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Tool: Tips for Successful Grant-Writing from Foundation Officials

We've collected some quotes from actual foundation officials regarding the grant -writing process. So here are some tips, straight from the source, that can guide you as you proceed:

Do your initial research

"Call first and ask for a copy of our report, which describes previous grants, so people get a sense of what the amounts are and what kinds of organizations we've been supporting."

Check the guidelines

"Do your homework, not just in finding out how to apply, but in making the match between your needs and our needs. Although we have a broad giving program, it's very clear in our annual report what we are most interested in and what's important to us."

"Read our guidelines. We have a number of printed materials relating to our programs. Study our past history, and then contact us with a specific request based on their understanding of our guidelines."

Ask, if you have good questions

"I respect people who aren't afraid to get on the phone and call me to talk about ideas. I invite that, as long as they've done their homework and know what we're about. If there's a sense that there's something there, and there's any room for them to come within our guidelines, and the idea sounds plausible, I'm probably going to encourage them to proceed with a small concept paper and then a proposal. We take it one step at a time."

Don't call just for the sake of calling

"I detest people calling up and saying "Can we send you a proposal?" The answer is "yes"; that's what we're in business for. But then they always want you to have lunch, show you around, tell you their whole story. I can't do it. There aren't enough days in the year."

Sensible middle ground

"If they have done the research, it may not be necessary to call. But I'm very willing to talk with people about what they are interested in having us support and if it's feasible."

Build community support

"One thing I find compelling is some indication of community support or involvement in programs we are being asked to fund. I would encourage anyone who has newspaper articles about the importance of the organization or a special program, or unsolicited letters of praise, to send us copies of those."

(Source: Interviews in Massachusetts Foundation Examiner.)


Tool: Potential Funders (by Category)

Funding resources on this page are categorized first by region of the world, and then by categories when appropriate. If you know of additional funding sources that should be added to this list, feel free to email them to us at



  • Canadian Foundations. Brought to you by Charity Village, this site lists grant giving foundations in Canada.
  • Council on Foundations. Provides tools to over 2,000 grantmaking foundations and giving organizations that are members of the Council on Foundations worldwide.

Grantwriting/Grantseeking (International)

  • International Funding. A listing of international, regional, and country-specific directories. Provides information on how to write grants, training courses etc.
  • International Grants. Fundsnet, a lengthy list of links to international grants, initiatives, foundations and directories on the web.
  • International Human Rights Funders Group. Although the International Human Rights Funders Group (IHRFG) does not make grants, the site provides information about funders that do. You can search by geography, issue, type of support etc.
  • International and Foreign Grantmakers. Listing of relevant international websites which will be a great resource for grantmakers.
  • Nonprofit Expert. Provides a list of international grants accommodating a wide range of interests, also provides various other resources as well.
  • Grants to Non-U.S. Organizations. The Foundation Center provides some useful links and resources for international grants, including proposal writing, tools and resources, training courses etc.

Philanthropy (International)

  • Philanthropy Australia. Philanthropy Australia is the national membership organization for grantmaking trusts and foundations. The site contains a gateway to community foundations, and links to research and information, workshops and training, fact sheets, and more, you must become a member before you can use their resources.
  • International Philanthropy. This Site is devoted to online resources in the field of international Philanthropy which includes updates on the latest news within the field and a resource directory.
  • The National Endowment for Democracy. Database that contains over 100 Philanthropic organizations that provide funding, fellowship and awards for those in the area of international democratic development.
  • Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support. Dedicated to philanthropy and culture of giving, they provide mutual learning, support and knowledge sharing.
  • Peace and Security Funders Group. Provides information on effective grantmaking strategies related to international peace and security. There is a cost for membership, see website for details.




Women’s Health and Development

  • Women in International Development. A compilation of web pages of funding opportunities related to women in international development. Some of the organizations focus on providing economic security to women around the world and in the United States.
  • Global Fund for Women. International network committed to equality and social justice for women by making grants to support women’s groups around the world.

Regional Sources of Funding – United States and North America

  • The Foundation Center. Maintains a comprehensive database on U.S grantmakers and their grants. Access to free resources through five regional Libraries, has network of over 400 funding information centers.
  • Grants.Gov This website, run by the U.S. government, is a central storehouse for information on over 1,000 grant programs. It provides access to approximately $500 billion in annual awards.
  • Minnesota Council on Foundations. Provides grantmaking and grantseeking resources, requires a membership fee.
  • The Grantsmanship Center. This site covers all aspects of the United States, and provides grantmaking foundations by state, community etc.; you must pay a membership fee in order to use this resource, check website for complete details.
  • Cottonwood Foundation. This foundation focuses its funding on committed grass roots organizations that rely on volunteer efforts.



  • Environmental Grantmakers Association. Helps member organizations become effective environmental grantmakers through information sharing and collaboration and networking.
  • Grantmakers without Borders. Dedicated to increasing funding internationally specifically for international social justice, and environmental sustainability.
  • Environmental Protection Agency. Contains various types of research and information related to the environment that can aid in the grantmaking process.
  • Echoing Green. Provides seed money to social entrepreneurs who want to make a positive social change.


  • Fundsnet. A compilation of grantwriting and fundraising services at no cost; includes various categories of interest.
  • The Grantsmanship Center. Conducts grantsmanship trainings, as well as earned income strategies for nonprofits.
  • How to Get Money Out of Donor Organizations. These detailed guidelines can assist you in getting your project funded by international donors.
  • Appalachian Regional Commission. Provides a list of online resources by topic ranging from community planning to funding. Each year ARC provides funding for several hundred projects throughout the Appalachian Region.
  • National Service Resources. Provides general grant resources as well as grant opportunities by category.


  • Grantmakers in Health. Grantmakers in Health (GIH) is a nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to helping foundations and corporate giving programs improve the health of all people, you must become a member in order to get full access to information.



Women’s Health and Development

Regional Sources of Funding – Africa Africa

  • Grantmakers' Affinity Group. Search here for organizations that fund projects in Africa, by category and/or country.
  • World Bank's Africa Program. The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. This site provides data and research, news, publications etc. about the countries they are aiding.
  • Kabissa: Space for Change In Africa. Online community for African civil society, designed to empower African organizations and their allies to showcase, connect and learn. It has a network of over 1200 organizations working to improve communities in Africa.

Regional Sources of Funding – Canada

  • Canadian Grants. The site of Big Online, a fee-based subscription service of available funding sources in North America with an emphasis on Canada.
  • Canadian Sources of Funding. Links to online databases and directories of funding agencies and foundations of interest to Canadian individuals and organizations.

Regional Sources of Funding – Europe

  • European Commission. Provides the latest news of EU affairs, links to policies, direct links to key information services which may aid in the decision making process.
  • Welcome Europe. A search engine for European grants and loans. You'll also find EU funding news, calls for tenders, and other information, this site does require a membership fee. The membership fee ranges in price.

Regional Sources of Funding – Russia

NIS Funding Opportunities & Exchange Programs. Programs that involve work or travel with scholars and students in Russia and the NIS.

Regional Sources of Funding – Southeast Asia

  • Japan Foundation Center. Contains a lengthy list of links to Japanese Grant-Making Foundations as well as additional background information on history and trends, assets, and features of grant programs.
  • Philippine Foundation Center. Contains databases on donors, NGOs, and foundations, as well as a publications database and other relevant links.