November 12, 2015

Special Event for Bay Area FDO Subscribers

For many organizations, a capital campaign is the largest fundraising endeavor they will ever undertake. 

For Foundation Directory Online subscribers and their guests near our San Francisco office, get the scoop on recent giving trends that affect capital campaigns and learn secrets to running a successful campaign for your organization from expert Marilyn Bancel, Principal of The Oram Group, a consultant to philanthropic organizations.

The evening will begin with a networking happy hour where you can connect with Marilyn, Foundation Center staff, and other social sector peers!

In this session you will learn:

  • What is a capital campaign?
  • What does a capital campaign need to succeed?
  • What are the recent trends in giving that most affect capital campaigns?

Register here!

WHEN
Thursday, December 3, 2015 from 5:30PM to 8:00PM (PST)

WHERE
Foundation Center - 312 Sutter Street. 2nd Floor. San Francisco, CA 94108 -View Map

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. 

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.

 

October 20, 2015

Special Event for FDO Subscribers: Telling Stories and Engaging Donors

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.

October 02, 2015

What About All Those Foundations That Don't Accept Applications?

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. 

September 23, 2015

Upcoming Database Maintenance

This week our data team is moving all of our grantmaker and grant data from one database to a new one. This change will help our editorial and other back-end processes work more smoothly and efficiently and will have no direct effect on your use of Foundation Directory Online or our other data products. 

To give the team time to do all the necessary work and to fix any behind-the-scenes bugs, we will delay the next data transfer to FDO. Typically, we push an update to FDO once a week. To accommodate this change, we will delay our next transfer for two to four weeks, depending on how quickly the system is ready to go.

What does this mean for you?

It means the content and functionality will not change at all during that period. It also means that any newly added grants, 990s, or funders will not appear in FDO until after the next transfer, so if you are subscribed to any FDO email alerts, you will not receive them in the meantime. I will update this message once the transfer occurs, after which regular weekly transfers will resume.

September 21, 2015

New and Updated FDO Search Taxonomy

New-taxonomy
Foundation Center is proud to announce a more powerful, updated set of search fields and terminology for Foundation Directory Online and all our products and services.

What's changed? We have updated many of the search terms used in FDO's search indexes to better reflect the current work of nonprofits. The process of searching FDO remains the same.

Where can I learn more? Visit Foundation Center’s Philanthropy Classification System (PCS) homepage for all details on these changes, a PCS map to explore and discover new terms to help your search, and more.

Get answers to all the Frequently Asked Questions»

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.

December 15, 2014

15 Tips for 15 Years, Part 3

We’re celebrating the 15th anniversary of Foundation Directory Online (FDO) by offering 15 insider tips, secrets, favorite searches, and other hints to help you get the most out of FDO. We’re counting down from 15 to 1.

See our previous posts for tips 15-11 and 10-6. Here we’ll share the top 5 strategies.

5. Use tags to create a prospect list

If you've got a list of grants that seem promising, or you ran a grantmaker search that produced good results, you can make a prospect list and organize your prospects within FDO using tags. Use the Record Tags box to create a tag that's easy to remember and relevant to your search. For example, if you're conducting a capital campaign, you can create a "Capital" tag that you assign to each of your prospects in this category. Then, when you go into My FDO and click on the Capital tag, it will display all the prospects for your capital campaign and give you quick access to these profiles.

4. Filter your search to see only those funders that accept unsolicited proposals

You can save time and effort by checking the "Exclude grantmakers not accepting applications" box on the Search Grantmakers screen. But before you do that, keep in mind that doing so might exclude some funders that are still potential prospects. First, check out this GrantSpace article on when and how to approach those funders. Then, when conducting your searches, try searching the whole field of funders matching your criteria (leaving that checkbox unchecked). On your results list, you'll see the number of grantmakers that do and do not accept applications in the Narrow Your Results menu, so you'll know at a glance how many funders you can apply to directly and how many may require a different approach. 

3. Turn an exported spreadsheet into a grants calendar/mini-CRM tool

Whether you have a list of grantmakers from a tag that you created (see tip 5) or from a grantmaker search, check off the foundations that you are interested in as prospects and click "Export List" to save them in a spreadsheet. Once the list is downloaded, you can open it in Google Sheets, Excel, or another spreadsheet application and start personalizing it with your own content -- create columns for application deadlines, notes, last contact, next steps, etc. -- to use it as a “mini-CRM (customer relationship management)” tool.

2. Visualize grant data on maps and charts

Use the Chart Grants tool in a foundation's profile to get a better understanding of its giving priorities. FDO Professional subscribers can see a funder’s grants organized by recipient type or primary subject, including aggregate totals of dollars awarded, number of grants, and number of recipients, and then filter by year(s) awarded or drill down to more specific subject/recipient-type categories. 

The Map Grants tool offers the same functionality and access to aggregate totals, but organized geographically. Start on a U.S. map, filter by year or recipient type/subject, and then view by state. You can organize the state-level view by city, county, ZIP code, or congressional district.

1. Let us help!

Foundation Center supports your use of FDO in many ways. The customer service team is on call to help with billing and account questions and can direct you to the right place if you need additional information. The Online Librarian service is available by email or live chat to assist with FDO search strategies, answer questions about philanthropy, and point you to resources –that will help you with your grantseeking. Finally, Foundation Center free and fee-based training supports your FDO experience with classes on finding funders, planning fundraising, developing your proposal, and nonprofit management.

Not an FDO subscriber? Now’s a great time to get on board so you can use these tips: until 1/31, new monthly subscribers can buy 3 months and get 1 additional month free! Plus, you’ll get a free FDO training webinar valued at $69. Select “Special Offer” at checkout!

November 24, 2014

15 Tips for 15 Years, Part 2

6a00e54efc2f80883301bb07a1d062970d-120wiWe’re celebrating the 15th anniversary of Foundation Directory Online by offering 15 insider tips, secrets, favorite searches, and other hints to help you get the most out of FDO. We’re counting down from 15 to 1.

See our previous post for tips 15-11. Today we’ll look at the next five strategies.

10. Build customized reports with Update Central

FDO Professional's Update Central is where you can build customized reports for more detail on each month's additions and updates. Update Reports can be customized by state or states in any one of three categories: new grantmakers; high growth grantmakers; and grantmakers with recent changes. Many of our Professional subscribers use these reports to identify new funders and stay current on developments in their state. A nice feature of the “recent changes” report is that the changes are highlighted for you in the list, so you can see at a glance what’s new at those foundations and then simply click through to see the full FDO profile.

9. Stay in the know with Update Alerts

Update Central also lets you create monthly Update Alerts, useful because they contain summaries of additions and updates to our grantmaker database during the previous month in the same three categories as the Update Reports. To receive FDO Update Alerts, click the Update Central link on the home screen. These monthly alerts are useful because they remind Professional subscribers to visit FDO's Update Central to build customized reports for more detail on each month's additions and updates. 

The next few tips come from Elyse Klova, training specialist in Foundation Center’s Atlanta office and part of FDO’s product development team:

8. Find prospects quickly by searching for grants made to similar organizations.

Use "Recipient Name" field in the grants search to see what foundations have made grants to organizations that have similar missions and similar programs. Foundation fundraising isn't a zero sum game, so the fact that a foundation might be funding an organization that is similar to yours doesn't mean that they wouldn't fund yours: actually it's often the opposite. A foundation's interest in a similar organization suggests good mission and geographic fit—both good indicators that you are more likely to get a grant.

Click on the Recipient Name index to look up grants made to similar organizations. Another time-saver: with the filter, you can quickly find their name without having to scroll through the alphabetical list. Just start typing the name of the organization you have in mind to see if they're in our grant data, select the name to enter it into the field, and press "search" to see what funders have awarded grants to them. When you click on each grant to see the record, check out what the grant was given for. If the recipient type and subjects look good, click the Grantmaker tab at the top of the record to check out the funder.

7. Find out about board connections using grantmaker profiles.

Often, board connections can help build stronger relationships with prospective grantmakers. There are a number of different ways to use FDO to find out about board connections. One quick way is to copy the lists of board members from the grantmaker profiles of each of your prospects; put in a Word document, Excel Spreadsheet, or even email; and send out to your board to see if your board members have any connections. You can also reverse it and ask your board members if they have connections who they know sit on boards, and look up those connections using the Grantmaker Search index for Trustees, Officers, and Donors to see if they sit on any other boards that you may not have been aware of. 

 6. Use the Narrow Your Results menu to summarize grants data

This is one of my personal favorites. With more than 4 million grant records in our database, a grants search can often pull up thousands of results. How can you possibly process all that information? I like to look at the Narrow Results screen (to the left of your search results list) to answer a couple of questions. Because each search facet is organized from most grants to least grants, with just a glance you can see what foundations are giving the most grants, which organizations are getting the most grants, as well as the top subjects used to classify these grants (which can be helpful for doing more searches later).

We’ll be back next month with our top five! And again, we’d love to hear from you with your favorites!

Not an FDO subscriber? Now’s a great time to get on board so you can use these tips: until 11/30 1/31, new monthly subscribers can buy 3 months and get 1 additional month free! Plus, you’ll get a free FDO training webinar valued at $69. Select “Special Offer” at checkout!

October 29, 2014

15 Tips for 15 Years, Part 1

15_candlesWe’re celebrating the 15th anniversary of Foundation Directory Online (FDO) by offering 15 insider tips, secrets, favorite searches, and other hints to help you get the most out of FDO. I’ve asked Foundation Center librarians, trainers, and editors for their ideas and contributed some of my own. I’ll share them with you in a three-part blog series, starting with today’s post. You’re welcome to e-mail me for more information about any of these or to share your own.

We’re counting down from 15 to 1, starting with these five:

15. Find Corporate Funders

This one comes from online librarian and Grantspace blogger Sandy Pon:

If you’re looking for corporate funders, do a Search Grantmakers search for Type of Grantmaker: “company-sponsored foundation” OR “corporate giving program”: This will give you a list of private or public corporate funders. Also, if you’re focusing on a specific company, do a Search Grantmakers keyword search for the company’s name. Searching in  Keyword instead of the Grantmaker Name field will return more results, which could be helpful if you’re trying to get a fuller picture of a company’s philanthropic activities.

14. Get More Out of Power Search

For FDO Professional subscribers, Power Search unlocks results from across many Foundation Center sources, including research report collections, our library catalog, and nonprofit sector news. Sarah Jo Neubauer of Foundation Center San Francisco offers this advice for making the most of this feature:

I like using Power Search to capture insights on how organized philanthropy has responded to current events. For instance, searching “Obamacare” OR "affordable care act" in Power Search reveals hundreds of grants, news articles via Philanthropy News Digest, and direct access to foundation-sponsored reports and case studies via IssueLab, all in one search. Just now, I searched Ebola and was able to download results of foundations making grants to fight the Ebola outbreak.

13. The Keyword-Search Two-Step

Janice Rosenberg, senior librarian at Foundation Center Washington, DC, offers a search strategy for finding results that go beyond our “controlled vocabulary” of search-index terms:

If someone is researching a topic that does not fit neatly into one of the Fields of Interest/Subjects terms in our search indexes, I suggest starting with Search Grants and entering the term(s) in Keyword. Then, I look at the Subject terms that Foundation Center uses when indexing those grants. (Only about 5-10 records need to be reviewed to get an idea of which terms the Center uses). It's a helpful way to discover Fields of Interest/Subjects that can then be used for searching both the Grantmaker and Grants areas of FDO.

12. Navigating the FDO Search Taxonomy

Speaking of the Fields of Interest/Subject/Recipient Type search indexes, those are very long lists of terms that can be a challenge for newer users. A few months ago, we added a feature to index search to help make that process easier. Look for the mini “filter box” at the top of the index, right above the alphabet menu, and start typing your search term. This will filter the choices to matching terms, and you can then select one or more of those, saving you time from hunting through the whole list letter by letter.

11. One More Thing About Those Search Terms

Did you know there’s a complete list of all the Field of Interest/Subject/Recipient Type terms? Go to the Help section and look in the table of contents for the Complete List of Search Index Terms link (PDF). From there, Sandy Pon suggests:

Print/bookmark the full list. Mark it up! Highlight terms that describe your mission, programs, population served. Or answer these questions: 1) Who are you serving? 2) What are you doing for them? The more terms that you can use to describe your project, the more funders you’ll find in FDO.

Try these out, and we’ll be back next month with five more! And, please share your own favorite tips and techniques!

Not an FDO subscriber? Now’s a great time to get on board so you can use these tips: until 11/30 1/31, new monthly subscribers can buy 3 months and get 1 additional month free! Plus, you’ll get a free FDO training webinar valued at $69. Select “Special Offer” at checkout!