Back to Eye on FDO

Category: "New Enhancements" (40 posts)

November 21, 2017

The New FDO is here!

We are thrilled to bring you the new Foundation Directory Online! We have introduced powerful enhancements and features designed to make the process of finding the right funders and conducting research seamless. The new FDO provides…


New and Improved Grantmaker Searching

FDO now features a global search bar and integrated results page to address all your prospecting needs.  One search bar allows you to simply enter a phrase describing your work.  When you enter a phrase that describes what you’re looking for, or search by Advanced Search & Filters fields, you’ll now receive the full range of data on grantmakers, grants, recipients, and 990s in one results page.  One results page allows you to efficiently compare grantmakers, grants and recipients before you dive deeper in evaluating funders, so you can hit the ground running in building strong prospect lists.

Funding insights relevant to your mission

With a growing source of grantmakers, grant and recipient data, you can now get results, trend insights and funding summaries tailored to your field of work based on your search criteria.


Understand the funding landscape

For the first time, see how much funders are giving to your cause based on your search criteria with Amount Funded in your grantmaker search results.


More data and insights with interactive charts and maps to quickly understand funders’ priorities

Enhanced visualizations provide context to your funding search and allow you to see prospective funders’ giving trends and their suitability to your funding needs. Here you’ll be able to gather key insights on how to approach funders, like how much to ask for from specific funders.



Built-in LinkedIn integration to help you unlock prospect networks

FDO provides lists of key decision makers and their affiliations.  Turn insights into action: see who can make an introduction to prospects with FDO’s LinkedIn integration. 


Stay on top of opportunities: Past funders and Other funders to consider

Never miss a funding opportunity, past or present.  FDO further personalizes your prospect research by identifying when a grantmaker has previously funded your organization, so you can rekindle support from organizations who believe in your work. 

Explore other potential funders available within each grantmaker profile— these are grantmakers with similar giving patterns to your search that you might not have otherwise evaluated.


Peer recipient profiles to discover new prospects

Peer recipient profiles can give you ideas on new grantmakers to explore and insights on the funding mix of organizations like yours that can help you shape your funding strategy.

Mobile-friendly for when you’re on-the-go

FDO is also mobile-friendly, so you can keep track of your prospects anytime, anywhere. 


These are just some of the powerful features you’ll experience and that we will continue to improve upon.  The new FDO delivers increased speed and ease to build your prospect funder pipeline, grow your connections to funders, and gather the grantmaker and grant insights you need to successfully identify and approach funders that are a good match with efficiency and agility.  

As the FDO team continues to bring you the highest quality prospect research experience, we look forward to you getting the most out of these new features and enhancements! 


Experience the New FDO→

August 11, 2017

New FDO Coming Soon!  

Here’s a sneak peek into what the new FDO can do… 




We are excited to soon unveil a new version of FDO.  Our goal is to make the process of prospect research easier and more productive for you.  The new experience is designed to increase the speed and agility of every search and provide essential insights that help you win grants.  Here’s a look at what the new FDO will do for you…


Find funding faster: Simply describe your work

Getting a list of prospective funders has never been easier.  FDO’s integrated search option will increase the speed and ease with which you search.  The new FDO also provides you with what you’re looking for in one fell swoop, delivering grantmakers, recipients, grants, and 990s in one integrated results page.  With one search you can be well on your way to growing your prospect list.

The new FDO is so much more than a new interface.  For the first time ever, you’ll be able to see how much funders are giving to your cause based on your search criteria.  The amount funded will indicate how much the grantmaker distributes to your area of interest, allowing you to see who are suitable funders and where they focus their priorities.


Visualizing giving trends

Easy-to-read, interactive charts and maps highlight key funding information that provide context to your funding search, so you can quickly understand grantmakers’ giving trends to efficiently find funders that align with your mission.  Drill deeper to gather additional insights to help you effectively determine the grantmaker’s suitability to your funding needs, and solicit grants.   


Make connections that grow your prospect network

Realize the full potential of FDO with FDO’s LinkedIn tool.  Within each grantmaker profile, you can see who works at the grantmaking organization and who you’re connected to – a LinkedIn icon will appear next to those you are connected to.  Introductions are one of the most effective ways to get on a funder’s radar.  Find out who in your network might be able to connect you to the funder. 


Discover other funders you might have missed

Each profile provides you with additional funders that share similar priorities and patterns of giving.  These other funders to consider are based on subject, geographic area (where the funding is going), and the dollar amount of grants awarded.

When was the last time a past funder issued your organization a grant?  Are you new to the organization and don’t have a list of all previous funders?  The new FDO not only allows you to discover new prospects, but will identify past funders of your organization for you, so that you are prepared when you connect with funders and can ensure the ongoing support from organizations that believe in the work that you do.


Stay tuned for the exciting unveiling…


Visit FDO→

May 22, 2017

FDO Now Includes Federal Grant Data

You might have noticed that there are some added terms and search functions on your FDO search page.  FDO Professional now includes profiles and information on past grants awarded for federal funders, increasing the different types of funders included in FDO Professional to four.  To include these funders in your search, simply check the “Include Government Grantmakers” box on the search page. You can also explore the profiles of over 200 grantmakers by selecting “Governmental Organization” or “Governmentally-linked Foundation” in the “Type of Grantmaker” search field. When looking at your results any federal grantmaker will be marked by a special icon so you can easily identify them, and data can go back over the last three years.

If you come across a government grantmaker that you would like to pursue for open grant application opportunities, check to see if your organization qualifies on  It’s important to keep in mind that while government grantmakers have a high total giving amount, this amount is usually distributed amongst many organizations on a national scale.  You’ll be able to determine the dollar amount of a grant and upcoming grant opportunities by clicking on the forecasting site listed in the grantmaker profile. 

Sometimes the turnaround time can be short from when a RFP is posted, and when grant applications are due. Try to get ahead of your peers by monitoring legislation related to your mission, as well as following government officials on social media who tend to focus on developing legislature related to you work. You may get a head start learning about a bill that is close to passing, and would result in funding allocation to your area!

NOTE: At this time FDO only contains federal grants.

You can now see LinkedIn profiles in FDO! But why is that important?

The LinkedIn feature in each grantmaker profile in FDO allows you to use your connections to key members of a grant making organization to begin conversations that might lead to more funding for your non-profit.  Maximize the impact of this feature by connecting with your colleagues, board members and peers in your field in LinkedIn so that you’ll have access to their networks. A majority of funders say they prefer to have a conversation with prospective grantees before they receive their grant proposal, so use this tool as a way to connect to the grantmaker early in the application process!

Where do I find this feature? If a staff member has a LinkedIn profile, you will see a icon next to their name in the grantmaker's profile. Simply click on the icon to be brought to their LinkedIn profile.

How else is the integration with LinkedIn helpful? It’s very common to want to click the “Exclude grantmakers not accepting applications” button when doing a search for a list of prospects, but to do so could be costing you a future funding opportunity.  With some strategizing, and with the help of your network, these funders can still be a prospective funder for your organization.   As long as the grantmaker’s giving priorities and average grant size match your organization’s needs, a conversation sparked by a mutual connection can lead to future funding opportunities!

Helpful Tip:  Make sure you are connected to your board members on LinkedIn and check to see if they have any ties to board members of prospective grantmakers.  If you find that a grantmaker would be interested in funding your organization based on their interest in your subject area and location, and you also find that they’re connected to one of your board members, discuss with your board member the best way you can reach out.  Below is an example of an outreach letter of a board member’s connection to a board member of a grant making organization:

Dear Ms. Jones:

My name is Samara Baker. My colleague/friend/relationship, Micah Harold, is a trustee on your board and suggested that I connect with you regarding your work to increase adult literacy in the Hartford area. My organization, Hartford Reads, specializes in managing successful adult volunteer tutoring programs at public libraries throughout the Hartford area. Last year, we were able to connect 575 adults in the community with tutors to help them increase their reading skills. On average, 84% of the adults we serve in reach fifth grade level their first year; 93% of those who continue services for a second year complete our program reading at the high school  level.

Given your excellent work throughout Hartford in supporting literacy programs for children, youth and adults, and your support of programs that complement our work, I was hoping we might be able to meet discuss how we may be able to partner on this issue. Please let me know at your earliest convenience if and when you might be available. I look forward to the opportunity to speak with you and learn more about your work.

Thank you,


January 29, 2016

FDO Release Notes - 1-29-2016

New Account Profile Fields

You may notice next time you log into FDO a message prompting you to update your profile information if you haven’t done so recently. We’re asking for two reasons: For one, it’s always a good idea to make sure we have up to date contact information so we can better serve your account for billing and other issues; for another, we recently added a few new fields to signups. These fields, including information on organization type, size, and subject area, help us understand our users better so we can continue to build a service that best meets the needs of its users.

Please take a moment to go into the Account area, click Update my Profile, and make sure your profile is up to date.

Upgrading to Annual Contract Plans Enabled

Last summer we began offering new subscribers the option of subscribing to an annual plan paid in monthly installments, while still maintaining the existing monthly, annual, and biannual plans as well. If you choose this new option, you are agreeing to maintain your subscription for 12 months – just like an annual subscription – making monthly payments at a lower rate than the regular monthly plan. While you are subject to a penalty fee if you cancel early, that fee will never be more than three months’ payments in total.

We have now added that plan as an option available as an upgrade option for existing subscribers. If you are interested in moving your monthly subscription to this new annual contract plan, simply go to your Account area and select Upgrade. You will get information on the contract plan, pricing, and the early-termination penalty. You will have access to all the same features and data in your current plan; only your payment terms will change.

As always, please keep an eye on this blog for information on new FDO releases as well as search techniques and other valuable fundraising tips.

December 09, 2015

FDO Release Notes - 12-9-15

We will post occasional — usually every three weeks — release notes in this space collecting new features, recent fixes, and other changes. 

What's New/Changed

We have added a preview of grantmaker's giving data to all subscription plan levels. Pointing a mouse over a grantmaker's name on the results screen will reveal a window showing total assets and giving, the funder's URL, top three subject areas funding according to available grant data, high and low grant dollar amounts, and links to news items from Philanthropy News Digest. All grant data used is from the last five years of grants authorized. Fields will only appear if data is available, as not all funders will have linked news items or tabulated grant data to pull from.

All search results screens have been slightly redesigned: the Saved Search option now appears with the search criteria; New and Modify Search buttons are more prominently displayed; and the "Search Within" fields has been renamed "Add Keyword" and moved to the Narrow Your Results field along with the other available search refinements.


Fixed issues with billing subscription upgrades and with the subscription confirmation screen loading properly.


Data updates have resumed after eight weeks of being held static for testing and troubleshooting the new Foundation Center database. Updates of grantmaker, company, grant, and 990 will continue weekly.

October 26, 2015

FDO Release Notes - 10-26-15

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. 


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

Password security improvements.


Database update transfers remain paused while new databases undergoes testing.


January 28, 2015

Introducing Workspace

Today we're proud to launch a brand new suite of features for FDO: Workspace.

With Workspace, you finally have a place within the FDO site to work with the funding prospects you identify. Assess how strong the match is between funders and your organization and programs; manage tasks, contacts, and notes; and keep track of progress toward your fundraising goals. 

To get started, just log in to your FDO account and find the Workspace link at the very top of the screen. If you have questions, visit the Workspace FAQ section in Help.

Today is the release of the Beta version of the site, with more features coming soon. We know people will want to import and export certain content, and we're looking at even more features in the coming weeks and months, along with continued improvemnt of core FDO features as well. For now, give Workspace a try and let us know what you think! 

Join us for a live webinar on February 17, 3-4PM EST.We'll introduce Workspace, guide you through its features, and explain all its benefits.

March 08, 2014

Announcing FDO Enhancements and New Design

As you've no doubt noticed, Foundation Directory Online has a new look! But while the site's appearance may have changed and there are some more changes "under the hood," rest assured the way you use FDO day to day remains the same.

First, here is a little of what you can expect from the new version of the site:

  • Ranked results: When you use Power Search, results are now sorted by relevance so you don’t have to sift through pages of results. You can also choose which databases you want to search. (Professional feature only.)
  • Guided search functionality: With our new and improved index filtering options, you can find the perfect search term as you type. Plus, new ways to narrow your results lets you drill down to the right list of grantmakers with fewer searches.
  • Printer-friendly grantmaker profiles bring information from our database to your desk more easily.
  • The ability to e-mail lists of grantmakers and groups of grantmaker profiles gives you more options for taking the data out of the database in the way that works for you.
  • Mobile-friendly: The FDO site is now responsive, so you can easily use the application on tablets and smart phones.
  • Secure site: FDO will now live on a secure web site for added privacy. No need to update your bookmarks; you'll go right to the new secure site.

We welcome your feedback on the new site, and we're committed to continued improvements to meet users' needs. Feel free to email us using subject line "FDO Refresh" with your feedback and questions. 


September 20, 2013

PhilanTopic: Open 990s and FDO Free

(I wrote this post originally for the Philanthropy News Digest blog PhilanTopic.)

Back in May, the White House issued an executive order and accompanying memorandum which stated that "the default state of new and modernized government information resources shall be open and machine readable." For the nonprofit community, the announcement was intriguing. What would it mean if all that data on foundations and their grants were liberated from hundreds of thousands of IRS Form 990s and, for the first time, made truly open, searchable, and readable by machines?

While it looks like we'll have to wait to find out, here at the Foundation Center we've decided to take a step toward that goal with the release of Foundation Directory Online (FDO) Free, a new search tool that provides free, public access to essential information about nearly 90,000 foundations and more than 250,000 of their 990-PF tax returns. Yes, there are plenty of excellent tools around for retrieving the 990s of grantmaking foundations, including our own 990 Finder. What has been missing, however, is the ability to unlock the rich information available within those forms by searching across them with keywords relevant to your nonprofit's mission and programs. Until now, that was only possible through the Center's premier subscription product, Foundation Directory Online Professional. The launch of FDOFree changes that.

Indeed, FDO Free represents a significant step forward in the Foundation Center's efforts to make more funding data available to a larger portion of the grantseeking public. In addition to the ability to keyword-search across foundation 990-PFs, FDO Free allows you to search the profiles of nearly 90,000 private foundations by name, EIN, or location and to search their last three 990-PFs by name, EIN, location, or keyword.

Someday, the IRS will make all 990s open and machine readable. Butas Foundation Center president Brad Smith likes to say, "Someday isn't soon enough for the millions of nonprofit organizations that are working to address the world's most pressing problems. FDO Freemakes it possible to search the raw data on the IRS forms today, alongside additional information that has been cleaned and organized by the Center's professional staff."

What information will you search for? Funding for dance in 2012 (276 results)? Support to help protect the few remaining tigers in the wild (27 results)? School lunches in California (81 results)? With FDO Free, the basic information you need to get started is at your fingertips.Start searching today.

Where We're Headed

We're all eager to see what the future has in store for the nonprofit sector. In the meantime, we're working to make sure Foundation Directory Online continues to be the essential resource for grantseekers it has been since 1999. The design of FDO Free -- with its fresh new look, enhanced search engine technology, and improved responsiveness on mobile devices -- is a preview of what you can expect from all our FDO subscription plans in the not-too-distant future. And, of course, you can still turn to Foundation Directory Online Professional in order to get deeper access to detailed grants information, mapping tools, social media data, and all the rest of the knowledge you need to secure funding and advance your mission.

The future for foundation fundraising looks bright. We hope you agree. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions!