Where do you get grants for small towns, rural places?

SaveYour.Town is not a grant writing service. We are not a grant finding service.

But folks often ask us about finding grants or finding grant writers.

We hate to just say, “No” and leave it at that. These are some of the tips and ideas that work for most small towns and rural communities.

Networking and building connections are how you find grants for small towns.

Deb and I brainstormed these tips for networking your way to grants and funding.

Who currently writes grants in your town or covers your area?

Visit with people involved in local governments, churches and local nonprofit organizations, and find out what they are doing to get outside funding.

Use social media!

Ask around online. Who knows what grants are available? What kind of grants have they used before? 

Explore local, regional, state and territory foundations

Many places have community foundations that offer grants or know who does.

Check the records

Talk to past organization leaders and explore old records. Look at newspaper articles. How have people raised funds before? 

Ask around in regional networks

Who in other towns has written some grants? Who will share their success stories?

Ask appropriate agencies

If you’re working on a historic structure, find out what agencies handle historic preservation in your state or territory. If it’s a business project, find out who handles economic development or commerce duties.

Don’t overlook tourism, arts and humanities groups for more ideas. If these agencies don’t make grants, they likely have ideas for you.

Check groups of governments

Look into your state or territory league of cities, municipal league or association of cities. (The name varies by territory.) They work with small towns, too, and some are great resources for finding grants.

Another good place to research are your local councils of government.

Subscribe to grants lists

These two USA-centric email newsletters are worth subscribing to for lots of grant leads:

Deb and I also list some other grants or funds towns have used to bring us as speakers.

Oklahoma rural example:

For example, certain rural Oklahoma counties qualify for Rural Arts Opportunity Grants from the Oklahoma Arts Council, so we have more information about using them here.

What would you add?

I bet you have more ideas, leads and suggestions. We’d love to have you add those in the comment box below, or just reply to any email from us.


Your advice is good. K-State Research and Extension teaches grant writing, in fact, ordinary citizens have reported writing $38 million of successful grants within one year of taking our class. We give a list of “where to look for grants” and teach “how to look for grants” and finally, we will look for grants for you. I am inspired by the number of retirees who “make a difference” by writing grants for their community.

Another thing that Nancy taught me is that some universities (like Kansas State University) and Extension programs have subscriptions to grant databases they can share and will teach you how to use them!