September 18, 2019

NEW FEATURE: View Open RFPs Directly in FDO

FDO now makes it easier to keep up to date with open RFPs. You can customize what RFPs you see on your FDO homepage based on your Field of Interest.

New RFPs Feature
To change your field of interest, click on “Change Field of Interest” on your homepage or under the “Update Profile” section of your Account area.

 

You can also subscribe for weekly RFP update notifications. Simply check the box in the Current RFPs header to begin receiving these updates.

💡 Expert Tip: Open RFPs only make up a small portion of funding opportunities. Get access to all of the funding available to you by clicking on funders in the view Similar Funders section or conducting a full search using the main search bar in FDO. Unlock all the grantmakers who want to support your cause!

August 26, 2019

Tap into Donor-advised Funds with FDO

Expert fundraisers recognize that Donor-advised Funds are a growing source of funding for nonprofits. Between 2007 and 2016, assets in donor-advised funds nationwide skyrocketed from $32 billion to $85 billion[1].

You can now prospect research for DAFs easier in FDO. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to Organizational Type filter
  2. Expand Charitable gift funds (grantmaker)
  3. Select Donor-advised funds
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Open Additional Filter, go to Organization Type, select DAFs

 

💡Expert Tip: To ensure your organization is applicable for DAF funding, make sure to update your Nonprofit Profile on GuideStar and share basic financial information to earn a Silver Seal of Transparency. To get started, visit guidestar.org/update

 

 

[1] https://eyeonfdo.foundationcenter.org/2018/10/partners-in-philanthropy-how-to-work-with-donor-advised-funds.html

 

August 15, 2019

NEW FEATURE: Search for Grantmakers in a Specific Location

Good news! Searching for Grantmakers or Recipients in a specific location just got easier. Simply use the Organization Name filter AND Location filter together.

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This new upgrade will help streamline your prospect research.

💡Expert Tip: To ensure you don’t miss out on a potential funder, begin your prospect research by searching for all grantmakers supporting your mission. Simply use the global search bar.

May 21, 2019

A Foundation Insider’s 8 Tips to Help You Win Your Next Grant

GettyImages-171335460One of my favorite sections in the revised edition of my book the Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Winning Foundation Grants is called “The Grant Seeker’s Reality Check.” In 10 brief chapters I examine, from the vantage point of one who served for 40 years as a foundation CEO, a host of dos and don’ts when preparing and submitting proposals. 

You’ll discover, for instance, the four things you should never do when approaching foundations, the five mistakes many if not most applicants make, and seven ways to increase the chance of your proposal receiving full attention. In this space, I’ll share a handful of suggestions to increase the likelihood of your next proposal getting funded. 

1. BE INFORMED

To insure you’re targeting the correct funder, obtain and study their grants list for the past three years. Pay attention to more than the organizations that received support. It will also be helpful to know the lowest, highest, and typical amounts granted, the grant type (for example, general support versus project support), and the duration of the award—single versus multi-year. 

💡Fundraising tip: FDO Professional will give you access to a funder’s complete grant history to help you prioritize your prospecting efforts. 

2. BE CONCRETE

Funders want to know what they’re getting for their money. That’s why so many of the items we buy come in transparent packaging. Your proposal should be a clear container showing exactly what will result from the funder’s investment. Concrete, measurable results will provide core reasons for funders to support you. 

3. BE JUDICIOUS

So often, in the rush and stress of completing a funding request, the proposal writer is faced with decisions about what to include. There’s a natural but counterproductive tendency to pile on information, perhaps with the thought that bulk is impressive. The end result can be a mammoth and dense proposal that works against the goal of creating enthusiasm for your work. When in doubt of including a piece of correspondence or documentation, don’t. 

4. BE REALISTIC

When it comes to presenting your budget, you’re indicating that you know what resources are needed to achieve the results you want, and that you can access and deploy these resources efficiently. Are you absolutely sure the amounts you list are prudent? Not only should your budget add up—and avoid simple math errors—but it also has to support the logic of the proposal’s narrative. For example, a $100,000 budget to reconstruct 16 flooded houses won’t make sense, nor will $700,000 to hire two new staff. Be certain that everything in your proposal is accounted for in your budget. Conversely, omit budget details that aren’t fully explained in the proposal narrative. 

5. BE READY

Foundations are wary of all-or-nothing funding strategies, especially when pressed by more requests than they can fund. If you’re asked the question, “What will you do if we only support part of your request?” be ready with a credible fallback position that shows how your work will go forward with partial funding. 

6. BE GRATEFUL

There’s no need to gush or order flowers, but send a thank-you note to the program officer, whether you receive funding or not. Since he or she worked on your behalf, letting them know you recognize and appreciate their advocacy solidifies the feeling of relationship, which is central to good fundraising now or in the future. 

7. BE PUNCTUAL

Get your reports in on time, as this clearly demonstrates competence, respect, good planning, and success. When you force the funder to chase you to comply with the contract you signed, you’re establishing a counter-productive dynamic. Most funders have long memories. 

8. BE FORTHCOMING

We live in an imperfect world, and sometimes you’ll fail to do what you said you would. Don’t duck talking about the unforeseen or unexpected. Point out what happened differently from what you had planned or hoped for, and give specific reasons why this was the case. Don’t make excuses; just be matter-of-fact about the various outcomes, both planned for and not. 

CLOSING THOUGHTS 

In closing, I’ll add Don’t Beat Yourself Up. Keep in your mind, no matter what others may say, that you’re employed to do the best you can making funding requests. But it is your organization, with its board, staff, and program, that is the applicant. If successful, you did your component of the group’s work well. If funding didn’t come through, that doesn’t mean you did poor work. It means the foundation said no. Ultimately, getting funded is a result of the entire organization’s efforts. You’re but one element. 

 

By Martin Teitel, former CEO of the Cedar Tree Foundation in Boston, is author of the newly updated edition of The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Winning Foundation Grants, from which this article is adapted.

Source: GuideStar Blog

February 15, 2019

High-Impact Volunteer Engagement: Six Factors for Success

2.21.19 High-Impact Volunteer Engagement Raw

If you are like most nonprofits, your organization is often strapped for capacity. In fact, on average, most nonprofits spend a mere 2% of their budget to support key operations like marketing, technology, or human resources, while peers in the corporate sector typically invest upwards of 35% of their budget on these functions.

Engaging skilled volunteers (also known as pro bono service) can be an effective way to bridge the capacity gap. It's important to recognize volunteers aren’t “free” and in order for skilled volunteerism to be effective, your organization must be ready to make the most of this valuable contribution of time and talent.

 

Six key factors have been identified to help you determine whether your nonprofit is ready to engage skills-based volunteers:

  1. Strong executive leadership: An engaged leader will not only inspire the volunteer team to connect with your organization’s mission but also ensure access to the support and resources necessary to a project’s success.
  2. Potential to create deep social impact: Organizations poised to create deep social impact make great candidates for skilled volunteer projects. A nonprofit with a strategic direction and measured outcomes can engage skills-based volunteers in contributing meaningful impact toward social change, which supports not only the organization’s mission, but also volunteer enthusiasm for the project.
  3. Effective relationship building: Skills-based volunteering requires partnership across sectors, so the ability to work with individuals and organizations from different cultures, sectors, and industries is crucial to a project’s success. Additionally, by fostering individual relationships with volunteers, your organization can create long-term champions, develop new corporate relationships, and potentially unlock new funding streams.​​​​​​​
  4. Organizational stability: Before engaging skilled volunteers, a nonprofit should be in a position of financial and operational stability. While no volunteer expects perfection from their nonprofit partner, and often the pro bono project can help build financial or operational capacity, the organization should not be in a period of staff or management transition or experiencing significant board turn-over. Without this stability, it is challenging to align a skilled volunteer project with an organization’s strategic direction, allocate the necessary resources to managing the project, and ensure the long-term sustainability of its outcomes.
  5. Commitment to capacity building: Since skills-based volunteerism focuses on building internal organizational infrastructure (i.e. not direct service activities), a nonprofit’s commitment to ongoing capacity building is essential. This commitment should start with senior leadership to ensure that your organization is willing to devote resources toward managing, implementing, and sustaining the results of your pro bono project.
  6. It takes time and resources to provide a positive volunteer experience. Nonprofits that evaluate volunteer experiences and plan for strategic volunteer engagement (including when to say “no” to support) will understand how to put volunteer time and talent to the best use possible to maximize the impact of your pro bono project.

By Jackie Hodgson, Common Impact

Join Candid and Common Impact on February 21, 2019 at 2:00 pm ET for the High-Impact Volunteer Engagement: Developing Effective Capacity Building Projects webinar, to learn more about these six factors for engaging in successful skills-based engagements along with an introduction on how to scope the right-sized project for your organization. Participants will receive Common Impact's Project Portfolio and Scoping Template to help them think through ways to identify organizational challenges and narrow them down into skills-based projects. In advance of the webinar, we encourage you to work through the Common Impact Organizational Readiness Wizard to understand key areas where your nonprofit may need support and prepare questions for the live, online training.

 

February 13, 2019

Meet Your Fundraising Needs with FDO as Your Partner

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You need the best prospecting tool available, Foundation Directory Online is committed to meeting your needs as a fundraiser.

Last year was a big year for FDO, we added nearly 70,000 new grants each week – that is a lot of data in one year! Good news, we are aiming for even bigger records in 2019.

Your organization is doing important work; enabling your success is our mission.

To learn more about FDO, check out our handy guide.

February 05, 2019

Some Big News: Foundation Center & GuideStar Have Joined Forces!


Candid+tagline-300px_goldWe’re excited! Foundation Center and GuideStar have joined forces to become Candid.

First things first: Foundation Directory Online will remain unchanged. You’ll still experience the same great prospecting tool you rely on to win funding, and the same high levels of customer service.

 

Why, then, have we joined forces to become Candid?

The answer is pretty simple: Foundation Center and GuideStar have always been committed to the same thing: empowering individuals and organizations with the insights to change the world. Together, our combined experience and expertise will allow us to do more than ever before.  

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We want to reassure our valued FDO subscribers that we remain as dedicated as ever to ensuring you have the best funding research tool available, continue to:

  • Improve FDO so you find the funding you need to power your work
  • Tap into funding insights from 14 million+ grants
  • Get access to Foundations, including Corporate funders and Public charities
  • Find your best matched funders based on your specific mission
  • Discover new prospecting opportunities from 700,000+ Recipient profiles*
  • Leverage FDO’s LinkedIn integration to build that connection

 

For more information head to candid.org or email us.

 

*Available with FDO Professional

January 14, 2019

NEW My FDO: Tools to Help you Manage Your Prospects

NEW My FDO is our first of many new feature launches for 2019! Make the most out of your prospect research, explore the benefits of My FDO.

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Grantseeking made easier with My FDO’s ability to help you manage your:

  • Tags
  • Saved Searches
  • Alerts
  • NEW Grantmaker Assessment Tool
  • Grant proposal tasks and due dates
  • Plus more!

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🚀 Take your prospecting to the next level, rate your Grantmakers with the NEW Grantmaker Assessment tool. Simply complete your personal assessment of the Grantmaker -  this rating will live on their profile. You can start straight from the Grantmaker profile.

 

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My FDO is your new workspace, better tools built to help you win the funding you need to succeed.

Happy fundraising!

December 17, 2018

Planned Giving Success: Strategies to Maximize Donor Gifts

20181217 giving blogDuring the eight years I’ve been a consultant, I’ve worked mainly with social justice nonprofit organizations with budgets of $5 million or less. These groups typically have one, or if they’re larger, up to three full-time development staff members. They’re stretched thin generating resources to meet their organizations’ immediate needs. Few have time to focus on a long-term fundraising vision or to invest in planned giving, due to limited staff capacities and resources.

These organizations may think encouraging planned gifts is a good idea, but there’s usually something else that takes precedence, like writing grant proposals and overseeing major gift campaigns.  

I get it. In a small development shop, raising money for current programmatic expenses is priority one. You, too, may have thought your organization should start a planned giving program. But you may be paralyzed about moving forward because of the seeming complexity of legacy gifts. Or you can’t imagine talking with donors about estate gifts without feeling crass.  

On January 24th, I’ll be leading a Foundation Center planned giving webinar that will address these barriers and hopefully move your organization forward into launching a planned giving effort. There are simple steps even small, grassroots groups can take to encourage legacy gifts. Below are some of the strategies I’ll outline in the webinar that can support your efforts.

Develop a Planned Giving Case for Support

A planned giving case for support focuses on why your organization should exist decades from now. Many of our organizations address complex problems that will take more than a lifetime to solve. Other groups focus on issues that may be resolved in the foreseeable future. Groups that work on entrenched challenges or that have evergreen appeal (like arts, education, and health) are in a stronger position to make the case they’ll need to thrive in 50 years.

Pitch for Support from Your Best Matched Funders

Once you have developed your case for planned giving support, next step is to propose this plan to your best matched funders. Use FDO to manage your list of past funders or find new funders. In FDO, you’ll easily be able to see how much a grantmaker supports your specific mission, use this handy tool to prioritize your prospects.

Develop Bequest Language

The vast majority of legacy gifts to nonprofit organizations are made through living trusts and wills. Some of your donors or their attorneys may contact you for language they can include in these documents to designate an estate gift to your organization. It’s simple to have that language ready for such inquiries.

Create a Planned Giving Page on Your Organization’s Website

When donors are creating or revising an estate plan, it should be easy for them to find the information they’ll need to make a legacy gift to your organization. Set up a page on your group’s website to provide basic information (like bequest language) supporters will need to include your organization in their plans.

Form a Legacy Society

Naming an organization as a beneficiary in an estate plan is a significant decision. Let your universe of supporters know that you’ve created a legacy society to recognize donors who have remembered your group in their plans. A legacy society is a way to encourage donors to tell you about their estate gift intentions.  

Setting up a basic planned giving infrastructure will facilitate your supporters to make estate gifts. Once you start learning of intended legacy gifts, you’ll want to do all you can to deepen your relationships with these special supporters.  

Make sure to join me in the upcoming January 24, 2019 webinar, Planned Giving Success: Strategies to Maximize Donor Gifts, to learn more about establishing strategies and systems to strengthen donor relationships and encourage legacy gifts, so you’re well equipped for planned giving success.

 

Stan Yogi - Senior Consultant Klein & Roth Consulting

 

About Stan Yogi: More than 28 years of experience with nonprofit organizations in fundraising and grantmaking. He was Director of Planned Giving at the ACLU of Northern California for 14 years, where he was also responsible for securing foundation grants and raising major annual gifts. Prior to joining the ACLU staff, he was a Program Officer for California Humanities, a statewide organization that awards grants for cultural and educational programs. He is the co-author of the award-winning books, Wherever There's a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California (Heyday, 2009) and Fred Korematsu Speaks Up (Heyday, 2017).

November 08, 2018

Expand Your International Organization’s Presence to Attract U.S. Funders

607493026-blogDuring my 10 years teaching and training nonprofits around the world, I have found that some of the biggest challenges they grapple with in seeking funding are related to differentiating themselves from the plethora of other great causes in the market; establishing their legitimacy in a field in which the few fraudulent ones have created fear, uncertainty and doubt in the minds of donors; and identifying which donors could potentially be interested in their cause, have the capacity to give and are accessible.

If you ask any group of U.S.-based foundations their primary source of information about a nonprofit with which they are unfamiliar most of them will likely say that they google to find out about them.  In the case of international nonprofits looking to raise funds in the U.S., the strength of their digital presence is critical in that it helps to convey the credibility of the organization, in the absence of a physical location the U.S. for funders to easily visit.  

In a market that has over 1.5 million nonprofits, international nonprofits looking to differentiate themselves without the advantage of having operations or programming in the U.S. need to leverage digital channels to convey their unique value proposition to compel support.  An effective digital presence for any nonprofit organization conveys a sense of trustworthiness, authenticity and clarity of purpose to the funders.

International nonprofits also need to be able to utilize resources available to them online, such as GrantSpace, to learn about the U.S.-based foundations that would potentially be interested in funding them. FDO is a key resource to discovering U.S. funders and unlocking the giving priorities of U.S. foundations that may be aligned with the causes of international nonprofits. Finding out who among them are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as SDG Funders, can help nonprofits to engage with funders online, as a means to potentially enter into their respective grantmaking processes.

Additionally, international nonprofits seeking to access U.S.-based foundations most likely need to establish a presence in the U.S., given that almost 70% of U.S. grants are made to U.S.-based intermediaries, whereas only 12% of them are made directly to international organizations in their local countries (source).  There are four paths international nonprofits can take to legally access U.S.-based funding:

  1. Equivalency Determination
  2. Expenditure Responsibility
  3. Fiscal Sponsorship
  4. Establishment of a 501(c) 3 organization

In the November 15th webinar, Expand Your International Organization’s Presence to Attract U.S. Funders, I will draw on my experience working with international nonprofits and helping nonprofits to establish their presence in the U.S. and online, to provide some you with practical strategies and tips to enable your international nonprofit to most effectively access U.S.-based foundations and to put its best foot forward when engaging with them. Register today!

 

Elizabeth Ngonzi

Adjunct Faculty, New York University Center for Global Affairs

Elizabeth Ngonzi is an experienced executive, award-winning human rights advocate, and seasoned educator dedicated to enabling youth and women worldwide to reach their full potential. She does so by developing platforms that enable them to reach their potential. Learn more about Elizabeth Ngonzi here.