Lesson #10 – Finding a Funder

Greeting from GrantLessons! This post is best viewed by going to http://www.grantlessons.wordpress.com.

I am so glad to be back to my home computer, trying to blog on a cellphone does not work well! Life took me on some unexpected travel! I am glad to be back to GrantLessons and to get on with our work. Finding a funder is one of the most interesting issues for a grant writer! Over the years we have determined several ways for us to find a funder. The one most important factor in finding a funder is “location, location, location”. Funders, both foundations and corporations, are interested in giving funding to nonprofits where they live or have lived previously. They want to have a sense of being able to contribute to a community they know!  There are many ways to find a funder. The ways range from the simple to the complex. For instance, I was once part of a speaker’s bureau team that made a presentation about our local Assistance League chapter to find that a major funder’s director was sitting in the audience. He was impressed and it was the start of funding for our organization. Also, we have had a funder walk into our Thrift Shop wanting to make a donation. We thought her donation was going to be clothes. But instead, she wanted to talk with someone about making a donation. She was from our community and simply liked vetting the nonprofits by going in undercover. She has made large donations to our chapter’s philanthropic programs. I like saying, “You never know whom you are talking with, so be sure to keep your smile on and the 2 minute ‘elevator’ speech in your hip pocket.”

Foundations by State

The more conventional way to find funders is through the use of a database. These options run from the simple to the complex. Each option comes with opportunities and limitations. Let’s examine some of these options. A simple method is to “google”  for “foundations by state”. One of the results takes one to https://www.tgci.com/funding-sources where a map of states is presented. One simply selects their state and a list of foundations is presented. The opportunity is you can start to see which foundations are located in your state that provide funding to nonprofit organizations. The limitation starts with the list not being able to be sorted by city. When one selects a link they can determine the geographic location. For instance when I select Community Foundation of Western Nevada, I see that they provide funding to Northern Nevada.  The foundation base of the lady who lives in Reno is located in the East and therefore is not on the list. So the lesson is one cannot assume that any list contains all the potential funders.


GrantStation is a database that provides more information about funders in a particular state. You can view GrantStation by going to https://www.grantstation.com/. GrantStation provides an opportunity to search for more specific funding. If you go to the following link https://www.grantstation.com/public/spotlight/us_spotlight.asp you are able to see the information included in the profile. The limitation with this database is that one can not easily determine if the funder will give to a specific large city in the state. I can put parameters into the database to help define what I am looking for funding. This helps to delineate those funders that are giving to the arts as opposed to those giving to human services. The database would greatly be improved if it easily provided a dropdown box to discriminate whether the funder gave to nonprofits in the entire state or whether it only gave to specific cities such as “Reno” or “Las Vegas”. Because that option is not available one will have to look through many profiles to determine which ones are specific to your geographic focus. One should know that National Assistance League provides an opportunity to its chapters who desire to subscribe to GrantStation. An annual subscription can be purchased for $47 when the chapter orders through the National Assistance League office  The following link will provide the form that needs to be completed. Chapter GrantStation signup form . When using this database you will spend time reviewing profiles to determine if the foundation provides opportunities in your geographic location.

Foundation Directory Online

A sophisticated database for finding funders is Foundation Directory Online. It is a subscription based product that can be purchased for amounts of time from one month to one year. Foundation Directory Online can be viewed at https://fconline.foundationcenter.org/ . The database provides more specific information about the geographic location the funder desires to fund. Again one enters parameters for the search which can include more discrete data fields, such as, county or city. While there is a higher cost to using this database, the results generally will provide profiles with more leads for funding.

Time to get out into this beautiful weather here in Reno-Sparks.

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon! Sandie




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