Back to Eye on FDO

Category: "FDO Newswire" (109 posts)

April 10, 2014

GrantSpace Resources

One thing I always take the opportunity to tell FDO users about - whether I'm at the Foundation Center booth at a conference, talking to a subscriber on the phone, or anywhere - is GrantSpace, the Foundation Center's site dedicated to training and free resources for nonprofit grantseekers. We call it a "learning community for the social sector," and here's a look at some of what that entails.


The Classroom area of GrantSpace includes a full list of the Foundation Center's training offerings. These are free and fee-based, live online or in-person at various locations around the country. There's also a calendar view so you can find trainings by date and location. Training is divided into four categories: Finding FundersFundraising PlanningDeveloping Proposals, and Managing Nonprofits.

Knowledge Base

The Knowledge Base (in the Tools section) is basically a very large FAQ covering nonprofit grantseeking topics large and small. Need information on finding government grants? Wondering how to approach foundations that don't accept unsolicited applications? Curious about crowdfunding or online fundraising? The Knowledge Base has write-ups and links to resources on all those topics and many more.


GrantSpace is the Foundation Center's home for a wealth of multimedia content, like "Meet the Grantmaker" videos, our Philanthropy Chat podcast series, and training webinar recordings. 

All the resources on GrantSpace are free except for the full- and multi-day training classes, and what's described above only scratches the surface. It makes a terrific complement to Foundation Directory Online as a knowledge resource to go along with your funding searches. 

May 01, 2013

New Guided Tour

We have a brand-new guided tour introducing new and prospective Foundation Directory Online users to the features and benefits of FDO. Even seasoned users can benefit from a wide-angle look at what FDO has to offer. Check it out and share!

Foundation Directory Online from Foundation Center on Vimeo.



February 13, 2013

Faces of FDO

Do you want an opportunity to tell others about your organization and share your experiences using Foundation Directory Online in your funding research? You might want to consider contributing to Faces of FDO, the page where we share testimonial videos and text with the FDO community. 

Take a look at what has been contributed to date, and consider telling us your own story. Contact to learn more.


February 11, 2013

Rumors, Myths, and Legends: Nonprofit Edition

Found on Twitter: This fun, inspiring video from Nonprofit Roundtable about the myths and realities of the nonprofit sector. 

January 09, 2013

PhilanTopic: 'Usability' and Your Nonprofit

Interesting PhilanTopic post about the concept of usability. This is a concept that's long been used in reference to web design, but the author explores it as a way of thinking about how your nonprofit approaches the whole online donation process, not just the tech part. Is it easy for the potential donor to understand what your organization does? Is it clear why you're asking for support generally and the specific level of support? 

It's a new way of thinking about a familiar concept, and a good read to start the new year! 

November 13, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Grants Feed

The Foundation Center has launched an RSS feed of grants related to Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery. You can browse these grants, sign up for an email for notifications, or subscribe to the RSS feed. The Business Civic Leadership Center assisted in the tracking of the corporate response.

See the complete grants feed.

September 11, 2012

A Look Inside Our Annual User Survey

We recently concluded our 2012 annual user survey of Foundation Directory Online users. We wanted to know a little more about you, what you like about FDO, and what areas of improvement you've identified. We got a much higher response rate than we have in past years, so this was a particularly valuable survey for us. I want to summarize a few interesting findings here, then in future posts dig more deeply into a few of the questions. 

What we learned:

95% of you would recommend FDO to a friend/colleague. That's great news, except in past years it's been over 99%, so we're focused on listening to your suggestions for making FDO even better. 

30% of you use other fee-based funding search products. Most of these are tools for finding individual donors, such as Wealth Engine.

Users are most satisfied with the breadth of data and the overall value of FDO. But many of you indicate that you'd like to see the data be even more up to date, so we're working hard on collecting, indexing, and publishing accurate data as quickly as we can. 

Your top three preferred enhancements:

  • More grants from small foundations (70%)
  • “Predictive analysis,” i.e., good-match rankings (61%)
  • Suggested search terms based on your keywords to make better use of the indexed search terms (53%)

64% of you are nonprofit grantseekers; 16% are independent consultants working with one or more nonprofit clients; 9% are nonprofit execs. Others include academics, librarians, and grantmakers.

You have a very wide range of budgets from very small organizations all the way up to large universities, hospitals, and national organizations.

Personally, I found this last data point most interesting: A large plurality of you (45%) first heard of FDO from a friend or colleague. This far outstripped other options: 17% from our print brochures and catalogues and 5% from email marketing. This tells me that, as indicated by the 95% stat above, you are eager to tell others about Foundation Directory Online. This is really gratifying. So thank you all for spreading the word about FDO, and thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us!

In the coming days I'll dive deeper into some other findings, including suggested enhancements and other feedback on how you'd like to see FDO improve.

July 26, 2012

A Look Inside Foundation Decision-Making

Rob Bruno reviews Martin Teitel's new book for Philanthropy Front and Center New York:

Martin Teitel's Thank You for Submitting Your Proposal (Emerson & Church, 2006) has been a staple for grantseekers wishing to get an inside view of a foundation's decision-making process. Six years later he has revised the classic work with The Ultimate Insider's Guide to Winning Foundation Grants: A Foundation CEO Reveals the Secrets You Need to Know (Emerson & Church, 2012). The new book continues along the same vein, but expands upon the original by adding a section titled "Myths About Foundations" as well as a concluding chapter that offers answers to hard-nosed questions from grantees.


You can find the book in all five Foundation Center libraries.

July 17, 2012

How Well Do You Know GrantSpace?

Just how well do you know GrantSpace? Did you know, for instance, that over 100,000 people visit per month, from over 200 countries? But don't let the numbers alone do the talking. Check out our new infographic to get the full perspective on what you can do at GrantSpace.


This post first appeared in Philanthropy Front and Center-Cleveland.

Katie Artzner
Virtual Resource Specialist
The Foundation Center

June 21, 2012

Legal Issues for New Nonprofits

Good stuff from the Philanthropy Front and Center - New York blog today on navigating the particular legal issues facing new nonprofits. How do you decide how to incorporate? What do you need to do before filing for tax-exemption? How much lobbying and what sorts of political activity can you get involved in, and what must you avoid?

Here's an excerpt: 

Forming a nonprofit involves more than just a strong mission and innovative programs. It also entails investing a significant amount of time and effort into the initial formation process, which can seem daunting at first. How do you prepare to apply for incorporation and tax-exempt status?

To help address some of the legal background in setting up a nonprofit, the Foundation Center, in collaboration with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, offered a workshop [...] led by Laura E. Butzel and Jean L. Tom from the Tax-Exempt Organizations Group at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, who offered a wealth of information on the legal issues you should understand before diving into the application process.

Read the full post to get all the details.