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How Much Does It Cost To Research Grants?

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

We've all heard it before... you have to spend money to raise money. Every nonprofit professional knows there are certain elements of fundraising that require more than just an investment of time. In grant writing, it is possible to research opportunities without investing in online search engines, but you're seriously limiting your results. So how much does it cost to research grants using online databases? Below is a list of the most popular options, some features they include, and their current rates.

Foundation Directory Online

Easily the most popular, Foundation Directory Online is the searchable database from Foundation Center. Users can access IRS Form 990 information as well as actual copies of the forms for U.S.-based private and corporate foundations. The search function provides hundreds of built-in fields as well as a free-form search field. FDO's monthly membership fees start at $49.99 per month for their Essential plan up to $199.99 per month for their all-inclusive Professional plan. Both provide access for only one user.


GrantStation is similar to Foundation Directory Online, but provides access to Canadian and International funders as well as local, state, and federal government funding opportunities in one, comprehensive search result. Although GrantStation has fewer built-in search fields, it still provides reliable results, often with links to external websites for additional verification of grant details. Cost of membership is $699 per year and includes access to all search results, online education, and planning tools.


GrantWatch is, by far, the most flexible with payments and the most affordable of these options with an annual payment option of $199. It also allows for quarterly, monthly, or weekly payments. GrantWatch completely relies on external websites to pull information into profiles and links back to those websites for additional information. The search function is not nearly as comprehensive as GrantStation or Foundation Directory Online, but an experienced grant writer can sort through the results using the platform's headlines and often find grant opportunities not included in the results of other grant databases. is the federal government’s grant portal, listing all grant opportunities nationwide. It is a free database and is searchable by keyword. Although there is no cost to use this platform, organizations must be registered with before submitting a grant. This process can take up to two weeks.


Guidestar is one of the few ways you can gather information about grant-makers without any cost. The website includes IRS Form 990s and a profile created using the basic information found within it. Any additional information is only available if it has been added by the grant-maker. A Pro Search membership is available and begins at $2,000 per year ($300 monthly) up to $2,500 per year for one user based on level of access.

Foundation Search

Foundation Search is a fundraising education and consulting service that offers nonprofits curated lists of foundation prospects from their database of more than 120,000 foundations. More consulting than online database, Foundation Search does not post their rates on their website. However, users have stated that the one-year subscription is typically in the $4,000 range.

At Just Write Grants, our lowest subscription rate is half the annual cost of these paid memberships. Online databases are included in all of our subscriptions, AND you get a dedicated grant expert writing your proposals, researching grant opportunities, and managing your requests. Why pay more and still have to do the work of researching, writing, and submitting? Contact us today to learn more about our unique grant writing subscriptions. Click here or call 1-866-7GRANTS.


Need a professional grant writer to help your nonprofit take its fundraising strategy to the next level? Just Write Grants can be your nonprofit's virtual grant writer, providing high-quality proposals, research, and submissions based on more than a decade of experience and multiple millions of dollars of grant funds secured.

To learn more about Just Write Grants and our affordable grant writing subscriptions and get 30 minutes of free custom grant research, click here or call 1-866-7GRANTS to speak to a grant expert today.

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