Finding the Right Donors

The Foundation Center offers lists of United States foundations, corporations and community foundations that offer grants based on asset size and total giving [source: Foundation Center]. It's useful to look for lists like these to show you the broad range of people you can contact.

Grants for Non-Profit Organizations

Grants are not a loan or "free money." Grants are amounts of money given to organizations or individuals for specific purposes. You can obtain grants from businesses, foundations and the government. You can obtain large sums of money for your projects or research if you tap the right resources. Think about your project's goals and mission, and then research groups that share similar interests.

Grants come large and small. It's easy to think that a giant organization such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation might support only large projects. In 2009, it funded a grant for $9,950,000 to the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in India [source: BMGF]. However, the same month it also awarded a grant of $306 to a small organization called Bike Works Seattle "for general operating support" [source: BMGF]. No matter what your needs are, there's most likely a grant you can apply for.

You can also look for grants from your state government -- start with the state's official government Web site. Some states even offer specialty Web sites that provide keyword or category searches, such as the TexasOnline eGrants Search site [source: TexasOnline].

Then there are the big dogs -- federal grants. The United States government has a plethora of grants to choose from. Go to the Grants.gov Web site to search by category, agency or keyword [source: Grants.gov]. Remember to read the fine print when applying for any grant to ensure you can fully comply with the agreement. Once you get started, you'll see it's easy to raise the money you need to fulfill your dreams.

Check out the links of the next page for more information.