How to Get Nonprofit Grants

Starting a nonprofit organization is a great step toward making the world a better place, but securing the necessary funding can be challenging. One key source of funding for nonprofits is grants. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of finding and obtaining grants for your nonprofit, including government grants, foundation grants, and corporate grants. 

Recommended: Read our review of the best grants for nonprofits to discover the right grant for your organization.

What is Grant Funding?

Grant funding for nonprofits is a form of financial support provided by government agencies, foundations, corporations, and other organizations to help nonprofit organizations achieve their mission and goals. These funds are typically awarded through a competitive application process, in which nonprofits submit proposals outlining their programs, initiatives, and funding needs.

Grant funding can be used to support a wide range of activities, such as program development and implementation, capacity building, research, and general operating expenses. One of the key benefits of securing a nonprofit grant over other funding opportunities is that grants rarely require repayment.

The Importance of Grant Management

Grant management is the process of administering and overseeing grants awarded to an organization. This includes tasks such as researching grant opportunities, writing proposals, managing funds, ensuring compliance with grant requirements, and reporting on the use of grant money.

Effective grant management is essential for nonprofits to secure and maintain funding from various sources, including federal grants for nonprofits, foundation grants, and corporate grants. Using grant management software can help your organization easily track, manage, and execute grant applications. 

Recommended: Read our review of the best grant management software for nonprofits to find the right tool for your organization.

Types of Grants for Nonprofits

There are several different types of grants available for nonprofits, including government grants, foundation grants, and corporate grants. By understanding the grant landscape and implementing best practices in grant management, you can successfully secure the funding needed to support your nonprofit’s mission and make a lasting impact in your community.

Government Grants

Government grants for nonprofits are grant funds provided by the federal government, state, or local government agencies to support specific programs or initiatives that align with the agency’s mission and goals.

To find nonprofit grants, you can search through, the central database for all federal government grants, state and local government agent websites, as well as newsletters and email alerts from relevant government departments.

Benefits of Government Grants

  • Grants are often higher amounts compared to other types of grants
  • Provides a stable source of funding for multiple years
  • Credibility for your nonprofit, attracting other funders

Popular Government-Offered Grants

  • National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Grants: The NEA offers arts grants that support arts projects, initiatives, and organizations across the country, promoting creativity, engagement, and cultural heritage.
  • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Grants: HHS grants support a wide range of health and human services programs, including those focused on public health, social services, and community development.
  • Department of Education (ED) Grants: ED grants support educational programs and initiatives at all levels, from early childhood education to post-secondary and adult learning opportunities.
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Grants: NSF grants fund research and education projects in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, supporting innovation and discovery.

Foundation Grants

Foundation grants for nonprofits are funds awarded by corporate, community, or private foundations to support initiatives that align with the foundation’s mission and priorities. You can find funding opportunities from foundations through the Foundation Directory Online (FDO), foundation websites, or through networking.

Benefits of Foundation Grants

  • Often more flexible than government grants
  • May provide unrestricted funding for general operating expenses
  • Opportunity to build long-term relationships with funders

Popular Foundation Grants

  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grants: The Gates Foundation provides grants to support 501(c)(3) organizations in global health, education, and community development, focusing on reducing inequalities and improving lives around the world.
  • Ford Foundation Grants: The Ford Foundation offers grants to support projects and organizations working to promote social justice, human rights, and sustainable development.
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation Grants: The Kellogg Foundation provides grants to support initiatives that promote the well-being of children, families, and communities, with a focus on equity and opportunity.
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grants: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation offers grants to support projects and research aimed at improving health and health care in the United States, with a focus on building a national Culture of Health.

Corporate Grants

Corporate grants for nonprofits are funds provided by businesses to support initiatives that align with the company’s values, mission, or corporate social responsibility goals. You can source corporate grant opportunities through corporate websites and social responsibility pages, existing partnerships, and corporate volunteer programs.

Benefits of Corporate Grants

  • Generates positive public relations for both the nonprofit and the corporation
  • Opportunities to build long-term partnerships with companies
  • Increases nonprofit visibility and credibility through association with reputable corporations

Popular Corporate Nonprofit Grants

  • Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits: Google offers in-kind advertising grants to eligible nonprofits, providing free Google Ads advertising to help organizations promote their missions and initiatives online.
  • Zendesk Tech for Good Impact Awards: Zendesk provides grants, free software, and technical assistance to nonprofits leveraging technology to drive social change and scale their impact.
  • The Unless Project: Created by A Little Better Co, The Unless Project is a nonprofit accelerator that offers grants to organizations working on social justice, environmental sustainability, and artistic activism.
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) Imagine Grant: AWS offers grant money, AWS Promotional Credit, and technical support to nonprofits using technology to address global challenges in sustainability, health, education, and disaster response.

How to Apply for Grants

The grant application process for nonprofits seeking to secure funding for their programs and initiatives. By following a systematic approach and paying close attention to detail, you can increase your chances of submitting a successful grant application. In this section, we’ll walk you through the key steps involved in applying for grants.

1. Identify Relevant Grant Opportunities

The first step in applying for grants is to research and identify grant opportunities that align with your nonprofit’s mission, goals, and programs. Start by exploring various sources, such as government agencies, foundations, corporations, and online grant databases like or the Foundation Center

Look for grants that match your organization’s area of focus, target population, and funding needs. Be sure to carefully review each grant’s eligibility criteria, application requirements, and deadlines to determine if your nonprofit is a good fit.

2. Develop a Grant Application Strategy

Once you’ve identified potential grant opportunities, develop a strategic plan for preparing and submitting your applications. Create a timeline that outlines the key tasks, responsibilities, and deadlines for each grant application. Assign roles and responsibilities to your team members, ensuring that everyone understands their part in the process. 

Gather all the necessary information and documents, such as your organization’s tax-exempt status, financial statements, and program details, to have them readily available as you begin working on your applications.

3. Craft a Compelling Grant Proposal

The centerpiece of grant applications is the grant proposal itself. Many nonprofits hire a grant writer to create their proposal. However, if you plan to write grant proposals yourself, begin by thoroughly reviewing the funder’s guidelines and application requirements to ensure that you understand what information they are looking for and how they want it presented.

You or your grant writer will then create a clear and compelling narrative that articulates your nonprofit’s mission, the need your program addresses, and the expected outcomes and impact of your work.

4. Prepare Supporting Documents

Most funders do not accept grant proposals alone, however. Most require a range of supporting documents as part of the application package. These may include your organization’s tax-exempt status documentation, financial statements, annual reports, board of directors list, and letters of support from partners or stakeholders. Gather and organize these documents well in advance of the application deadline to ensure that you have everything you need when it’s time to submit your application.

5. Review, Revise, and Submit

Before submitting your grant application, take the time to carefully review and revise your proposal and supporting documents. Check for clarity, consistency, and adherence to the funder’s guidelines and requirements. 

Ask colleagues, partners, or external reviewers to provide feedback on your application and make any necessary improvements. Then, double-check that you have included all required documents and that your application package is complete. Finally, submit your application well before the deadline to allow time for any unexpected challenges or last-minute revisions.


By understanding the different types of grants available and their unique characteristics, you can develop a targeted grant-seeking strategy that aligns with your nonprofit’s mission and goals. In the next section, we will delve into the process of obtaining grants, from researching opportunities to submitting applications and managing awarded funds.

Related Articles