20+ Ways To Find New Charity Funders - Grant Makers & Donors

Fundraising is incredibly tough, so here are 20+ ideas to find new charity grant funders and donors.

Find New Funders To Support Your Cause

The free Funding Finder Database has its own funders and is updated weekly, but also has links to 100s of other free funding databases and online funder lists, giving you click through to a huge range of funders, and you can download 50 funding lists from the income questionnaire; everything is free. Register Now to get started and join the 15k other members of the Charity Excellence Community. 

Find New Funders Using Pre-researched Lists

Everybody is really busy and funding research can be a bit of a black art, so the Charity Excellence Framework makes it easier for you, by including dozens of funder lists, some with 100s of funders, including - core costs, corporate foundations, buildings & equipment, disability, education, health, IT and tech, individuals & families, social enterprises, social welfare, start-ups, older people, small charities, unregistered charities, and young people. Simply download the one you want from the income questionnaire, job done.

Don't Just Focus On A Single Type Of Funding

If you're looking for tech, there are funders for that, but always think more broadly too. If you're young people's charity, there are lots of funders who may well be interested and also think about what you will achieve. For example, you may be improving mental health or learning and there are funders for those too.

And there are also funders for general charitable purposes, who don't have specific requirements on the type of funding. You can search for these using 'General Funding' in Funding Finder, or download the funder research list for General Charitable Purposes, from the income questionnaire. It has 3000 general funders.

Find New Funders, Already Engaged With Your Cause

Download the annual accounts of sister charities, from the Charity Comission website, and look to see who has funded them, as these are funders who are already engaged with your kind of work.

Find Newly Registered Trusts, Via the Charity Commission

Use the advanced search function. Select ‘How the charity operates’ from the drop down menu and then click on ‘Grants to individuals’ or ‘Grants to Charities’. For newly registered trusts and foundations, use the registration date to find those that have been recently registered. And don’t forget that OSCR (Scotland) and CCNI (Northern Ireland) have register search tools too.  Alternatively, Charity Excellence has funder research lists, including newly registered trusts in each of the UK countries, in the income questionnaire, that have already been downloaded and formatted for you.    

Find New Funders, Online

Or ask Mr Google to help you find people and companies who may potentially be willing to help. As all things Internet, this can become time consuming if you let it, but could be a great role for a home working volunteer. You can also use GrantNav to search, explore and download UK grant data.

Get Others To Help You Find New Funders Online

There are a whole range of platforms that match charities to potential supporters, businesses and donors. The CEF has a list of 70+ fundraising platforms, including a number that can match you to potential donors.


Doing more of what you’re good at makes sense, but so does trying something new and it also helps to diversify your income. Each fundraising technique has its own benefits, albeit it almost always takes time and at least some investment. There are lots of options to choose from. The CEF has an entire fundraising strategy toolkit in the Maximising Income questionnaire, but you can find some guidance I’ve published here. 

Finding New Funding Sources, Don’t Forget Government Grants

Finding New Funding Sources, Don’t Forget Government Contracts .

  • Contracts Finder - public sector contracts and e mail alerts.
  • Supply Change- platform for social enterprises to promote themselves to secure contracts.  It doesn't say if this is free, or not. 
  • Open Ops- commercial, but contract data is free, claims to have more that Contracts Finder and it works globally.

Use Your Assets and Skills To Earn Income

Are you making maximum use of these? Options include leasing land or property, hosting events, room hire or hot desking, or using your expertise to deliver training, or other paid for services. If it’s primary purpose trading (part of your charitable objectives) or below the threshold, there’s no corporation tax liability. If there is, create a trading company. 

Consider New Methods of Funding, Because Why Not?

Try the Good Finance online social investment tool or Big Society Capital. Here are 13 things you ought to know, before considering social investment. Here’s a Social Impact Bond toolkit and another to find investors, funds and advisers. For peer learning, mentoring and resources, try this.


They already believe in what you do, so might they be able to give more, more often, or in new ways?

Grow Current Relationships, By Reaching Out

Check with your trustees, high level supporters and anyone else relevant, to see if any of them have a relationship with trusts, companies, or people with money, networks, influence or status who may be willing to help you.

Grow Current Relationships, By Reaching Out Systematically

Do a 'proper job', by copying the names of the key people in your target trusts, companies and other funders, and paste them into a list to circulate. You might even create a fundraising/development committee to actively grow and develop your networks and influence, to find new funders. There are ready made Terms of Reference for such a committee, in the CEF online toolkit. 

Upgrade Your Existing Donors And Supporters

Our volunteers and one-off or small amount donors have already shown they are engaged with your work. Some of these will almost certainly have useful contacts/networks, or be interested in becoming a regular donor, or potentially have the capacity to donate more. In your communications, are you making them aware of how they could do more, if they wish to? And are there any you might specifically wish to cultivate? 

Engage Your Existing Donors In Helping You

They already love what you’re doing and an endorsement from them carries real weight. Consider if some of them may be prepared to recommend you to their contacts who may themselves be interested in your work.

Rekindle Old Relationships, Check Your CRM/Files

Check your CRM or fundraising files, to identify who supported you in the past. These may be a long-time ago, but they liked you enough to fund you and there may still be someone around who has/had a relationship with them.

Rekindle Old Relationships, Check Your Accounts

Check your old annual statutory accounts, in which you thanked your funders.


Think about trying new ways to find and engage funders.

Show Your Work Off And Engage Face-To-Face

How do I get face-to-face meetings and engage people more? Invite them to your events. When event planning, think about whom you could invite from any of your networks or activity above, with a view to engaging them more and finding out how they might be interested in helping.

When you know who’s coming, identify those you wish to engage, what you might realistically achieve from the event (usually not an ask!) and whom amongst your team should seek them out and talk to them.

If They Won’t Come To You, Go To Them

If you don’t have events, or getting people to come along is difficult, go to them. Think about local business groups, company events, or other activities where the people you meet do to, then send your CEO, chair or someone else to these. If you can get a speaking slot (Rotary, Lions, community group, whatever), better still.   

Stay Up-To-Date On Funding Sources And Good Ideas

Sign up for bulletins and newsletters. The CEF Help area includes a range of these and new funding sources are included in the CEF Newsletter each month. You can also join charity social media groups - the CEF has a list of over 30 in the communications questionnaire. You'll learn just by following the conversations and group members are usually only too willing to help others.

Get Expert Help To Secure Funding

There are more than 10,000 trust in the UK, distributing more than £2bn each year, so there is merit in considering engaging a professional to help you find the most suitable. The CEF runs a fundraising freelancer register, as a charitable activity, that is both free to join and use. Contact me at charityexcellence@gmail.com if you wish to know more.


There isn't enough funding and there isn't going to be, so we need to change our mindset and think about other ways in which we can make the numbers add up. 

Claim What You’re Already Entitled To – Gift Aid

Each year, we fail to claim £600m in Gift Aid. There are several types and it might appear a bit complicated, so here’s everything you need to know and how to do it.

Claim What You’re Already Entitled To – All The Other Stuff

Ever heard of Employment Allowance, did you know that there are more than a dozen VAT reliefs alone or that you can claim back tax relief, up to 4 years retrospectively? The CEF helps you find out what you're not claiming, but should be, and then links you to the resources you need; run 'Tax Reliefs' in the query system. If you haven’t joined us yet, here’s everything you need to know to make sure you’re getting yours

Why Pay, When You Can Get It For Free?

The Charity Excellence mantra! There are 200+ organisations that provide free goods, services and help on the system itself, but you can find lots here.

Best Of All, Don’t Waste Money and Resources In The First Place!

Managing the limited resources we have better, is more controllable, often quicker, gives funders greater value for money and delivers increased impact for beneficiaries. Moreover, this is something we're not all very good at, so there can be real opportunities. You know the story by now – the system does it all for you but, if you really don’t want to join our community, use the COVID19 How To Save Money, Without Cutting Costs Toolkit. 

Access All The Free Fundraising Resources

The fundraising resources on this website are just a few from the huge CEF resource base, including the income assessment questionnaire to enable you to secure more funding, the Funding Finder Database’s 100+ core funders, 250+ other free funder databases and funder lists, and the 50 funder lists, and a huge range of fundraising guides and toolkits; everything is free. 

Register Now to join the 12k other members of the Charity Excellence Community. 

The questions are phrased brilliantly - challenging how we prioritise our management time." Ecosystems Knowledge Network

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