Prospect Research Databases & Online Search Tools

Foundation Directory Online

Foundation Directory Online (FD0) is the premier industry database for uncovering grant opportunities from private funders, including corporations, foundations, and family foundations.

FDO requires a membership to access the database. Pricing is tiered at levels related to access in the database.

Grant Station

Grant Station is another industry database for uncovering grant opportunities from private funders, including corporations, foundations, and family foundations. It is similar to FDO, but less search friendly.

Grant Station requires a membership to access services. Pricing is tiered at yearly levels.

GuideStar –

The world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations. Includes a searchable database of 990s.

GuideStar is a free service with registration of an account.

National Center for Charitable Statistics

The national clearinghouse for data on the nonprofit sector in the United States. Look up the 990s of charitable donors. Includes a searchable database with listings by state, county, and more.

NCCS is a free service.


LexisNexis is a standard academic research database that offers a customized prospect research option for fundraising professionals looking for foundation and individual donors.

LexisNexis is a fee-based service.


Government database of federal grant opportunities searchable by category, agency, and eligibility. is a free service provided by the U.S. Government.

Use keywords to search websites across the Internet.

Free, online database. Accessible via any web-enabled device.

Facebook/Twitter  or 

Follow donors’ social media accounts or the accounts of nonprofit organizations to get notifications about RFPs, learn about funding interests, and more. Create an account and/or profile for your organization to help publicize your efforts, gather members of your community, and connect with donors.

Facebook and Twitter are free services with registration of an account.

Donor Search

Independent company with a customized donor-prospect research database. Includes wealth-screening tools for individual donors, and a number of additional research-based resources. Training and support is also available.

Donor search is a primarily fee-based service with some free resources.

Grantmaker Associations (Common Grant Applications) –

Many states have grantmaker associations. Members of these associations include companies, foundations, family foundations, and some individual donors. Members also typically utilize a common grantmaking process through the association, often referred to as a Common Grant Application.

Donor information published by grantmaker associations are generally accessible at no cost. Refer to your state’s database for guidelines.


Mapping and search tool for major foundations, philanthropists, celebrities, politics, and more. Not a universal search tool like Foundation Directory, etc.

Muckety is a free service. (Center for Responsive Politics) –

Searchable database of political donors, campaign contributions, and other “soft money” donations. Political campaign contributions are a helpful indicator of wealth for individual donors. is a free service.

Wealth Engine –

Web-based wealth screening and prospect research service for individual donors.

WealthEngine is a fee-based service.


Prospect Research/Grant Writing Resources, Trainings, Webinars

Grant Training Center

Expert resources for nonprofit professionals. Includes a variety of knowledge-building resources related to grant writing, prospect research, and more.

The Foundation Center

Host site of Foundation Directory Online. Includes access to a variety of resources related to resource development, including webinars, training guides, and more.

Federal Grant Learning Center

Guidance and learning tools for federal government grant opportunities.

Donor Search

In addition to a customized prospect research database, the site also offers webinars, white papers, step-by-step guides, and more to advance knowledge related to prospect research.


Resources, including webinars, for individual prospect research. Includes ability to download slides and recordings from past webinars.

Prospect Research Institute

Online learning community for the field of nonprofit fundraising research. Includes online courses, membership community, and other educational content.


Website with a diversity of resources related to grant writing.

Nonprofit Guides

Free grant-writing tools for nonprofit organizations.



First Nations Development Institute

Sign up for news and information from First Nations, including funding opportunity announcements.

Grant Station Insider

Includes summaries of grant opportunities and other information about prospect research and grant writing. Sign up for listserv.


Sign up for daily listings of new funding opportunity announcements from various agencies within the federal government.

Philanthropy News Digest (PND) | Foundation Center

Publications of RFPs, charitable giving, and more. Search RFPs by categories of giving. Also includes a blog with opinion and commentary related to fundraising and other nonprofit-related situations or issues. Sign up for listserv.

Nonprofit Quarterly

Independent nonprofit news organization. Sign up for newsletters that include charitable giving information, RFP announcements, and more. Website also includes web-based resources, such as webinars.

The Nonprofit Times

Business-based publication for the philanthropic sector. Sign up for newsletters that include charitable giving information, RFP announcements, and more.

Nonprofit with Balls

Light-hearted, humorous blogging about the nonprofit world, including various fundraising topics


A light-hearted take on all things nonprofit-related. Social media account often offers Q&A sessions related to some of the more difficult situations that befall executive leaders and staff members at nonprofits.


Provides premium nonprofit training webinars and support materials. Includes live and recorded webinars, tutorials, free courses, and more. Sign up for newsletter.

Consultant Blogs – Various

Many grants and prospect-research professionals write blogs that are published on their websites or other platforms and cover a diversity of topics.

Professional Memberships

Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA)

Premier international organization serving professionals in prospect development. Provides help to advance fundraising efforts, including trainings, networking, webcasts, and more.

Website includes a collection of links designed to help prospect researchers in their work.

Grant Professionals Association (GPA)

Organization focused on the advancement of grantsmanship as a profession and support of its practitioners. Offers professional certifications, networking, trainings, webinars, conferences, and more. Membership includes a discount for Foundation Directory Online. Sign up for newsletter.

Council on Foundations

Nonprofit leadership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. Provides information on a variety of resources related to resource development. Offers professional conferences and webinars for training purposes.

Independent Sector

Leadership network for nonprofits, foundations, and corporations. Represents tens of thousands of organizations and individuals locally, nationally, and globally. Provides a number of resources related to philanthropy, including conferences and trainings.

Native Americans in Philanthropy

Promotes reciprocity and investment in, with, and for Native peoples. A powerful and growing network of Native and non-Native nonprofits, tribal communities, foundations, and community leaders. Includes a number of philanthropic-focused resources, as well as a newsletter.

Association of Donor Relations Professionals (ADRP)

Advance philanthropy through elevating donor relations and stewardship. Includes access to a listserv for real-time connections with other fundraising professionals.

National Council of Nonprofits

Resource and advocate for charitable nonprofits in the United States. Encompasses the nation’s largest network of nonprofits, and includes state-based associations. Web-based resources for philanthropy basics. A newsletter is available.

Other Important Learning Tools

The Chronicle of Philanthropy

The Chronicle is the standard for nonprofit industry news. The website includes both free and subscription resources. The Chronicle also publishes a hard copy/online magazine.

The Chronicle provides a vast array of resources for nonprofits, including webinars, tool kits, and more. How America Gives search tool allows organizations to spotlight charitable giving statistics across a variety of categories. The Chronicle partners with Grant Station for its prospect research tool.

State, Regional & Local Community Foundations & Resource Centers – Varies

Various community foundations at the state, regional, and local levels can provide access to potential donors and offer resources related to skill development within the philanthropic sector. Offerings may include webinars, trainings, RFPs, conferences, and more.

Nonprofit Hub

Online education community for nonprofits. Includes a variety of resources related to fundraising. Sign up for newsletter.

Nonprofit Tech for Good

Social and mobile media resource for nonprofit professionals. Resources related to nonprofit technology, online communications, and mobile and social fundraising.


There are several grant-development and prospect-research groups on LinkedIn. Ask questions of fellow resource development professionals, access blogs, and more.


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