5 Ways to Seek Corporate Giving

Corporatefunders-blogCorporate companies support nonprofits in a variety of different ways, FDO offers a window into many of them. The following are some of the more common means by which companies give.

  1. Company-sponsored foundation – A company-sponsored foundation is a separate entity from the corporation. Approaching a company foundation for a grant is just like applying to any other type of foundation. There are usually guidelines and an application process, and these details – as well as a giving history – can be found in FDO.
  2. In-kind gifts – Many companies prefer to donate their own products or services to nonprofits. Called “in-kind support,” this can be a good way for a nonprofit to start a relationship with a company. For example, if you run a soup kitchen, you might approach a food company or local supermarkets for supplies. To find companies that offer in-kind donations in FDO, find Transaction Type under Advanced Search & Filters, and select “in kind gifts.
  3. Corporate giving programs – A corporate giving program is administered by the company itself, often through a dedicated department such as Community Relations. Tracking down corporate giving programs can be challenging. When available, FDO will have contact information and guidelines about these types of programs, but seldom prior giving information
  4. Workplace giving – Workplace giving encompasses a number of different programs that encourage and facilitate employees’ donations of cash and/or volunteer time to nonprofits in their communities.

Tip: Find out where your volunteers and donors work to find employees that can act as your cheerleader.

Some of the more popular workplace giving programs offered by corporations are:

  • Employee Matching Gifts: Employers will sometimes match employees' charitable contributions.
  • Volunteer Support Programs: Employees who volunteer in their communities make their companies look good, and employers may offer what’s called “Dollars for Doers" – providing grants to nonprofits their employees support. Also, if you need volunteers, some companies will help organize groups of employees for various nonprofit projects.
  • Pro bono expertise: Some companies will “donate” their professional expertise.
  • Annual Giving Campaigns: Donations through Payroll Deductions can also be set up for employees who wish to effortlessly donate to a worthy cause. However, usually nonprofits must be affiliated with a “pass through” organization, like the United Way or the Combined Federal Campaign.

Utilize the Transaction Type filter under Advanced Search & Filters to search for grantmakers who support these types of Workplace giving.

5. Corporate sponsorship / Cause-related marketing – Both of these are advertising opportunities, and therefore must be entered into thoughtfully. It’s worthwhile to note,

donors could perceive a nonprofit as “selling out” to a company not seen as socially responsible.

Think like a marketer – what products or services do your donors or clients likely use, and what companies offer them? Also, don’t ignore small businesses in your community.

The key thing to keep in mind when approaching companies for any type of support is that they are profit-making enterprises and are looking for some kind of “return on investment” for their philanthropic dollars. Motivations for giving might include getting their name in front of potential customers, keeping their employees happy, or burnishing their reputation in their communities. Your job is to discover what they want and convince them that supporting you is a win-win for all involved.

 

Lori Guidry - Foundation Center San Francisco Lead

As City Lead for Foundation Center West, Lori oversees Foundation Center public services and programming for the social sector in the Bay Area — helping nonprofits in the region find the information and tools they need to be successful. She has worked in information services for more than 15 years, specializing in business and marketing topics, including corporate social responsibility. A native of Chicago, she earned her Masters in Library & Information Science from Dominican University in River Forest, IL.

September 17, 2018

Explore New Funding Prospects with Recipient Profiles

 

Leverage Grant Recipient profiles:

  • Discover new funding opportunities
  • Help shape your prospecting strategy
  • Quickly gain fundraising insights

 

 

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Recipient Profiles help you discover new prospects you may have missed in your grant search and help you understand how to approach funders. Now you can easily gather key fundraising insights using FDO’s interactive Recipient Charts. You can access Recipient Profiles and all insights on grant recipients in FDO Professional.

View the data in Recipient Charts by Grant Amounts or Number of Grants using the toggle bar.

 

[Tip 1] Who's funding your mission?

Recipient Charts give you quick insights on the types of funders giving to your mission.

 

[Tip 2] Where are relevant funders located?

View the proximity of funders giving to peers from as close as the same city, town, or region (neighboring states) to as far as another country.

 

[Tip 3] How large are grants awarded to your cause?

Understand how much funders are giving to peers and the size of those grants to see how much those funders most commonly give. Use this chart to help inform you on how much to request.

 

Get Started-blog

 

Video-icon-blogSee more on FDO’s recipient profiles>

 

Turn Insights Into Action, Connect with Funders

 

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Ready to take the next step in your grant search? Now that you’ve had some time to search for prospects and started building your prospect list, use these three steps to convert prospects to funders.

 

[Tip 1] Start with Who’s Who

Review the list of staff and affiliations within your chosen grantmaker profiles by navigating to the Who’s Who section of the grantmaker profile.

 

[Tip 2] Leverage FDO to connect with funders

See who you’re connected to at the foundation with FDO’s LinkedIn integration. The LinkedIn icon will appear next to staff you are connected to—click on the LinkedIn icon to open their profile from FDO (functionality accessible in Professional only). To see your connections to grantmakers make sure you’re also signed in to LinkedIn. 

 

[Tip 3] Reach out to prospects

Look beyond searching for open RFPs and connect with funders who fit your work and mission. Understand funders’ priorities and start cultivating partnerships. Introductions are one of the most effective ways to open the door with a new funder.

Have you tried these FDO top tips on how to approach funders? Take the next step and reach out to funders that match your organization’s mission and program. You can also apply these best practices and view this FDO sample outreach letter from our development expert.

 

Get Started-blog

 

Video-icon-blogSee FDO’s LinkedIn Integration in action>

 

Make the Most of Your Grantmaker Results & FDO’s Latest Insights

 

We add nearly 100,000 new grants and RFPs weekly, so you can always have access to the latest grantmaker data and insights. Equipped with these insights, strengthen your proposals to make them most appealing to funders.

 

Leverage Grantmaker profiles:

  • Discover how closely they align to your mission
  • See how much funders are giving to your subject area
  • Keep abreast of grantmaker updates
  • See who they are funding
  • Learn how to apply
  • Access key decision makers with our LinkedIn integration

 

DataVisualizations-NewFDO

 

[Tip 1] Save Your Searches

FDOsave-icon-blogWhen you’ve completed a search that you might like to review again later, make sure you use the Save icon at the top of your search results. You can then find your saved search in Workspace or on your homepage.

With your FDO search results, sort by any column to view prospects using the different data points (amount funded, grant count, total giving, city, state, or by name) depending on what you’re looking for.

 

[Tip 2] Utilize the Grants Data Specific to Your Mission

With each of your searches, see how much funders are giving to your cause based on your search criteria in the Amount Funded column.  Amount Funded is adjusted based on your search criteria. (Details on Grants available in Professional).

 

[Tip 3] Get Insights from the Interactive Charts & Map

From the grantmaker profiles, use the interactive charts and map presented at the top to see if it is a funder you would like to keep on exploring and if the funder might be a fit.

Drill down into the charts and map to view more detail on the funders’ mission priorities (Grantmaker Charts & Map are interactive in FDO Professional only). Once assessing the grantmaker, you can then pull key data points on the grantmakers’ giving aligned to your mission from these charts and map. Explore the grantmakers’ grants and recipients to further understand the funder’s mission and giving alignment. What you learn about funders from the grantmaker profiles will also help you approach your best matched funders.

 

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Ensure you don’t miss a qualified funder:

Within each grantmaker profile, use Other Funders to Consider to guide you in your search for additional funders that have similar giving patterns based on subject area, geographic area served and grant amounts.

 

Receive Grantmaker Updates in Your State with FDO’s Update Central

Keep up-to-date on grantmakers’ leadership changes, new priority areas and support changes, plus find out about new grantmakers in your state with Update Central. You can sign up to receive monthly email updates about grantmakers, or run customized reports by state directly in FDO’s Update Generator. Access Update Central by navigating to the Workspace menu and selecting Update Central. Update Central is accessible in FDO Professional.

 

Get Started-blog

 

Video-icon-blog Tour FDO’s grantmaker profile features>

 

Welcome to your handy FDO Guide

 

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[Tip 1] Optimize Your Searches Using the Global Search Bar

 

Search FDO as you would any search engine and get results specific to your grantseeking needs. Begin your search directly from your homepage when you log into your account.

One search for all your needs yields: grantmakers, grants, and recipients – it’s that easy!

Simply enter a short phrase that describes your work into the global search bar— such as your field of work and where you are looking to be funded. You can now search more intuitively than ever to find what you’re looking for.

Remember, it’s best to start your search broadly as grantmakers classify their funding support in many different ways. For example, start your search with “performing arts in New York City” instead of “ballet in New York City.” Drill deeper and see if these grantmakers and grants fit your needs. What you learn from a grantmaker profile will also help you refine your funder search. Include the city your nonprofit is in in your search – and search broader by searching using state – to get a sense of what organizations are sending dollars to your region.



[Tip 2] Searching for Organizations by Name

 

Interested in a particular foundation? If you want to search for a specific organization by name, click Search by Organization below the global search bar or use the Organization Name field in Advanced Search & Filters, instead of using the global search bar.

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[Tip 3] Leverage Advanced Search & Filters to Drill Further

Use Advanced Search & Filters to refine your broader search results. With insights from the grantmaker, grant and recipient profiles, consider how you might want to filter further— for example, you may want to see specific transaction types or grants in a certain dollar range. With Advanced Search you can also search for specific geolocations, funders, recipients, or even staff. 

Only use as many additional filters as required so you don’t miss a funder that may be interested in your work!

 

Select from the drop-down menu options or use the type-ahead feature in the Advanced Search & Filters fields to help frame your search—this will give you other ways to define what you’re looking for and help you identify the results you need.  

 

Now You’re Ready:

  • Find your best matched funders
  • Get the most up-to-date insights on funders
  • Dive into the giving landscape relevant to your mission
  • Discover the decision makers and connect to funders
  • Leverage grantmaker and recipient profiles to win grants with targeted proposals

 

Get Started-blog

 

Video-icon-blogSee FDO's search in action>

 

August 29, 2018

The Board’s Role in Fundraising for Your Organization

Board Fundraising

Getting the board to fundraise can be a very challenging experience even when board members recognize that a primary responsibility of every nonprofit board is ensuring that the organization has the resources it needs to meet its mission.

One of the first things that can help is to distinguish between “Fundraising” and “Development.”  “Fundraising” is an activity with a beginning, middle and an end that results in dollars, while “Development” can be seen as an ongoing, never-ending process of acquiring a wide range of resources for the organization.  All board members can participate in both areas in a number of ways including:

  • Ensuring that there is a viable development plan in place
  • Partnering with staff to meet annual fundraising goals
  • Helping to identify and cultivate potential donors
  • Owning their responsibility to act as ambassadors for the organization
  • Making a personal gift
  • Soliciting donations from their extended personal universe
  • Helping to create and maintain a culture of philanthropy throughout the organization

To elevate the board’s capacity to engage in fundraising, it can be helpful to engage an outside consultant or consulting firm to facilitate and inform a discussion about the thorny issues that might emerge. A neutral party can help keep the conversation at both a high-level - connected to passion, values, mission and best practices - and a practical level that explores individual challenges, identifies the dynamics of effective fundraising, discusses ways to overcome resistance and examines how a person’s own relationship to money influences their ability to fundraise.

Here are some tips to effectively engage your board to fundraise:

  • Implement a strategic plan that clearly communicates the board’s fundraising goals
  • Create a compelling vision of what the board is fundraising for and be clear in messaging
  • Encourage the board to leverage their network of contacts to achieve their development goals
  • Establish mechanisms for accountability among board members and inspire teamwork

Want to learn more about the dynamics of effective fundraising? Join me on Thursday, September 6 for the live webinar How to Establish Expectations for Board Fundraising. No one is born knowing how to do this and some people will be naturally better and more able than others.  That said, clear expectations, a strong board/staff partnership, ongoing training, a deep understanding of the program, an engaging mix of stories and statistics, and a deep understanding of how each board member contributes to the development process can make any board member a successful fundraiser.

Frank Abdale, Senior Associate Consultant, Support Center

View Bio

 

August 16, 2018

Key Steps to Fundraising Success

 

 

Did you know 90% of foundations don’t have websites?

Foundation Directory Online gives you access to key information you need to win funding — find that funder today through FDO! You can search over 140,000 grantmakers and easily see how much support they give, based on your specific mission. Build stronger prospect lists through grant and peer funding insights to win that funding you need to succeed.

FDO-info-blog

FDO is everything you need in one fundraising tool. Subscribe to FDO today!

July 23, 2018

How to Leverage Your Nonprofit Data to Win Corporate Grants

Corporate 350Data is literally everywhere.  Every search done on Google or every second spent on LinkedIn is collected and converted to data.  According to Internet Live Stats, Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second or 3.5 billion searches per day - that is just one internet platform!  Companies are taking enormous amounts of data, analyzing it and translating it into strategic insights. Those insights help make strategic decisions in real time across the entire organizational enterprise.  This includes, how they engage with cause partners in corporate social responsibility activities.

Companies used to form a foundation or community relations team and task those staff members with defining what good the company would do in the world.  For the most part, the corporate social responsibility initiatives were decided amongst these teams and the nonprofits supported were chosen based on C-suite executive interest. Meaning that executive had a passion for a particular cause, giving pillars were created, and the chosen nonprofit qualified for one of those categories. Unfortunately, the cause partners were not chosen based on sophisticated data and the outcomes of the partnership were certainly not measured for complex impact.

Luckily the process has changed - companies are now using data analysis to not only decide what causes to partner with, but to analyze the value of that partnership for their overall brand and business outcomes.  

What does that mean for nonprofit causes?

In response to the more sophisticated analysis by companies, nonprofits must measure outcomes and must report those specific outcomes to their corporate partners.  That measurement has to be more sophisticated than ever before to justify the relationship. The nonprofits that understand they have to measure outcomes and proactively provide that data to their corporate partners are the ones that are succeeding – and raising more money for the cause.  

 

Let’s take a look at what nonprofits used to measure and the info provided to their corporate partners:

  • Donor or constituent age/gender/ethnicity
  • Total campaign impressions garnered in the marketplace around any activities done together
  • Celebrity brand interaction

 

Companies are looking for more measurements from their cause partners in today’s Big Data environment - it falls into three main categories:

  • Cause Impact - what did the company’s time, talent and resources do for the cause in the communities in which they do business.  
  • Constituent Impact - how did employees and consumers respond to the partnership with the cause
  • Return on Investment - what return on investment did the company get from the partnership with the cause

 

Learn how your nonprofit can successfully measure data on August 16 at 2:30 EST during the webinar How To Use Data To Raise More Money From Corporations. Maureen Carlson will break down what specific data and measurements companies are looking for from their nonprofits partners, and the best way to deliver that data!

July 12, 2018

Improved FDO Organization Search: Delivering you better ways to find funding

Organization search just got even easier in new FDO. We listened to the valuable feedback of FDO subscribers and worked hard to redesign your search by organization experience. Our goal is to continuously evolve FDO to ensure we bring you the best grant prospecting tool available.

What’s new?

Use the Organization Name search box to look for a Foundation or peer Grant Recipient*.  When you enter an organization name, a full list of organizations will appear. This new layout is much easier to navigate, to ensure you can easily find organizations. You can now define if you want to see Grantmakers only or Recipients only, or both.  

To view a profile directly, click on the flyout icon in the top right hand corner. 💡Tip: You may also select multiple organizations and all will appear in your search results.

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We look forward to sharing other future FDO developments with you all. Happy fundraising!   

*Recipient profiles available in Professional subscription only

June 19, 2018

FDO Drives Innovation in Grants Prospect Research Using AI

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AI and machine learning are driving change every day to improve communities and solve crucial problems in sectors such as education and public health. AI powers everyday services like Facebook newsfeed or Netflix recommendations to personalize your experience. The ability to leverage data for insights is a prerequisite for keeping pace with rapid changes in the philanthropic sector so that nonprofits and donors can stay abreast and be better prepared to respond — and machine learning is just one way to achieve this.

AI and machine learning have been at the core of Foundation Directory Online (FDO) for the last several years. Foundation Center’s data scientist, David Hollander, took us through the implementation of AI and machine learning to make our fundraising research tool possible, and starter tips for nonprofits interested in the potential of AI and machine learning for their organization.  

Making FDO Possible

Machine learning powers the grantmaker, grant and recipient results you achieve through FDO every day. Machine learning has accelerated the process of coding grants based on Foundation Center’s expert Philanthropy Classification System. The algorithms in FDO are constantly trained and improved to achieve better results. This is how FDO is able to match user queries to their most likely funders. It also enables FDO to gather deeper insights and provide grant data analytics for prospect research. FDO handles vast amounts of data that is parsed and analyzed using AI and machine learning. Powered by our data team’s expertise and supported with machine learning, we are now able to deliver more grant data and insights than ever before.

Every year Foundation Center codes a record number of grants for FDO facilitated by AI and machine learning. The more data that is fed into FDO, the more the algorithm trains and improves – and with a record number of grants being coded, the faster FDO learns and improves, empowering FDO users with the most comprehensive data and insights needed to find funding.

Interested in AI and Machine Learning for Your Organization?

If your organization is new to AI and machine learning, there are several considerations to make before embarking on implementation, including figuring out your data storage, cleaning your data and data integrations. David suggests to first: identify the problem you are trying to solve with machine learning, and second: identify the data you need to solve it. While the applications for machine learning are endless, there are also inherent challenges to overcome. The quality of your data and data bias, how heavily certain data is weighted, influence the algorithm’s results. Algorithm bias can be minimized with better sampling of data and balancing the weight given to specific data. These are just some of the areas to take into consideration. With your organization’s objectives in hand and procuring the relevant, quality data, your data scientists can understand which machine learning models your organization’s data will need to achieve your goals.

May 17, 2018

Three Easy Steps To Identify New Funding Prospects  

Blogpost-FindFundingWith so many potential funders out there, grant research can be a daunting task. But with a few simple tricks, grant research can produce amazing results pretty quickly. First off, there is a wealth of information to be found in Foundation Directory Online. Let’s look at a few ways to use this tool to find great new prospects for your current needs. The first step to successful grant research is knowing what you are looking for.

Start with a list of the things you need, how much they will cost, and when you need them in hand. Here at Funding For Good, we use our needs list in conjunction to help us determine all the answers needed to be effective in our research. 

Once you have all the prep work done, you are ready to jump online.

Let’s take a look at three easy ways to identify new funding prospects you may not have thought of or didn’t know how to search for previously.

  1. Search for foundations that have funded similar organizations in the past. In order to conduct this search, you first need to know the nonprofit organizations who do similar work, their official names, and where they are located.

Once you have the basic information, hop on Foundation Directory Online and click the upper right link in the search box that says Advanced Search. Once this box opens, you will see a box in the lower left corner that says Organization Name. In this box, you can type the organization name and choose the one you want to investigate. The search results will show you all the foundations who have funded  the organization in the past, the year of funding, the amount funded, the description of what the project funded, etc.

  1. Search for foundations that have funded YOUR organization in the past. Here’s a crazy idea that many people new to an organization or new to the world of nonprofits never think about: Who has funded us in the past? Many organizations don’t have stellar records about foundations that have given them grants previously, what the money was used for, or how much was granted. Crazy, but true! Refer to #1 and run that search on your own organization. See who has given to you in the past. Has a foundation that has an interest in your work been neglected? Perhaps you need to revisit some past supporters and get them back in the fold.
  1. Search for foundations by Geographic Focus. Do you know all of the foundations that provide funding in your county, in surrounding counties, or in your region? Would you like to? I know I love using that information when I’m researching prospects for a specific area. It’s easy peasy with Foundation Directory Online. Simply go to the Advanced Search link and type in the county and state in the Geographic Focus box (top row, center box). You’ll see the list of all foundations that award grants in that county appear. Now you can research all the foundations that send funding to a geographic area and see who might support your work. Do this for each region in your service area or where you have an impact. You might be surprised at some of the prospects you uncover.

Two additional tidbits to keep in mind.

Tidbit #1: Don’t limit yourself to super specific Subject Areas in your search. Many foundations will give to a variety of organizations, so using more general terms will lend to better results.

Tidbit #2: Don’t freak out when you see “We only fund pre-selected charitable organizations” or “We don’t accept unsolicited proposals.” To learn more about these two phrases and what they really mean, check out this blog: The Dreaded Phrases of Grant Research.

MANDY PEARCE is a grant writing expert, executive coach, and national fundraising trainer who launched Funding for Good, Inc. in 2009 to equip organizations with the skills and tools needed to become successful and sustainable. Mandy has taken her passion and expertise for fundraising to the development field and shared it with individuals and organizations for over 21 years. Her dynamic teaching style brings thousands of people annually to her presentations at conventions, trainings, and workshops. Mandy lives in Hickory, NC with her husband and their rescue dogs, Leo and Dalli, who share her enthusiasm for the outdoors.