PADM 3010: Foundations in Nonprofit and Philanthropy: Grant and Nonprofit Information Resources

A guide for PADM 3010 students, to using library resources

Nonprofit information

A note about the resources listed in the boxes below--

  • The Foundation Directory Online database is a great resource for grant prospecting. You can search Foundation Directory Online by subject and geography, to find funders who support nonprofits that match your search criteria. Search Foundation Directory Online by subject (what type of service your organization provides or population it serves) + geographic focus (the geographic area the organization serves).
  • Guidestar, while not very useful for grant prospecting, is a great tool for gathering detailed information about a nonprofit organization (either a funder or a recipient). Guidestar is also great for conducting a census of nonprofits in a given geographical area. Guidestar profiles contain details about the organization's programmatic activity, staffing, financial information (including staff salaries), history, and mission. Search for the name of your chosen nonprofit organization in Guidestar, to find details about your the organization you have selected to work with.

  • Grantspace is a website that contains many helpful articles and recorded webinars, related to nonprofit grant-seeking.

Foundation Directory Online (Subscription)

Foundation Directory Online

Foundation Directory Online contains profiles for grantmakers who fund organizations and includes:

  • Over 140,000 foundations, corporate donors, and grantmaking public charities
  • Over 3.2 million recent grants
  • Over half a million indexed trustee, officer, and donor names
  • Over 1 million IRS 990s—fully keyword-searchable
  • 54 search fields including keyword search
  • Detailed grantmaker profiles including contact information, key financial data, application information, and more

There are two versions of Foundation Directory Online (FDO): FDO Essential and FDO Professional. Both include the same funder profiles, but FDO Essential does not have all of the same bells as whistles as FDO Professional.

Foundation Directory Online Essential is temporarily available remotely to UNT and non-UNT community members. Users can set up a "day pass" that provides one 24-hour period of access every 30 days. To set up a day pass, create a free online FDO Essential account, then initiate the "day pass". More details on the day pass access model are available in the FDO Essential Day Pass Guide.

Foundation Directory Online Professional is available to UNT and non-UNT community members in-person on the desktop computers inside the Sycamore Library. For non-UNT users, Sycamore Library has two dedicated community use stations. If you need help finding these community-use computers stations, please ask at our service desk.

To access either FDO Essential or FDO Professional, you can click through the links above or go to, click on the "Databases" tab, search for the database name, and click through to either FDO option. Please email the subject librarian if you experience any trouble accessing the databases.

Foundation Directory Online video tutorials


Guidestar is a searchable directory that provides detailed information on many nonprofit organizations. It includes IRS-registered 501 nonprofit organizations that may accept tax-deductible contributions. Profiles of these organizations cover missions, programs, financials, leaders, and the IRS 990 filing from 1998 forward in most cases.

Guidestar is available remotely to all UNT community members. Non-UNT affiliated users can access Guidestar from any computer station in the Sycamore Library.

Resources to justify the need for programs

Grant applications require the applicant to describe the service that the nonprofit organization intends to provide and justify the need for that service in the community. Providing data to back up the need for service is always a good idea. For example, if you are asking for grant money to support services to homeless people in the community, you would want to provide data regarding the number of homeless individuals in the area and the lack of services available to help those individuals. Below are a few of the types of resources that you could use to gather information (but obviously you may need other types of data from sources not represented here).

Grant Space, a freely available website of Candid (formerly the Foundation Center), offers information and resources that are specifically designed to meet the needs of nonprofits worldwide in need of know-how for securing funding and operating effective organizations. At GrantSpace, you can-

•   View video recordings of live discussions with funders
•   Listen to podcasts featuring experts in the field
•   Get information about opportunities in your field of interest
•   Increase your expertise in fundraising and management
•   Attend training and events, in-person and online
•   Search for Funding Information Network locations by zipcode

Additional Links