34 Grant Statistics for 2020

11/14/2020

Reviewing recent grant statistics from across the United States can help us better understand the grant world as well as the nature of giving today. 

From a few hundred dollars to billions in funding, grants change our world for the better each day. Funded by private institutions, nonprofits, and government entities, they help communities, organizations, and individuals across the world accomplish goals, spread knowledge, and ultimately create impact that makes all of our lives better.  

Look below to find the latest grant statistics (and their sources) from the industry, about grantmaking, grant seeking, grant writing, grant management, and more. 

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Federal grant statistics 

  • There are currently over 900 federal grant programs offered by 26 different grant-making agencies (grants.gov).
  • In 2019, the federal government distributed $721 billion to states and local governments, about 16% of the United States budget. About 61% of those grants were for health care, 16% income security programs, 9% transportation, 9% education, 9% training, 9% employment, and 9% social services (Tax Policy Center). 
  • In fiscal year 2019, the United State’s Health & Human Services sector awarded approximately $531 billion total in grants. This makes up 29% of all awarded federal grants (HHS). 
  • In 2019, the National Institute of Health (NIH) received 54,903 research project grants and funded 11,035, for an acceptance rate of 20% (NIH Data Book).
  • Between 2008 and 2019, Federal grants to states rose by 42% even after adjusting for inflation (Pew). 
There are currently over 900 federal grant programs offered by 26 different grant-making agencies.

Grantmaking foundations statistics 

  • There were 86,203 foundations in the United States in 2015, which funded grants totaling $62.8 billion. In the same year, 92 percent of foundations were independent organizations, while 3% were corporate and 1% were community organizations (Foundation Center). 
  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave more in 2015 than any other foundation, distributing $3.86 billion in grants (Foundation Center). 
  • In 2019, foundation giving increased to $75.7 billion, a 2.5% increase from 2018. That accounted for 17% of total giving in the United States (National Philanthropic Trust). 
  • Charitable giving increased in many sectors in 2019, including education (12.1%), public-society benefit (13.1%), arts, culture, and humanities (12.6%), and environment and animal organizations (11.3%) (National Philanthropic Trust). 
  • About 20% of nonprofit income is derived from grants as of 2020 (The Balance). 
  • As of 2020, only about 32% of foundations provide general operating support to their grantees. Only 18% provide capacity-building or organizational effectiveness grants to the majority of its grantees, while 29% of foundations say they provide any assistance beyond the grant itself (Center for Effective Philanthropy
  • A full 27 percent of donors say that technology has affected how they give to nonprofit organizations (Future of Philanthropy Report).
  • Individual donations accounted for 87% of all giving ($373 billion) in 2016 (Future of Philanthropy Report). 
  • A rising number donors, 41%, say that grantmaker transparency is an important factor in where they decide to give (Future of Philanthropy Report). 
There were 86,203 foundations in the United States in 2015, which funded grants totaling $62.8 billion.

Grant management software statistics 

  • The two biggest challenges faced by those who use grant management software are integrations (75%) and learning curve (72%). Other challenges included lack of customization, bugs, affordability, and lack of security (Software Advice). 
  • The two most common features/tools utilized in grant management software are document management (66%) and proposal creation (61%). Other leading uses are grant proposal submission, task reminders, grant discovery, reporting, and collaboration (Software Advice). 
  • The global grant management software market size is expected to grow from $1.1 billion in 2019 to $1.9 billion by 2024. North America will account for the largest market size. (MarketsandMarkets). 
  • Many grant management software users also use their software for other purposes. The top five alternative uses for grant management software are awards, scholarships, contests, conferences, and fellowships (Submittable). 
  • Before switching to grant management software, grantmakers reported the following issues: inefficient processes (80%), wasted time on administrative tasks (66%), difficulty organizing reviewers (55%), overwhelm with communications (46%), difficulty reporting on results (29%), and struggling with the quality or quantity of applications (14%) (Submittable). 

College and university grant statistics 

  • For the 2018-2019 school year, 135.4 billion dollars in grants were offered to students via institutional, governmental, and private sources (Statista). 
  • In 2019-2020, 4,860 United States residents applied for a Fulbright Student Grant and 793 were accepted, for an acceptance rate of 18 percent (ProFellow). 
  • In the 2017-2018 academic year, the federal government distributed 28.7 billion in Pell Grants, given to 7.2 million low-income undergraduate students who have not yet been awarded a bachelor’s degree. The average award was $3,800 per student and 80% of students came from families with an annual income below $40,000 a year (NASFAA). 
  • In the 2017-2018 academic year, one billion dollars in Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) was awarded to 1.5 million recipients, with an average award of $665 (NASFAA). 

Grant writing statistics 

  • Writing a single federal grant application takes a nonprofit an average of between 80 and 200 hours (The Balance). 
  • Grant writer hourly wages range from $20 to $100 an hour (Bureau of Labor Statistics). 
  • A grant writer applying for a combination of new and existing funders should have a success rate between 50 and 60%. A grant writer applying for new grants should have a success rate of 30 to 40%. A grant writer applying for existing grants (or expanding on existing grants) should have a success rate of about 80% (Funding for Good). 
Writing a single federal grant application takes a nonprofit an average of between 80 and 200 hours.

GrantStation Grant Seeking Report 

The latest GrantStation Grant Seeking Report synthesizes data from 2,838 respondents who applied for at least one grant in the last year—and is filled with important insights about the grantmaking world across mission, focus and organization size. 

Here are the highlights: 

  • The median largest individual award for grant seekers in 2019 was $69,100. 
  • The median largest individual award received from community foundations in 2019 was $10,800. 
  • The median largest individual award received from the federal government in 2019 was $425,000. 
  • In 2019, 75% of grant seekers who submitted an application won an award, while 94% percent of grant seekers who submitted three to five grant applications received at least one award. Of grant seekers who submitted six to ten grant applications, 98% received at least one award. 
  • In 2019, 82% of grant seekers reported acquiring funding from private foundations and 39% reported that private foundations were their largest source of funding. Another 37% reported that a private foundation was the source of their largest award. 
  • The median largest individual award received by small organizations with budgets under $100,000 was $7,350.
  • For very large organizations with annual budgets over $25 million, the median largest award was $1 million for the year. 
  • Organizations with a mission focused on animal welfare reported a median largest award of $10,000 in 2019. 
  • Organizations with a mission focused on human services reported a median largest award of $84,500 in 2019. 
  • Organizations with a mission focused on education reported a median largest award of  $1.1 million in 2019. 
  • Grant research, submission, and reporting took more than three days per grant for 40% grant seekers. Making a plan for the grant application and writing the grant took more than five days for 40% of the same group. 
The median largest individual award for grant seekers in 2019 was $69,100.

Learning from grant statistics 

How can we use these statistics to gain a deeper understanding of the grant world? Data can help us uncover trends and patterns, reveal issues and upcoming dangers, and let us know when we’re making progress. It can serve as a historical document of what grantmaking, grant seeking, and philanthropy were like as well as a roadmap to the future. 

Want to speed up your grant management process?

Submittable simplifies even robust grant review processes to save you time.

Sarah Aswell

Sarah Aswell is an editor and content strategist at Submittable. She’s also a writer and stand-up comedian who gets rejected via Submittable all the time. You can read her comedy criticism at Forbes, follow her on Twitter, or learn more about her creative work on her website.