Back to Eye on FDO

Category: "Searching FDO" (32 posts)

May 17, 2018

Three Easy Steps To Identify New Funding Prospects  

Blogpost-FindFundingWith so many potential funders out there, grant research can be a daunting task. But with a few simple tricks, grant research can produce amazing results pretty quickly. First off, there is a wealth of information to be found in Foundation Directory Online. Let’s look at a few ways to use this tool to find great new prospects for your current needs. The first step to successful grant research is knowing what you are looking for.

Start with a list of the things you need, how much they will cost, and when you need them in hand. Here at Funding For Good, we use our needs list in conjunction to help us determine all the answers needed to be effective in our research. 

Once you have all the prep work done, you are ready to jump online.

Let’s take a look at three easy ways to identify new funding prospects you may not have thought of or didn’t know how to search for previously.

  1. Search for foundations that have funded similar organizations in the past. In order to conduct this search, you first need to know the nonprofit organizations who do similar work, their official names, and where they are located.

Once you have the basic information, hop on Foundation Directory Online and click the upper right link in the search box that says Advanced Search. Once this box opens, you will see a box in the lower left corner that says Organization Name. In this box, you can type the organization name and choose the one you want to investigate. The search results will show you all the foundations who have funded  the organization in the past, the year of funding, the amount funded, the description of what the project funded, etc.

  1. Search for foundations that have funded YOUR organization in the past. Here’s a crazy idea that many people new to an organization or new to the world of nonprofits never think about: Who has funded us in the past? Many organizations don’t have stellar records about foundations that have given them grants previously, what the money was used for, or how much was granted. Crazy, but true! Refer to #1 and run that search on your own organization. See who has given to you in the past. Has a foundation that has an interest in your work been neglected? Perhaps you need to revisit some past supporters and get them back in the fold.
  1. Search for foundations by Geographic Focus. Do you know all of the foundations that provide funding in your county, in surrounding counties, or in your region? Would you like to? I know I love using that information when I’m researching prospects for a specific area. It’s easy peasy with Foundation Directory Online. Simply go to the Advanced Search link and type in the county and state in the Geographic Focus box (top row, center box). You’ll see the list of all foundations that award grants in that county appear. Now you can research all the foundations that send funding to a geographic area and see who might support your work. Do this for each region in your service area or where you have an impact. You might be surprised at some of the prospects you uncover.

Two additional tidbits to keep in mind.

Tidbit #1: Don’t limit yourself to super specific Subject Areas in your search. Many foundations will give to a variety of organizations, so using more general terms will lend to better results.

Tidbit #2: Don’t freak out when you see “We only fund pre-selected charitable organizations” or “We don’t accept unsolicited proposals.” To learn more about these two phrases and what they really mean, check out this blog: The Dreaded Phrases of Grant Research.

MANDY PEARCE is a grant writing expert, executive coach, and national fundraising trainer who launched Funding for Good, Inc. in 2009 to equip organizations with the skills and tools needed to become successful and sustainable. Mandy has taken her passion and expertise for fundraising to the development field and shared it with individuals and organizations for over 21 years. Her dynamic teaching style brings thousands of people annually to her presentations at conventions, trainings, and workshops. Mandy lives in Hickory, NC with her husband and their rescue dogs, Leo and Dalli, who share her enthusiasm for the outdoors.

April 13, 2018

Introducing FDO’s Newest Feature: Recipient Profile Charts

 

BlogPostRecipientCharts

We’re excited to announce a new powerful feature in FDO is here: Interactive charts on recipient profiles.  

New Recipient Charts provide insights you can leverage in your research and when you’re searching for new funding opportunities.

But how do Recipient Profiles help your funding search?

Utilize Recipient Profiles to:

  1. Discover new funding opportunities
  2. Shape your prospecting strategy
  3. Quickly gain fundraising insights

What you can do with New Recipient Charts

With Recipient Charts you can quickly see grantseeking trends and organizational insights to help guide your prospecting, find new prospects and better understand how to approach potential funders. The first Recipient Chart gives you insights on the types of funders giving to an organization and the percentage of total funding each type of funder makes up of the organization’s grant portfolio.

The second chart shows the proximity of funders to the recipient they are giving to, giving you insight on how you can expand your prospect list. Proximity is indicated by the following geographic areas:

  • Local: Funders who are located within the same city or town as the recipient
  • State: Funders who are located within the same state as the recipient
  • Region: Funders who are located in states with a shared border as the recipient
  • Country: Funders who are located in the same country as the recipient
  • International: Funders who are not located within the same country as the recipient

With this funder proximity chart, you see how much money is being awarded from each of these geographic areas and the percentage of total funding each geographic area makes up.

These first two Recipient Charts can be viewed by Grant Amounts or Number of Grants.

The third graph will help guide you on the optimal amount to request from a funder. With this grant size graph, you can understand how much funders are giving to peers and the size of those grants to see how much those funders most commonly give.

New Recipient Charts are available in the new FDO, Professional.

Start uncovering new opportunities with Recipient Charts»

 

Join us for a live webinar on May 1st (2:00PM EST), where we’ll introduce new Recipient Charts, discuss Recipient Profiles, and provide a tour of the new FDO. 

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…

  NewFDOAnnouncementGIF-SFM

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.

ResultsDashboard-NewFDO

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.

AmountFunded-GMResults-NewFDO
 

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.

DataVisualizations-NewFDO

 

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. 

WhosWho-NewFDO

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.

OthersToConsider-NewFDO

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→

October 17, 2017

6 Top Tips To Approach Funders

(Including Those Who Are Not Accepting Applications!) 

Growth-Image-forblog

Foundation Center’s Development Manager, Aleda Gagarin, shares her development expertise to answer the burning question every fundraiser asks themselves:

Does the grantmaker accept applications and should I even consider this funder if they don’t?  

“Do they, or don’t they?” It’s a tempting question to start with when doing grant prospect research, centering on whether or not grantmakers accept unsolicited proposals. It seems like an easy non-starter to help you filter out prospects, but in reality, the question of whether to consider funders not accepting unsolicited proposals is a bit of a catch-22.  On the one hand, it’s not likely that a cold proposal to a grantmaker that doesn’t accept them will get anywhere; on the other, imagine how many proposals grantmakers that do accept unsolicited proposals have to sift through. The likelihood of yours rising to the top suddenly doesn’t seem much better.

Consider Prospects Even When They Don't Accept Applications

There’s a better way to prospect, and it requires longer-term vision and relationship cultivation. It requires a deeper dive into the grants a grantmaker is making, and centers around a deep knowledge and belief in your own work and mission. Ideally, your prospect research will help you narrow down a list of foundations with giving that reflects your cause, your locale, the population you serve, and your mission. From there, you further narrow down the list by selecting foundations who historically giving grants similar in size and scope to what you are looking for. Do not disregard prospects that fit your work and mission in every way just because they do not accept unsolicited proposals.

In development, it is our goal in life to get on the radar of funders that we believe would make meaningful long-term partners in supporting our work financially, helping us develop organizationally, and increasing our ability to serve. The ‘accepting proposals’ question has nothing to do with how well a funder fits with our work. In such cases, we must find other ways to bring our work to their attention — to help them see us a good partner in helping them achieve their own missions. So, how do we get our work in front of them, without being disregarded with a cold proposal? Here are a few places to start:

  • Make sure program officers we want to partner with are on newsletters about our work, so that they can begin to see and understand our work in real-time, and so that we remain on their radar.
  • Network! Make in-person connections at events. Ask questions about other people’s work, and be excited about your own. An event is rarely the best time to ask to apply for a grant, but it’s a great way to start building a relationship that could turn into solid, long-term support.
  • Connect the dots: research who works where and who you know, and ask someone in your circle to make a warm introduction for you. If you're an FDO user, take advantage of FDO's LinkedIn feature to learn more about key staffers and leverage your connections for the introductions you need. 
  • Send your prospect news coverage or other interesting materials that cover the work you do that also aligns with theirs.
  • Be savvy on social media. Connect with them online. Share good content, and ask good questions. This will also help you better understand funders’ changing interests!
  • Invite them for an onsite visit! Ask them to come tour your office, see your work, come to an event. Let them see the value of your work with their own eyes whenever possible.
  • You also never know when a funder might start accepting applications, so approaching funders that are a good fit can give you an advantage in the future. (FDO lets you know in real-time when RFPs are available.) Get to know funders and inspire them to get to know you, so that when the time is right, you’ll be top of mind to receive an invitation to apply.

It seems easy to send off cold proposals to whomever will accept them; but it rarely ever pays off. Build yourself a thorough and thoughtfully researched prospect list, and then consider your best approach. Think outside the box. Prioritize building relationships with funders who you truly believe would make excellent partners and who will both value and improve your work. Don’t stretch your work or water it down into something it isn’t just to fit criteria of a funder who is easy to apply to; believe in your work and focus your development work on finding funders whose missions truly align with yours.

August 11, 2017

New FDO Coming Soon!  

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

 

GIF-NewFDO-SFM-700

 

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 grants.gov.  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.

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.

Fixes

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

Notices

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 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. 

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!