Back to Eye on FDO

Category: "FDO Newswire" (116 posts)

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. 


February 14, 2012

FDO vs. CGO, Revisited

Today I'm rerunning a post from 2008 by Dave Clark explaining the differences and similarities between Corporate Giving Online and Foundation Directory Online. It's an evergreen question that comes up now and again, so I thought it would be helpful to repost the explanation.

I'm occasionally asked to explain the difference between Foundation Directory Online and one of our other online subscription services, Corporate Giving Online.

Corporate Giving Online provides access to the profiles of company-sponsored foundations, corporate giving programs, and company-sponsored grantmaking public charities. It also includes the profiles of the companies that sponsor these grantmaking programs.

CGO doesn't contain any data that isn't also included in FDO's two top-tier plans, Platinum and Professional. Likewise, CGO's Search Companies database, enabling users to search across the corporate information of sponsoring companies, is also included in FDO Professional.

So, if you're already an FDO Professional subscriber, no worries. You already have the best of the best. Corporate Giving Online was designed for grantseekers and others interested exclusively in corporate giving but desiring a lower-priced alternative to all-inclusive Professional.

If you're an FDO Platinum subscriber, again, you're not lacking any data. You have access to all of the corporate grantmaker profiles included in CGO. And you'll notice a Company tab at the top of corporate grantmaker records providing access to the corporate information of sponsoring companies. If you'd like the ability to search across the corporate information of sponsoring companies, you can upgrade to Professional at any time and take advantage of that and everything else a subscription to Professional includes.

October 26, 2011

Foundations and Mission Investing

The Foundation Center has just released a new report on the increasing use of mission-related investing by foundations. Key Facts on Mission Investing documents how foundations are trying to achieve social benefits through market-rate and below-market-rate investments known as mission-related investments (MRIs) and program-related investments (PRIs), respectively.

While grants and PRIs generally count toward foundations' charitable distribution requirements, MRIs do not, so they can represent a way for foundations to leverage their endowment investments to further social goals over and above their charitable distributions.

To learn more, read the Foundation Center press release on the new report and download the report iteslf, Key Facts on Mission Investing (4 pages, PDF)



October 18, 2011

It's Annual Survey Time!

It's that time of year again, when we ask you to tell us what you think of Foundation Directory Online. If you give us just a few moments to complete the annual user survey and tell us about how you use FDO, how satisfied you are with different elements of it, and what enhancements to data and functionality you'd like to see us implement, you'll get more than our gratitude. If you'd like, we'll send you a promo code you can redeem for the free Digital Grant Guide (a $39.95 value) of your choice!

Grant guides are available for 25 different subject areas, covering everything grants for everything from AIDS/HIV research, to information technology, to the environment, to housing, and more.These PDF guides provide you with descriptions of hundreds—often thousands—of recent foundation grants of $10,000 or more, with convenient hyperlinks to essential funder information to help you identify prospects and get the grants you need. Just complete the survey, then keep an eye out for an email containing your promo gift code, which you can redeem for the guide of your choice. We'll start sending out the gift codes in about two weeks.

The feedback you provide is an invaluable resource for us as we strive to keep Foundation Directory Online up to your standards and make sure it remains an indispensable source for helping you meet your funding needs. So please, tell us what you think!