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Blog > Grant Connect: Get your Project Funded

Grant Connect: Get your Project Funded

posted on 11:49 AM, February 7, 2020

By Maria Lahiffe

Grant Connect is a fantastic resource to help you find grants that you could apply to, to fund the important work you do. It is a comprehensive database of granting organizations that Canadian not-for-profits could potentially apply to, including Canadian funders as well as some foreign funders who have awarded grants in the past to Canadian initiatives.

A Grant Connect subscription can be purchased from Imagine Canada. It is also available for free through many public libraries in Ontario, including the Ottawa Public Library. You will need a library card to access the service.

*Update May 1, 2020*
Because libraries and resource centres are closed due to COVID-19, Imagine Canada has made their Community Edition of Grant Connect available to Canadian charities for work-from-home access. Visit their website for more information, and to sign up.

Searching Grant Connect

You can search Grant Connect in three different ways:

  • Funders (by the type of project they fund)
  • Gifts (grants that have been awarded in the past)
  • People (key executives and board members with granting organizations)

This is what the screen looks like when you log in.


Funder Search

This is what the screen looks like:



Quick Lookup

You can use this if you know the name of a specific funder. You can enter in the funder’s name or charitable number to go directly to their information page.

You need to enter in the exact name. For example, at the time of writing, the Ottawa Community Foundation is listed as Community Foundation of Ottawa. If you search for the former, you will not get any results.

Search for grants in your area

The quick lookup will get you straight to a specific funder but will not help you find other potential organizations which might help you fund your work. I recommend you search for grants in your area, to see what other potential funding sources you could tap into.

Field of Activity / Population Served


You can click on the relevant field to get every organization which funds activities in that field. Alternately, you can hover over a field to get a list of sub-fields, and subsequently hover to get a list of sub-sub-fields, which will help to narrow your search to a more manageable number. You can see how many results fit your search by looking at the Show Results button. In the example,


If you select multiple fields of activity, then you will see the number of results go up.

Location of Organization or Initiative

This is a required field. If your initiative will serve multiple communities, enter them all.

Once you enter in a location, you will see the number of potential results go down. It will probably go back up as you enter in more locations.

Advanced search options

Use these if the number of potential results is still unwieldy, or if your funding needs are very specific (e.g. you need a large grant or none at all). You can narrow your search by deadline, average gift size, and other criteria. Each of these will narrow your search.

Search Results

Your results will appear in a table with clickable funder names, like the screenshot below. You can click on a header to order the results alphabetically by the information in that column.


You can display the results in Basic View or Application View. The difference is in the column headers. The above shows basic view. Here is what you see in Application View:


Funder Profile

A profile has the following sections:

  • Relationship management
  • Detailed Information
  • Financials and Gift History
  • Gift breakdown by sector
  • Contact information

Relationship management

This section will be useful if you buy your own subscription to Grant Connect because this is where you can track your communications with this funder, and the amount of money you asked for. This section appears in library accounts but “save” is disabled.


Quick Summary

This is where you’ll find out a lot about the organization, to give you a quick sense of whether they could be a good fit for your project. Some information you can find here includes the following:

  • Are they open to requests?
  • What range of grants do they award?
  • What are their funding interests?
  • In what geographic areas do projects have to be located in order to qualify?
  • Publications, such as annual reports and financial statements
  • Types of support
  • Funding restrictions
  • Application procedure
  • Evaluation criteria

Financials and Gift History

Here you will find information about the financial health of the organization, as well as what grants they have awarded in the past. You can search gift history by year, sector, province/state, and gift size. This will help you get a sense of how much this organization really supports projects in your sector.

You can also see a pie chart of the total gift breakdown by sector. For example, below is the pie chart for the Ottawa Community Foundation. Something nice about this pie chart is its interactivity. If you hover over a pie slice, then you can see which sector is represented, without having to consult the legend.


Contact Information

Lastly, you can get detailed contact information for the organization, including mailing address, phone number(s) and email address(es), which can help you develop a relationship with the funder and find out more about their grants. Remember that granting organizations WANT to give out money. They are motivated to help you put together a great grant application.

Gift Explorer

This is where you can find out what grants have been awarded in the past. This is useful to find out

  • Names of potential funders for your project
  • Get a sense of what funders are really likely to be a good fit for your project

You can also search by organization which has received grants. This can be useful to find out about the history of your own organization and potential partner organizations for your initiative.

Once you enter in your search criteria and click Show Results, you will get a table of results. Scroll down and you will see some summary lists. These are

  • Funders with the most results
    • These are the organizations which have been most active in supporting initiatives in this area – likely they are the best bets for future funding
  • Funders with the largest total amount
    • If you need a large grant, this gives you a good sense of the best funders to approach
  • Recipient organizations with most results
    • This can give you an idea of which organizations you may want to approach to partner for your project. You can go back to the top of the page, click Clear Selected Filters, and enter in an organization name in to the Granted to box, to find out more details about the specific grants that an organization has won.

People Seeker

This can be useful when you are seeking to expand your network of influential people who may be able to help you in your grant-seeking process. For example, you could search by city to get a list of all the grant-related influencers close to you. You could then give this list to your board, to find out if anyone has any personal connections to anyone on the list, and could give you an introduction. You can also look the people up on LinkedIn, and perhaps reach out to start a conversation.

What next?

Grant Connect is an invaluable tool to help you identify potential funders for your important work. The next step is to write a great grant proposal. Come to our upcoming course to learn how.

Click here to register Thursday, April 9, 2020. 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Volunteer Ottawa offers a comprehensive suite of courses related to all aspects of running a non-profit or a charity. Click here for our event calendar. Subscribe to our Event RSS Feed to be among the first to know when a new workshop is added to the schedule.

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