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October 2015 (3 posts)

FDO Release Notes - 10-26-15
October 26, 2015

We will post occasional - usually biweekly - release notes in this space collecting new features, recent fixes, and other changes. 

What's New/Changed

The default sort order for grantmaker searches is now Total Giving, from highest to lowest (was previously alphabetical). Company search (Pro only) remains alphabetical; grant searches are now Year Authorized, most recent first; and 990 searches are year, most recent first.

The site will "remember" any change to the sort options on any search screen, so if you prefer another sort option, simply set it once and the site will use it for future searches. 

Fixes

Fixed an issue where irregular site traffic caused error messages on searches and slow site performance.

Password security improvements.

Notices

Database update transfers remain paused while new databases undergoes testing.

 

Special Event for FDO Subscribers: Telling Stories and Engaging Donors
October 20, 2015

Subscribers near our New York City headquarters are invited to a special event for FDO users, Your Social Media Strategy: Telling Stories and Engaging Donors. Gain wisdom from three social media experts and enjoy an evening of wine, cheese and networking with social sector peers! You and a friend are invited to join us for “Your Social Media Strategy: Telling Stories and Engaging Donors” with special guest speakers Elizabeth Christopherson from the Rita Allen Foundation, Lee-Sean Huang from Foossa and Maryam Mujica from Twitter.

This session will teach you how to:

  • Leverage social media as a tool to capture the attention of donors and supporters of all kind

  • Find and refine your organization's voice and tell it's story on social media through curated and originally created content

  • Stand out from the crowd by being visual, emotionally engaging, and inspiring  

  • Coordinate content among multiple social media platforms

  • and learn best practices from experts in the field!

FDO subscribers have a chance to win an iPad mini. Friends of subscribers will be entered to win a free month-long subscription to FDO Professional as well as four free Foundation Center online courses! 

WHEN: Tuesday, November 17, 2015 from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM (EST)

WHERE: Foundation Center - 32 Old Slip. 24th Floor. New York, NY 10005

Visit the event page for details and directions and to RSVP.

What About All Those Foundations That Don't Accept Applications?
October 02, 2015

This is a lightly edited re-post of a post from last year.

The question of how to attract the attention of foundations that give only to preselected organizations (by some estimates, this is as many as 60 percent of all foundations) is a vexing one, and one that we hear frequently from our FDO users, library visitors, and other constituents. Personally, I hear from many FDO users who simply click the "Exclude grantmakers not accepting applications" checkbox on their searches and never see other prospects. It's an understandable choice - why sift through record after record of funders who are indicating that they don't want to hear from you? - but it can limit your possibilities. 

So what do you do? Rick Cohen wrote last year for Nonprofit Quarterly on just this subject in a detailed and advice-filled post, Scaling the Wall: 5 Ways to Get Unsolicited Proposals Heard. Cohen suggests that the practice is not just widespread, but growing:

Plenty of respected foundations with solid track records of excellent grantmaking have decided to close the door on unsolicited proposals, too. [...] These are respected, admired foundations, all making it clear that without an invitation, you shouldn’t come knocking. It’s as if being able to submit unsolicited proposals or LOIs has become a quaint, nostalgic practice of a bygone era.

His suggestions on increasing visibility, building relationships, researching board and staff names, sending other information besides proposals, and working for change in philanthropy can be read in more detail in the full post.

For my part, when it comes to searching FDO I'd say by all means, click that checkbox to save yourself time and effort, but when you can, try your search without it and see what other potential prospects might make your "parking lot" list - the ones you can devote some time (I know, I know: what time?) to researching further to find professional connections or other ways of getting noticed. And for more tips, please visit our Grantspace Knowledge Base article on approaching these funders.