Grant Search Databases, Pay or Free

Searching for grants? Looking for a database to speed the process along? There are numerous options, but two things you should consider before pulling the trigger. Consider the following before either buying or subscribing to a grant database tool, costs and time investment.

Cost is usually the number one consideration of those seeking to speed up their grant search process through purchasing a database subscription. Considering costs is completely understandable yet equally important is time investment; subsequently, consider the two together. For instance paying for a professional membership over a essential basic membership can be a difference of $199 vs. $49 monthly for Foundations Center (Candid) Online’s resource or $49 vs. $29 on Grantscape’s subscription. Do you need the extra bells and whistles? Will you use them? Will it involve time invested to train? Additionally, does a twelve month subscription, which is usually less per month but due upfront in one chunk, make sense?

More on costs, do you even need to pay for a grant search resource? If you are a member of Grant Professional Association or Chronicle of Philanthropy you have free access to GrantStation. Membership in many State nonprofit associations includes free or reduced access to grant research tools. Do you ever work with a consultant? Consultants often have subscription access. Your public library may have a membership as well that you can use at no cost.

More on time, how do you know what makes sense for you and your organization? Consider how much time you’ll be investing utilizing the subscription. Do you really need twelve months? You might, especially if your position is focused only on grant writing. Or will you look back after a twelve month subscription and realize you could have downloaded all the data you needed in one month? Or that due to all the other demands of your job you probably utilized it for less than a week when you add up the total time you were able to carve out.

Database subscriptions can be a great asset, but they can also be a recipe for frustration. You could find fifty grants in a day, but the reality is you most likely won’t have time to write them all, especially if grant writing is only part of your job description. Consider that when you are considering what to invest as you no doubt have a boss and/or board who may want to see a return proportional to the investment.

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