I've mentioned before that the Foundation Center utilizes a standardized taxonomy when indexing, for example, the giving interests of grantmakers and the purpose of grants. This taxonomy is the backbone that enables subscribers to retrieve extremely targeted lists of results. But frequently, users will contact me to make a valid point: with a taxonomy consisting of over 1,100 terms, how does one know which term is being used for a particular area of interest? For example, if you're looking for support for a job-related program, how would you know that this area of interest falls under "Employment" in our taxonomy? Here's a simple tip that I think can help:
When you're stumped, use the Keyword Search field. Let's say you're looking for a grant for a pre-school curriculum program. If you enter "pre-school" in the Keyword Search field on the Search Grantmakers Screen, you'll retrieve a list of grantmaker records containing "pre-school" anywhere in the text of their profiles. Next, open up a few of the records and take a look at the Fields of Interest section. Chances are good that "Education, early childhood education" will be listed. That's the taxonomy term that we assign to funders that support organizations working in the area of pre-school curriculum. You might need to review a few records before you detect a trend that indicates the correct term for your area of interest. Then, you can go back to the Search Grantmakers Screen and select "Education, early childhood education" from the Fields of Interest index and retrieve a targeted list of all grantmakers identified by our editorial staff as supporters of early childhood education-related programs.
If you're a Plus subscriber or higher, I also encourage you to use the Search Grants database in the same way. With over 1.7 million grant descriptions, you'll find plenty of examples showing what taxonomy term is being used for any area of interest.