations

Attend funder sessions at conferences and events

Attending funder sessions is one of the most effective ways to learn about new funders, as well as how to apply for funding from them. These sessions are also great opportunities to meet people who can help you find money, connect with other grant seekers in your field and get advice on how to improve your chances of success.

You should be prepared when attending a funder session by preparing some questions specifically for those who run the session or have expertise in the area being discussed. You can also prepare by reviewing the website of any potential funders ahead of time so that you'll be ready to ask questions like: "What kinds of projects does this funder fund?" or "How much do they typically award?"

Talk to your peers

  • Talk to your peers. Other organizations that have received grants from the same foundation or work in the same field are often a good place to start when you want to find information about how to apply for their funding.

  • Find out what kinds of funding opportunities are available by talking to others in your field. Your colleagues may be able to give you tips on how they found success with specific foundations and what they were looking for when applying for funds, so ask around!

  • Learn from the experts! Check out some of these great resources on finding grants:

Planning your grant strategy can help you be successful when applying.

If you're just getting started, there are a few things to consider before you start applying for grants:

  • Do you have the capacity and resources to apply for grants? If not, can you get them?

  • Are the projects that you want funding for important enough to apply? If they're not, why are they so important now? Have any other opportunities presented themselves that may be better than applying for a grant at this time.

  • Will applying for these types of funding help advance your cause or lead towards achieving your organization's goals in some way (non-financial).


I hope that this post has given you some new ideas for how to find grant funding. Remember, the most important thing is to be strategic about your approach and ask for help when needed!

For more information about putting this information to work at your organization contact Bryan at (203) 954-5121 or


bottom of page