Before beginning your search for grants, you will need to decide exactly what you are
looking for. This will allow you to find the foundation that is most likely to provide funding for your needs.
Below are a few questions to think about before beginning your search:
- Are you an individual or a nonprofit organization? Some foundations only give to one or the other. Information on starting a nonprofit organization can be found at this link: http://grantspace.org/Tools/Knowledge-Base/Nonprofit-Management/Establishment/Starting-a-nonprofit. There is also information here about fiscal sponsorship, another option if you have not started a nonprofit organization yet.
- Why do you need the grant? Is your nonprofit planning to start a new program for the community or looking for capital improvement funds? Do you need money to go to college or do post-graduate research?
- How much do you need? Foundations come in all sizes and give grants of different amounts. Comparing your needs to the typical size of grants given by a foundation can help you decide if your request is in the right ballpark.
- When do you need the grant? Foundation boards tend to consider applications at their meetings so your time frame is important in deciding when to approach a foundation.
Once you have answered these questions, you can begin searching for grants using the library’s grants collection.
Nonprofit organizations should begin with Foundation Directory Online Professional, available only at Central Library, or Foundation Directory Online Platinum, available at all area libraries. With both of these databases, nonprofits can search for grantmakers who fund their causes and see grants they have given in the past.
The Foundation Center has compiled detailed profiles on each foundation that include information on what subjects they fund and how to apply for funding. With the Professional subscription at Central Library, you have the additional options to search companies and 990’s, the tax returns filed by charitable organizations.
To find money for college, continuing education or research, you'll want to try searching the database, Foundation Grants to Individuals Online. It's available at Central Library.
The Foundation Center also has a website designed to answer grantseekers’ questions that you can access for free from home at Grantspace.org.
The print Grants collection at Central Library includes the Directory of Virginia Foundations, which provides information on many smaller Virginia foundations that are a good resource for those looking for funding locally. There are also guides available on topics such as nonprofit management
, proposal writing
, and fund raising
in this collection.
Be sure to check the library’s online event calendar for classes offered at Central Library on how to use these resources.
If you have questions or need assistance using these resources, please ask the library