Back to Eye on FDO

Category: "New Enhancements" (41 posts)

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!


September 16, 2013

Introducing FDO Free

We are pleased to announce the first in a series of improvements to Foundation Directory Online, beginning with the design of the log-in page. We especially want to call your attention to the location of the log-in area, which has moved to the top right-hand corner of the log-in screen, as shown above.

We're also pleased to announce the addition of Foundation Directory Online Free to the FDO suite of fundraising products. Replacing our former Foundation Finder tool, FDO Free is a new, improved way to quickly look up basic information about foundations by name, EIN, or location. And, with FDO Free, users get a glimpse into the wealth of additional information available through Foundation Directory Online that thousands of subscribers like you rely on as their essential fundraising tool. Rest assured, this change does not affect your subscription to FDO. But, for any of your friends or colleagues interested in learning more aboutFoundation Directory Online, FDO Free is a great place to start.

In the months ahead we will be making additional improvements to FDO based on feedback from users like you. Our goal is to provide the most accurate, comprehensive fundraising information available from the source you can trust: the Foundation Center. So stay tuned for more, and please don't hesitate to share with us your comments and suggestions on how we can make Foundation Directory Online even better.

November 28, 2012

IssueLab

PubHub is now IssueLab in Foundation Directory Online Professional Power Search results and on the Publications tab on grantmaker profiles. 

Earlier this year, the Foundation Center merged the PubHub database of foundation-sponsored research reports with IssueLab, a Chicago-based online publishing forum containing an extensive and diverse body of research produced by the philanthropic sector. What that means for FDO is that now when you run a Power Search, the publication results that come back are now pulled from a much larger pool of reports, produced by a larger segment of the sector than before. 

Learn more about IssueLab and explore the new platform. You don't have to change anything about how you use FDO Professional; just use Power Search as you always have, or click the Publications tab on a foundation profile. For non-Professional-level subscribers, you can get access to these features by upgrading your subscription.

September 19, 2012

Chat Live with Our Online Librarian

Take a look at the top menu next time you're using Foundation Directory Online: you can now chat live with a Foundation Center Online Librarian! If you hit a snag finding what you're looking for in FDO, the librarian can point you in the right direction or refer you to someone who can follow up with an answer. Chat hours are Monday through Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm (all times Eastern).

Chatnowblog

 

Before you initiate a chat, be sure to check the FAQs and the Help documentation (click Help in the top menu). The answer to your query might be there, but if you need more information, live help is now just a click away!

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.

June 05, 2012

New in FDO Professional: Corporate Social Responsibility Data

(This piece is reposted in full from PhilanTopic. Andrew Grabois is manager for corporate philanthropy at the Foundation Center.)

When Deep Throat advised Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward to "follow the money" in that underground garage back in the '70s, he could just as well have been dispensing advice to a corporate grantseeker. That is, until recently.

For many years, individuals and organizations looking for funding from companies or their foundations were only concerned about the availability of funds and meeting a company's grant requirements, not whether a grantmaker was a "good corporate citizen" (with the exception, perhaps, of anti-apartheid activists). And while notions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) have been around for decades, CSR only recently has gained traction with the general public.

According to a 2010 CSR Perception Survey conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, 55 percent of survey respondents said they would be more likely to purchase a product with an added social benefit; 70 percent said they would be willing to pay a premium for a product from a "socially responsible" company (and 28 percent said they would pay up to $10 more); and, perhaps most surprisingly, 34 percent said they would be willing to take a pay cut to work at a socially responsible firm. It would appear the CSR train is leaving the station. Indeed, in the last month alone, Morgan Stanley announced the launch of a new "impact investing" platform to "help clients align their financial goals and personal values," while Bloomberg LP, which already provides more than one hundred CSR indicators through its Bloomberg terminals at no extra cost, announced that it will publish the results ofThe Civic 100 survey conducted by the National Conference on Citizenship and Points of Light in the November issue of Bloomberg Businessweek.

Recognizing the importance of corporate social responsibility information to today's grantseekers, the Foundation Center has been busy collecting over forty separate CSR data points, including carbon emissions and energy usage metrics as reported to and analyzed by folks at the Carbon Disclosure Project, employee volunteer hours, workforce diversity percentages, and recognition by eleven "green" or "best practices" lists, including those compiled by Boston College,Corporate Responsibility magazine, DiversityIncHuman Rights CampaignNewsweek, and Working Mother. We're also collecting corporate CSR pledges tracked by the Global Reporting Initiative, theUnited Nations Global Compact, and A Billion + Change. And, starting tomorrow, we'll be making all that data available in Foundation Directory Online. Appearing as a separate tab on individual company profiles, more than fourteen hundred companies will have at least one CSR measure that users of FDO can incorporate into their prospect research.

We think the addition of corporate social responsibility data to FDO is the most significant enhancement to our company information in years, and we know it will provide FDO users with the most complete profiles of corporate citizenship and transparency in any single database around. For today's corporate grantseeker, just following the money is no longer enough.

-- Andrew Grabois

 

May 15, 2012

FDO Techniques and Strategies

Philanthropy Front and Center posted a very thorough and useful overview of some search techniques and strategies that even seasoned users maybe not have tried recently — or at all. I've reposted a long excerpt below; be sure to click through to read the rest.

Explore Connections
FDO posts affiliation information for the trustees, officers, and donors of foundations, so, in addition to searching for board and staff working within a foundation by name (which you can do as a Keyword search), you can also:

Use the Trustees, Officers, and Donors search field to enter the name of a company ("Time Warner"); college or university ("Smith College"); nonprofit or association ("Harlem Children's Zone"); or institution ("New York Public Library") to find foundations whose board members, officers, or donors are associated with a company or institution with which your organization is also connected.

Find All the Angles
Power Search, the search engine within FDO that allows simultaneous searches of Foundation Center content, connects you to news and research that can make you a savvier grantseeker. For example:

Enter a phrase like "Venture philanthropy" in Power Search.
  • Your results will list the grantmakers that the Foundation Center classifies under this descriptor and the grants awarded in this subject.
  • The same search results will also point to news that keeps you current on the topic (since your funders may know a lot about it); to books and articles to broaden your perspective; a current grant opportunity that a funder has announced; and maybe even a job or two.

This is crucial in the data-rich and competitive environment in which nonprofits vie for support.

Online and Common Grant Applications
You can search Foundation Directory Online using the keywords "online application" (in quotes) to find foundations that are working with this type of format. You can also search for foundations in your area that accept the "common grant application" (in quotes, as well), and if these are available online, FDO will provide the link. 

Read the rest of the post to learn more about location-based searching and getting the most out of the Search Grants database.

January 25, 2012

More on the New Foundation Grants to Individuals Online

I wrote a guest post for Small Act's blog all about the new Foundation Grants to Individuals Online, which I discussed in my previous post here.

I encourage you to go read the post on their site, but here's an excerpt:

Foundation grants to individuals can be tough to come by. After all, foundation support overwhelmingly goes to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. However, support is available in the form of scholarships, fellowships, arts and research grants, support for attending conferences and seminars, and fiscal sponsorship, among others. With Foundation Grants to Individuals Online you can customize a search based on 15 different search fields including types of support, plus geographic criteria, fields of interest, and keywords.

How can this help you? By conducting a targeted search you’ll find detailed funder profiles including valuable information such as program areas, limitations, application information, financial data, links to social media, and more. What you learn about these funding prospects will help you throughout your proposal development process, from choosing your best matches, to making an initial approach, to the formal application or proposal, and beyond to maintaining a relationship with that funder after the grant.

 

January 20, 2012

The All-New Foundation Grants to Individuals Online

We're proud to announce that, very soon, we'll be releasing a new version of our premier database product for students, artists, researchers, and other individual grantseekers, Foundation Grants to Individuals Online.

As challenging as nonprofit fundraising can be, individual grantseekers face greater challenges, as most foundations reserve all or most of their support for 501(c)(3) nonprofits. We believe that having a separate, affordable resource for those individuals is invaluable. Many libraries and universities that subscribe to Foundation Directory Online also have Foundation Grants to Individuals Online subscriptions so that they can offer both to their patrons, so we wanted to let all of you know what's coming in redesign.

In short, there are new ways to search; a completely redesigned, more user-friendly interface, more foundation information including social media links, and essential tools for working with your results.

Keep and eye out for the changes, and learn more about the new Foundation Grants to Individuals Online today!

July 18, 2011

Exciting News! The FDO Mobile App Is Here

The Foundation Center has launched the Foundation Directory Mobile iPhone app for FDO Professional. While anyone may download the app for free from the App Store, only Professional subscribers will be able to search FD Mobile using their existing login.

Download Foundation Directory Mobile now to:

  • Search over 100,000 grantmakers and 2.4 million grants
  • Search prospects and grants by name, location, field of interest, and more
  • See detailed funder profiles and grant records

Iphone_app_160

Foundation Directory Mobile is designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch and is also compatible with iPad.

* An earlier version of this post noted that you could access FD Mobile without logging in anywhere with institution-wide access via IP recognition. Please note that this is only true if you have access to the wireless network associated with that account.