Seeking Funding Sources

Seeking Funding Sources

There are two basic types of funding sources: Public (federal agencies, state agencies, local organizations/businesses) and private (fundation, corporation).

Advantages of Public Funding

  • Purpose set by legislation
  • Focus of functions usually impacting significant groups in society
  • Have the most money
  • More likely to make big grants
  • More likely to cover indirect costs
  • Easier to identify and to keep current
  • Have known application processes and firm deadlines
  • Use prescribed formats for proposals
  • Lots of staff with resources for technical assistance
  • Funds available to wider array of organizations

Advantages of Private Funding

  • More likely to focus on emerging issues, new needs
  • Will often allow their funds to be pooled with other sources
  • Some can make very large grants
  • Better source of start-up or experimental funds
  • Proposals need not be complex or lengthy
  • Can be much more flexible in responding to unique needs and circumstances
  • Seldom have bureaucratic requirements to follow in administering grants
  • Carry more stature and prestige
  • Can often provide forms of help other than just cash
  • Usually have fewer applicants
  • Can generally be much more informal
  • Often better source for more local needs and smaller agencies

There are so many funding sources available. Here are a few of the many sources including libraries, the Internet and publications.


  • State Library – many state librariers provide on-line searching (e.g. Dialog Searches) for funding sources for a fee-for-service basis.
  • James J. Hill Reference Library – a professional business and commerce library located in St. Paul, MN. The library provides an on-line research service based on a fee schedule. Services are available to the public. 1-877-700-4455 or 612-265-5500.


  • The Foundation Center’s web site is at  The Foundation Center operates a mailing list of current information of interest to grant writers. Locate the following site for free information such as the Philanthrophy News Digest which highlights grants made to various organizations.
  • The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance is one resource listing federal government grant programs. It may be found at It is searchable but effective searching requires some familiarity with the terminology used in the document. Most of the documents found by searching the databases are available in full text.
  • The Government Printing Office (GPO) maintains a site which contains over 40 databases which index government offices and/or documents. This site is found at
  • TGCI – The Grantsmanship Center website maintains a site that links you to federal government sources, state government sources (you choose the state), community foundations (by state and county), and international funding. The site is


  • Annual Register of Grant Support. Chicago: Marquis Who’s Who. Published Annually.
  • Corporate Giving Directory. Provides detailed descriptive profiles of nearly 1,000 of the largest and most important corporate charitable giving programs in the United States.
  • Directory of Grants in the Humanities. Phoenix: Oryx Press. Focus on humanties.
  • Foundation Directory. New York: Columbia University Press. Published annually. Arranged geographically with a subject index. Focus on largest foundations.
  • Funding Sources for K-12 Schools and Adult Basic Education. Phoenix: Oryx Press. Details grant funding for K-12 schools and other educational organizations, including libraries and museums, and for adult basic education programs, including job skills training.


Support Extension