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Grants Search Engines for Nonprofits

Grant Search Engines

Grant Search Engines is inevitable tool for nonprofits in order to excel in grant research. Nonprofits need to become aware of grant opportunities that have been published by donor agencies. Grant research could be a tedious task and having access to a search engine that could save you time is very paramount. As a nonprofit, you need access to search engines that can make available the list of grant openings you need in a jiffy.  When you use Google Search, it is going to give you a big list that may compound the whole process for you, thereby making your grant research an overwhelming endeavor.

Grant Search Engines Grant Search Engines

In this post, we will show you the best grant search engines that suit your nonprofits in terms of being abreast of the current grant openings and also streamlining the process for you while saving you time and efforts as you channel your focus to other area of aspect your nonprofits.

What is a Grant Search Engine for Nonprofits?

A grant search engine is a database of funding opportunities for nonprofits that have been assembled together.

The information contained is arranged in such a way to enable users to search by category, location, or by focus area. We have some search engines that concentrate only on assembling federal grants opportunities while some focus on corporate grant opportunities. You can still have some search engine having combination of federal grants and corporate grants assembled.  Example is instrumentl.com; focus on both federal and corporate grant opportunities. Another vital role or function that some of these search engines play is to connect you to educational materials, calendar trackers, proposal writing tutorials and others that will sharpen and smoothen your grant writing and research process.

Using search engine helps you filter your search and narrow the results that you will get in alignment with your organization’s mission, location and funding needs. So your research tends to be more defined and strategic.

More so, some of these search engines have cost associated with it, as some have monthly and annual subscriptions attached to their usage. We have few that offer free registration and free trials.

So, the next step is to research and get more info about these search engines, their pros and cons and select the one that fit with your funding needs and mission.

How to Evaluate Grant Search Engines for Your Organization

Before you subscribe to any search engine for grant research services ensure to check out some factors. Ability to understand what your organization stands for matters coupled with your funding needs. The different grant search engines are unique in their ways and they are tailored for different organizations based on their size, mission and financial needs and scope. The below criteria will guide you in your selection.


First you need to consider value for what you want to pay for. As most nonprofits are limited by financial resources, it is advised you look for ways to cut down cost and subscribe to search engines that can give you what you want while cutting down cost. In general, for a subscription service, you can expect to pay between $40 and $200 per month for comprehensive database access and other resources.


Search engines platforms allow for collaboration between your workforce in managing the grant research is important.

The capacity for collaboration in a grants search engine is key. This could be as simple as the ability to add users to the registered account so that more people can participate in the search itself. Or it can be as complex as the ability to give multiple users access to calendars, notes, and in-progress applications.

The best grants search engines at higher levels also offer a project management platform. You can conduct a search, build an application, collaborate with a team, and track progress all in one place.



Check out the scope of opportunities a particular search engine can offer you. Some focus only on government grant opportunities, for instance, grants.gov is a database of government funded opportunities only and is free to access.  Is your nonprofit focusing only on government funded opportunities, then grants.gov are a good fit.

We also have some search engines that focus on grant opportunities that meet a specific target population. For instance, NAVSO.org is another grant search engine that focuses only on providing funding opportunities for nonprofits that assist veterans.

The best of them all is subscribing to a comprehensive grants search engines which offer up opportunities from foundations, corporations, and municipalities and not be restricted to one area.


A quality Feature is another factor to consider when selecting the grant search engine to subscribe for. You need search engines that would not only provide list of potential funders but also would offer you details of their past funding amounts, upcoming deadlines, links to their websites, different categories to filter your search results and auto-generate results.

How User-friendly is the Search Engine?

Ability to navigate through the search engine freely without any complication is key.  Check out the user-friendliness of the platform before you commit to making payment.  Does it provide information that are clear and straightforward, and the deadlines updated and search options available and all that. These are the things you need to check out for.  Especially before spending dollars on a paid service, take advantage of the free trial period offered by these platforms and see if you could navigate through without difficulty.

Further, check the platform’s support and customer service. Does it offer a help desk or contact if you need assistance?

What are the Best Grant Search Engines?

In this article, we are going to examine the pros and cons of some of the best grant search engines, and mind you each differs from another based on features, price and rate of user friendliness and also suitability for grant research. The grant search engine that can serve nonprofit A may not be able to serve nonprofit B because their needs are different.

  1. Instrumentl
grant search engines


Instrumentl.com tops the list of best  grant search engines, it simplifies the process both for new grantees and repeat grantees.

Pros of Instrumentl:

  • Instrumentl.com provides a 14-day free trial period, a staff agent who provides a virtual “walk-through” of all its features, and ongoing customer support.  Its customer support is awesome and makes your journey through their platform a smooth one.
  • It has key information on hundreds of thousands of funders and r and awarded grantees.
  • Instrumentl is the best fundraising tool that brings prospecting, tracking and management to one place.  It makes simple and easy to prospect, track and manage your grant opportunities.
  • The platform offers you additional tools and tips you need in your grant writing and research process.
  • It offers intelligent matching based on several criteria, making its results page refined and actionable.
  • It has features such as grants tracker, email updates, and links to funder’s websites, their grantmaking history, and their 990s.
  • Its collaboration and project management capabilities are top-notch.

You can learn more about what makes Instrumentl different here.

Cons of Instrumentl:

  • Instrumentl.com is expensive for nonprofits that are just at the early-stage of operation, as these nonprofits may not be able to afford the subscription fee involved. It’s recommended that only nonprofits over 90K in operating revenue use it and that those who do not meet this criteria focus first on sustainability. If your nonprofits already racks in 90k and more, this tool can help you win more grants after you have paid for the subscription fee.

 Foundation Directory Online

Grant Search Engines

Pros of Foundation Directory Online:

  • Foundations houses a large database of many types of donor agencies including foundations, municipal, and corporate opportunities in all award amounts.
  • It’s one of the oldest grant search engine that has been inexistence for years and contain much data.
  • It has features such as Filters that allows you to view results easily within the given criteria and graphics that provide comprehensive information or in-depth information about the donor agencies.
  • Small nonprofits could actually subscribe to their services because it is a bit affordable. Subscription plans start at a low cost of just over $30 per month for the “essential” level.

Cons of Foundation Directory Online:

  • To fully enjoy the benefits of this search engine you need to purchase the Professional level plan which is expensive than the Essential Level costing $200 per month. You see most nonprofits can’t afford $200 subscription fee every month.
  • It lacks openness to New Grantees
  • It lacks auto-generated intelligent matching as most of the searched are self-directed.
  • The platform focuses only on publishing grant opportunities but offers no other grant writing resources, educational materials, project management or collaboration capabilities.




Grants.gov is a great search engine filtered for nonprofits with 501(c)3.

Pros of Grants.gov:

  • It is a free search engine.
  • It contains comprehensive database of government grants in many different sectors, everything from grants for research to capital projects and major systems transformations.
  • Government grant opportunities grants  higher dollar value amounts compared to foundation grants running in several million.

Cons of Grants.gov:

  • It is complicated and not user-friendly making it difficult to navigate search capabilities.
  • No good customer service support.
  • It is not easy to understand the eligibility criteria for some grants and the length of the applications make these opportunities reserved for mainly well-established organizations with dedicated development teams.




Pros of GrantStation:

  • Its database contains both charitable organizations and government opportunities.
  • It lists opportunities that are US-based as well as those for Canadian organizations.
  • Its Membership is all encompassing and it gives users access to many tools which are useful in grantmaking – webinars, informational resources, and articles on various topics of interest. It is refer to as , a “one-stop shop” for all things grants-related.
  • It has been long in existence since 1999.
  • They run regular sales through affiliates such as TechSoup which allow you to get access at a big discount.

Cons of GrantStation:

  • It does not offer free trail and monthly payment subscription. Its annual subscription fee is $699.
  • It lacks auto-generated matching tool even though is a robust database and search engine.
  • Although it has lots of online tutorials but it lacks personalized customer support.



GrantWatch serves the nonprofit sector .

Pros of GrantWatch:

  • GrantWatch contains a database of grant opportunities from foundations and federal, state, and local governments.
  • It offers many subscription plans and prices that can suit any size of nonprofits, which makes it within reach for most nonprofits, and even a low-cost weekly option at $18/ week. The highest level is only $200 annually.
  • It offers advanced search features that filter the grant opportunities you need base on specific focus area, funding type, or geographic area.
  • The platform contains grants opportunities for small businesses.
  • It contains a glossary of “grantmaking terms.”
  • When you subscribe to its higher level subscription packages, you will be able to provide features such as deadline reminders and grant opportunity updates.

Cons of GrantWatch:

  • Not user friendly, it is difficult to navigate through its platform.
  • It lacks  personalized or intelligent grant matching feature.
  • It lacks some features that are important to writing a successful grant proposal, tracking calendar, collaboration tools and detailed information about the funder, even though it has a low annual subscription fee  of $200

The Catholic Funding Guide

The catholic Funding guide

Pros of The Catholic Funding Guide

  • It contains only faith-based funding agencies and International Catholic Funding agencies.
  • Its ha cheap annual subscription fee of $145

Cons of The Catholic Funding Guide;

  • Its search functionality is pretty basic.
  • Its database is a bit outdated in terms of design.
  • Its grant opportunities listing are limited.
  • It’s not user friendly.



Pros of GrantScape;

  • GrantScape offers federal, state, local, and foundation grant sources. It contains up to 180,000 grantors and approximately 8,795 available grants housed within the database.
  • Its subscription fee is affordable.
  • It is rich in other resources.


  • It doesn’t offer a free trial for their grant database.

Grant Forward


This database covers the whole ecosystem of funding including grants, sponsors, pre-solicitations, and the funded awards of about 190,000+ grantors. It offers a free trial of about one month. Subscribers access notifications of upcoming grant opportunities

The subscription cost per year ranges from $1,100-4,400 and is determined both by funding size and the population of your organization (students and employees).

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