How To Find Funding Opportunities Online


Jessica Knapp


CEO, Communities In Schools Pennsylvania

Reviewed by:


May 16, 2024

Last Updated:

May 16, 2024

Finding the right grants for your nonprofit can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. With thousands of opportunities available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lost in the sea of information.

Trust me—I’ve been there.

But here’s the great news: there’s an easy solution to these frustrations.

Introducing Instrumentl’s grant database and smart matching tool—your ultimate solution to navigating the complex world of grants with ease and efficiency. Whether you’re a seasoned grant seeker or just dipping your toes into the world of fundraising, finding funding opportunities online has never been simpler.

Instrumentl’s platform will help you:

  • Find grants quickly
  • Narrow in on the best-fit funding opportunities
  • Streamline the application process

Ready to learn how? Keep reading as we walk you through step-by-step how to use Instrumentl’s US grant database and matching tool to unlock a treasure trove of funding opportunities tailored to your nonprofit’s needs.

Understanding Instrumentl’s Grant Database

Instrumentl is the most comprehensive grant database of grant opportunities for nonprofits in the U.S..

How is Instrumentl’s grant database curated and updated?

It’s a combination of advanced technology and human curation. Our team scours the internet, databases, and foundation websites to gather information on thousands of grants, ensuring that Instrumentl is always up-to-date and accurate. Each grant is carefully vetted for relevance and reliability, saving you time and effort in your search.

Within our database you will find:

  • Over 400,000 funders
  • Over 15,0000 active grants
  • 150+ new opportunities added each week

As the most comprehensive tool on the market, there’s no doubt Instrumentl can help you level-up your grant search efforts by finding new opportunities.

As a nonprofit professional, I’ve experienced firsthand just how valuable Instrumentl can be. Here are some of its top benefits:

  • Avoid Overwhelm: With so many funding opportunities out there, using Google or other generic search engines can quickly become overwhelming. Instrumentl’s grant database streamlines the process by presenting you with a curated list of grants that match your nonprofit’s focus areas and eligibility criteria, saving you from information overload.
  • VIP Access to Unlisted Foundations: Not all foundations have websites or publicly available information. Instrumentl’s database includes grants from a wide range of foundations, including those that are not easily found through traditional search methods or those that are invite-only. This gives you access to a broader pool of funding opportunities that you might otherwise miss.
  • Customized Matches: Instrumentl’s matching tool uses advanced algorithms to analyze your organization’s profile and funding preferences, which means you get personalized grant matches that are tailored to your specific needs—delivered right to your inbox! By focusing only on good-fit matches, you can increase your chances of securing funding.
  • Increase Efficiency and Save Time: As a grant professional, you know that finding grants is an incredibly time consuming process. Instrumentl automates much of this work, allowing you to focus your time and energy on crafting compelling proposals, building relationships with potential funders, and—most importantly—winning grants.

But don’t just take our word for it! Grant professionals all across the US have found success with Instrumentl. Here’s what Theresa Anderson, Director of Development at Salesian Sisters of Tampa, Inc., had to say:

“I started looking at Instrumentl and thought—wow, this is the answer to my prayers! Now that I look back, I just think about how much Instrumentl fundamentally changed the way we work, especially in terms of finding foundations that really fit us.”

By leveraging our curated database and smart-matching features, you can level-up your grant game and increase the revenue you’re bringing in for your nonprofit.

Want to know the best part? You can sign up for a 14-day free trial with no credit card required!

Setting Up Your Free Trial

To begin finding funding opportunities online, you’ll first need to set up your free account with Instrumentl. Your free trial will give you the ability to explore Instrumentl’s platform and familiarize yourself with all of its tools and features.

After you’ve created your account in Instrumentl, you’ll be prompted to set up your first project, which is essentially a saved search.

First, you’ll share your organization’s details such as your location and fiscal year. This helps Instrumentl filter out grants that aren’t relevant to the area you serve.

Next, you’ll give your project a name.
You can title it whatever you want—in the example below, the project is “Corporate Grants.”

Side Note:
You can set up multiple projects for multiple different searches within Instrumentl. As an example, I currently have projects titled “Dropout Prevention'', “After School Programs”, and “Capacity Building.”

After naming your project, you’ll be prompted to select your project type.

If you select the “Matches & Tracking'' option, Instrumentl will provide you with both a project tracker as well as good-fit funding matches. This is the option we recommend selecting if you’re on the hunt for new funding opportunities.

Once you make that selection, click “Save and Continue”.

When you get to the “Matches Setup” stage, you’ll enter in information that helps Instrumentl narrow down funding opportunities that make the most sense for your organization’s needs.

You’ll be asked to identify what type of organization you are (nonprofit, college/university, etc.), as well as if you’d like to see grants specifically for faith-based organizations and programs.

You’ll also need to identify the geographical areas that your organization serves. Instrumentl has you narrow this down to the county-level so you’re only shown relevant matches.

You’ll then be asked to specify your fields of work. This ensures that you get grant matches aligned with your location and your mission and scope of work.

When you click “+Select Field of Work”, you can search for the causes that your organization supports. We recommend selecting 2-5 keywords from the dropdown that best fit your mission.

Next, you can select the ways in which you will use grant funds—general operating expenses, specific projects or programs, or even capacity building.

And lastly, you can choose the type of funders you’re most interested in receiving grants from.

Click “Save and Exit”, and you’re good to go! Now, Instrumentl takes all of this information and analyzes its database to come up with a curated list of good-fit matches just for you!

Pro Tip:
Grant writing (and grant seeking) is a team sport! Instrumentl makes it super easy to invite your team members to your account so that you can collaborate on your grant search activities seamlessly.

After you’ve completed these steps, you’re ready to view your matches!

Find Your Next Grant

17K Live Grants on Instrumentl

150+ Grants Added Weekly

+3k NonprofitsNew matchesTry Instrumentl free for 14 days

Navigating the Grant Matching Tool

After you create a project in Instrumentl, the platform curates a list of good-fit matches for you. You’ll find these matches on your “Matches” page.

On the left side of the page, you’ll see your list of matches. The right side of the page shows you more detail about whichever opportunity you’ve clicked on.

It’s basically set up like an email inbox so you can easily run through your matches and evaluate them with ease.

Now, you might have noticed that I have 50 matches for this project, which is a lot to sort through! To keep you from getting overwhelmed, there are a few ways that Instrumentl allows you to narrow down your list to zero in on the opportunities that are the best fit.

Filtering Matches

To filter your matches, select the “Filter” dropdown from the top of the “Matches” tab.

This feature allows you to refine your search results based on specific criteria, such as:

  • Funding Use: Filter your list of matches by any of the funding uses you selected when you set up your project. This will allow you to focus on grants for particular uses, such as general operating expenses or project/program support.
  • Field of Work: Filter by Field of Work to narrow down your matches based on the specific focus areas you selected when you set up your project.
  • Location of Project: Filtering this way allows you to narrow down your results to only those that call out your location at a county level, rather than a state or national level.
  • Funder Type: Filter by type of funder (federal/state, foundation, or corporation).

Pro Tip:
Instrumentl will show you all matches for a project by default, even if one of the opportunities has previously appeared on your matches for a different project. If you want to see a list of new matches that have never been saved or hidden in another project, you can deselect the top two boxes under the Saved or hidden on other projects.

Keyword Search

You can also use the keyword search option to search through all the text in your list of good-fit matches. For instance, if you wanted to bring up any opportunities that specifically mention the word “police”, you could use the keyword search to do so.

Sort Matches

Finally, you can also sort your matches by:

  • Best Match: This is Instrumentl’s proprietary way of ranking your grants, placing opportunities that align most closely with the information you shared when you set up your project at the top of your list.
  • Deadline: Sorting this way lets you see opportunities with upcoming deadlines first.
  • Amount: This allows you to see opportunities from funders who give larger amounts at the top of your list.
  • New: This brings grants that have been recently added (within the last week) to the top of your matches list. The orange “New” tag signifies these opportunities. Instrumentl’s database is updated with new opportunities every week!

I personally love to sort by deadline so that I can see the opportunities with the quickest turnaround times first.

The team at Instrumentl understands how overwhelming and time consuming it can be to sort through long lists of funding opportunities. That’s why they’ve developed these tools and features to ease the burden on you and make your grant-search process seamless and pain-free!

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Tips for Developing Your Funding Strategy

We know you’re probably really excited to get started with your free trial. And we get it!

But before you dive in, let us share some tips and strategies for developing your funding strategy so that you are set up for success:

  1. Maximize Your Trial Period: Use the trial period to its fullest extent. Dive into Instrumentl’s features, including the grant database and its tracking features. Attend training sessions and webinars, and even dive into some blog articles to gain a deeper understanding of how Instrumentl can support your funding strategy.
  2. Set Clear Goals: Before you dive into your grant search, set clear goals and objectives for your funding strategy. What are the programs or projects your organization is focusing on? What new projects or expenses are you hoping to find grants to support? Defining these goals upfront will help you focus your grant-seeking efforts and ensure that you are targeting the right opportunities.
  3. Diversify Funding Sources: Explore grants from a variety of sources, including foundations, corporations, federal government agencies, and individual donors. Diversifying your funding streams is key to long-term financial sustainability and organizational resilience.
  4. Engage Your Team: Foster collaboration within your organization by tapping into Instrumentl’s collaboration tools. Add your team members to your Instrumentl account, assign and delegate tasks, and share good-fit funding matches with them. By harnessing the collective expertise and excitement of your team, you can strengthen your grant strategy and increase your chances of success.

By following these strategic steps, you can develop a comprehensive funding strategy that positions your nonprofit for long-term sustainability and success.

Wrapping Up

Instrumentl’s grant matching tool is one of the most powerful tools I’ve ever used as a grant professional. When I tell you it’s a game-changer, I’m not exaggerating!

Our fellow grant professionals agree. This success story from Jan Spackman, Director of Grants at Sleep in Heavenly Peace, speaks volumes as to the power of Instrumentl. After investing in Instrumentl, Jan and her team streamlined their grant processes so much that they doubled their revenue from $1 million to $2 million within one year!.

By leveraging Instrumentl’s comprehensive database, smart matching tools, and collaboration features, you can streamline your team’s grant-seeking process and maximize your chances of securing funding. Start your free trial with Instrumentl today and explore a wealth of funding opportunities tailored to your nonprofit’s needs.

Jessica Knapp

Jessica Knapp

Jessica Knapp is the State President and Chief Executive Officer of Communities In Schools Pennsylvania, the United States' largest dropout prevention organization. She has over 10 years of experience in nonprofit operations and leadership, program development, and fundraising/resource development.

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