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.

October 08, 2018

Partners in Philanthropy: How to Work with Donor-Advised Funds

Last year, Giving USA’s Annual Report called donor-advised funds (DAFs) one of the “hottest topics in the philanthropic community.”1 Between 2007 and 2016, assets in donor-advised funds nationwide skyrocketed from $32 billion to $85 billion,2 and this trend continues today. Who uses DAFs? How can your nonprofit collaborate with DAF advisors to meet your goals? I explore these questions below.

WHAT IS A DONOR-ADVISED FUND?

A donor-advised fund is a giving tool that charitable individuals use to tax-effectively consolidate, accrue, and grant assets to public charities. You can think of it as an investment account dedicated solely to your charitable giving.

Donor-advised funds are managed by sponsoring organizations, which are themselves 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Sponsoring organizations generally fall into three categories: community foundations, single-issue organizations, or national organizations, such as Vanguard Charitable.

HOW DOES A DONOR-ADVISED FUND WORK?

  1. A donor contributes to a DAF and takes an immediate tax deduction. The charitable assets now legally belong to that DAF’s sponsoring organization. The donor, and other named individuals, often become a DAF advisor.
  2. The DAF advisor can recommend how the assets in the DAF are invested; proceeds grow tax-free.
  3. The DAF advisor can recommend grants to the nonprofits he or she wishes to support. The sponsoring organization will conduct due diligence and, if that research shows the organizations are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions, issue the grants to the charities.

Note that specific policies vary by sponsoring organization—most donors weigh the different options before opening a DAF.

Donor-advised-funds-from-Vanguard

(Image credit: Vanguard Charitable)

WHY DO DONORS USE A DONOR-ADVISED FUND?

1. Convenience: Instead of having to personally track all their giving, advisors can use DAFs as a centralized hub to simplify their philanthropy. One contribution can fund multiple donations to an advisor’s favorite charity or charities.

2. Increased giving potential: Assets in a DAF are invested tax-free, enabling many advisors to grant much more to charity in the long run.

3. Flexibility: In the wake of crises such as last year’s hurricanes, DAF advisors can respond quickly. Charitable resources in a DAF are “primed” and ready for rapid disbursal.

4. New charitable assets: Most sponsoring organizations can accept donations of non-cash assets such as appreciated securities. These often-overlooked charitable assets pull additional resources into the philanthropic community.

WHO GIVES THROUGH DONOR-ADVISED FUNDS?

With nearly 1,000 sponsoring organizations and more than 280,000 individual DAFs,3 some with multiple advisors, it is hard to generalize about this diverse philanthropic population. A DAF advisor may be a retiree who opened a DAF so that he or she could continue giving after leaving work. Or, a DAF advisor may have found a private foundation to be too costly and burdensome, and opted for a cheaper giving tool with more flexibility. Many DAFs are advised by families who have pooled their charitable resources and view philanthropy as a communal endeavor.

The average DAF advisor in the United States has roughly $300,000 in his or her account,4 and nonprofits report that gifts from DAFs tend to be larger than their typical contributions. The average gift from a Vanguard Charitable advisor, for example, is nearly $12,000.

In removing the administrative burdens of charitable giving, DAFs allow their advisors to pursue a comprehensive, long-term strategy. For nonprofits, this means your donors with DAFs may well be repeat givers. At Vanguard Charitable, the vast majority of our advisors are involved in philanthropy beyond financial contributions. Ninety percent of our advisors also volunteer, serve on a board, or otherwise lend expertise, time, or resources.5

Anonymity is a concern for some nonprofits working with DAF advisors. However, only 5 percent of Vanguard Charitable grants are anonymous.6 The remaining 95 percent allow nonprofits to engage in some form of stewardship.

WHAT ARE DAF ADVISORS LOOKING FOR IN NONPROFITS?

Vanguard Charitable advisors often discuss the best way to identify charities doing meaningful work in their area of interest.

One way that you can distinguish your organization from similar ones is to provide comprehensive and up-to-date information to GuideStar. Vanguard Charitable is one of more than 200 sites and programs that share GuideStar Nonprofit Profile information with their users. DAF advisors appreciate transparency, as additional information enables them to make more informed, strategic decisions. Maintaining an updated GuideStar profile can pay dividends: As they research charities to support, Vanguard Charitable advisors make more than 15,000 searches each month via the GuideStar National Nonprofit Directory.

HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH DONOR-ADVISED FUNDS

Generally, nonprofits cannot solicit gifts directly from sponsoring organizations, but there are many ways you can strengthen your relationship with DAFs:7

  1. Actively promote your ability to accept grants from DAFs. Consider mentioning donor-advised funds on your website, in solicitation offers, and on promotional materials. You can also suggest that your donors with DAFs set up automatic recurring grants.
  2. Educate your entire organization about gifts from DAFs so that they can be processed smoothly. Remember: DAF advisors are interested in efficiency and convenience! For example, you should not send a tax receipt to DAF advisors, as they’ve already received one from the sponsoring organization, but you may send a thank-you letter to help stay connected.
  3. Steward sponsoring organizations. Don’t send them solicitation letters, but have a working knowledge of prominent sponsoring organizations. Feel free to send them an acknowledgment letter when you receive a gift.
  4. Be familiar with IRS rules concerning DAFs. Grants from a DAF cannot result in impermissible benefit to the DAF account advisors, their family members, or the donor to the DAF account. Grants must be made exclusively for charitable purposes. Vanguard Charitable includes language with each grant to help you understand how the funds can be used.

OUR DONORS ARE YOUR DONORS

I like to tell nonprofits to think of us as members of the same team. Our donors are your donors, and our mission is to increase philanthropy in the United States and maximize its impact over time. We cannot do this without you and your vital work. Together we can continue to help create a better world.

 

Rebecca Moffett is Vanguard Charitable’s Chief Strategic Planning Officer. Rebecca is focused on building awareness of the benefits of strategic philanthropy and is committed to improving donors' giving experiences. In her charitable endeavors, Rebecca is an alumnus of Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Eastern Pennsylvania and is also active in her church community. She earned her bachelor's degree and MBA from Saint Joseph's University.

Original post on Guidestar.

September 17, 2018

Explore New Funding Prospects with Recipient Profiles

 

Leverage Grant Recipient profiles:

  • Discover new funding opportunities
  • Help shape your prospecting strategy
  • Quickly gain fundraising insights

 

 

BlogPostRecipientCharts

 

Recipient Profiles help you discover new prospects you may have missed in your grant search and help you understand how to approach funders. Now you can easily gather key fundraising insights using FDO’s interactive Recipient Charts. You can access Recipient Profiles and all insights on grant recipients in FDO Professional.

View the data in Recipient Charts by Grant Amounts or Number of Grants using the toggle bar.

 

[Tip 1] Who's funding your mission?

Recipient Charts give you quick insights on the types of funders giving to your mission.

 

[Tip 2] Where are relevant funders located?

View the proximity of funders giving to peers from as close as the same city, town, or region (neighboring states) to as far as another country.

 

[Tip 3] How large are grants awarded to your cause?

Understand how much funders are giving to peers and the size of those grants to see how much those funders most commonly give. Use this chart to help inform you on how much to request.

 

Get Started-blog

 

Video-icon-blogSee more on FDO’s recipient profiles>

 

Turn Insights Into Action, Connect with Funders

 

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Ready to take the next step in your grant search? Now that you’ve had some time to search for prospects and started building your prospect list, use these three steps to convert prospects to funders.

 

[Tip 1] Start with Who’s Who

Review the list of staff and affiliations within your chosen grantmaker profiles by navigating to the Who’s Who section of the grantmaker profile.

 

[Tip 2] Leverage FDO to connect with funders

See who you’re connected to at the foundation with FDO’s LinkedIn integration. The LinkedIn icon will appear next to staff you are connected to—click on the LinkedIn icon to open their profile from FDO (functionality accessible in Professional only). To see your connections to grantmakers make sure you’re also signed in to LinkedIn. 

 

[Tip 3] Reach out to prospects

Look beyond searching for open RFPs and connect with funders who fit your work and mission. Understand funders’ priorities and start cultivating partnerships. Introductions are one of the most effective ways to open the door with a new funder.

Have you tried these FDO top tips on how to approach funders? Take the next step and reach out to funders that match your organization’s mission and program. You can also apply these best practices and view this FDO sample outreach letter from our development expert.

 

Get Started-blog

 

Video-icon-blogSee FDO’s LinkedIn Integration in action>

 

Make the Most of Your Grantmaker Results & FDO’s Latest Insights

 

We add nearly 100,000 new grants and RFPs weekly, so you can always have access to the latest grantmaker data and insights. Equipped with these insights, strengthen your proposals to make them most appealing to funders.

 

Leverage Grantmaker profiles:

  • Discover how closely they align to your mission
  • See how much funders are giving to your subject area
  • Keep abreast of grantmaker updates
  • See who they are funding
  • Learn how to apply
  • Access key decision makers with our LinkedIn integration

 

DataVisualizations-NewFDO

 

[Tip 1] Save Your Searches

FDOsave-icon-blogWhen you’ve completed a search that you might like to review again later, make sure you use the Save icon at the top of your search results. You can then find your saved search in Workspace or on your homepage.

With your FDO search results, sort by any column to view prospects using the different data points (amount funded, grant count, total giving, city, state, or by name) depending on what you’re looking for.

 

[Tip 2] Utilize the Grants Data Specific to Your Mission

With each of your searches, see how much funders are giving to your cause based on your search criteria in the Amount Funded column.  Amount Funded is adjusted based on your search criteria. (Details on Grants available in Professional).

 

[Tip 3] Get Insights from the Interactive Charts & Map

From the grantmaker profiles, use the interactive charts and map presented at the top to see if it is a funder you would like to keep on exploring and if the funder might be a fit.

Drill down into the charts and map to view more detail on the funders’ mission priorities (Grantmaker Charts & Map are interactive in FDO Professional only). Once assessing the grantmaker, you can then pull key data points on the grantmakers’ giving aligned to your mission from these charts and map. Explore the grantmakers’ grants and recipients to further understand the funder’s mission and giving alignment. What you learn about funders from the grantmaker profiles will also help you approach your best matched funders.

 

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Ensure you don’t miss a qualified funder:

Within each grantmaker profile, use Other Funders to Consider to guide you in your search for additional funders that have similar giving patterns based on subject area, geographic area served and grant amounts.

 

Receive Grantmaker Updates in Your State with FDO’s Update Central

Keep up-to-date on grantmakers’ leadership changes, new priority areas and support changes, plus find out about new grantmakers in your state with Update Central. You can sign up to receive monthly email updates about grantmakers, or run customized reports by state directly in FDO’s Update Generator. Access Update Central by navigating to the Workspace menu and selecting Update Central.

 

Get Started-blog

 

Video-icon-blog Tour FDO’s grantmaker profile features>

 

Welcome to your handy FDO Guide

 

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[Tip 1] Optimize Your Searches Using the Global Search Bar

 

Search FDO as you would any search engine and get results specific to your grantseeking needs. Begin your search directly from your homepage when you log into your account.

One search for all your needs yields: grantmakers, grants, and recipients – it’s that easy!

Simply enter a short phrase that describes your work into the global search bar— such as your field of work and where you are looking to be funded. You can now search more intuitively than ever to find what you’re looking for.

Remember, it’s best to start your search broadly as grantmakers classify their funding support in many different ways. For example, start your search with “performing arts in New York City” instead of “ballet in New York City.” Drill deeper and see if these grantmakers and grants fit your needs. What you learn from a grantmaker profile will also help you refine your funder search. Include the city your nonprofit is in in your search – and search broader by searching using state – to get a sense of what organizations are sending dollars to your region.



[Tip 2] Searching for Organizations by Name

 

Interested in a particular foundation? If you want to search for a specific organization by name, click Search by Organization below the global search bar or use the Organization Name field in Advanced Search & Filters, instead of using the global search bar.

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[Tip 3] Leverage Advanced Search & Filters to Drill Further

Use Advanced Search & Filters to refine your broader search results. With insights from the grantmaker, grant and recipient profiles, consider how you might want to filter further— for example, you may want to see specific transaction types or grants in a certain dollar range. With Advanced Search you can also search for specific geolocations, funders, recipients, or even staff. 

Only use as many additional filters as required so you don’t miss a funder that may be interested in your work!

 

Select from the drop-down menu options or use the type-ahead feature in the Advanced Search & Filters fields to help frame your search—this will give you other ways to define what you’re looking for and help you identify the results you need.  

 

Now You’re Ready:

  • Find your best matched funders
  • Get the most up-to-date insights on funders
  • Dive into the giving landscape relevant to your mission
  • Discover the decision makers and connect to funders
  • Leverage grantmaker and recipient profiles to win grants with targeted proposals

 

Get Started-blog

 

Video-icon-blogSee FDO's search in action>

 

September 10, 2018

5 Ways to Seek Corporate Giving

Corporatefunders-blogCorporate companies support nonprofits in a variety of different ways, FDO offers a window into many of them. The following are some of the more common means by which companies give.

  1. Company-sponsored foundation – A company-sponsored foundation is a separate entity from the corporation. Approaching a company foundation for a grant is just like applying to any other type of foundation. There are usually guidelines and an application process, and these details – as well as a giving history – can be found in FDO.
  2. In-kind gifts – Many companies prefer to donate their own products or services to nonprofits. Called “in-kind support,” this can be a good way for a nonprofit to start a relationship with a company. For example, if you run a soup kitchen, you might approach a food company or local supermarkets for supplies. To find companies that offer in-kind donations in FDO, find Transaction Type under Advanced Search & Filters, and select “in kind gifts.
  3. Corporate giving programs – A corporate giving program is administered by the company itself, often through a dedicated department such as Community Relations. Tracking down corporate giving programs can be challenging. When available, FDO will have contact information and guidelines about these types of programs, but seldom prior giving information
  4. Workplace giving – Workplace giving encompasses a number of different programs that encourage and facilitate employees’ donations of cash and/or volunteer time to nonprofits in their communities.

Tip: Find out where your volunteers and donors work to find employees that can act as your cheerleader.

Some of the more popular workplace giving programs offered by corporations are:

  • Employee Matching Gifts: Employers will sometimes match employees' charitable contributions.
  • Volunteer Support Programs: Employees who volunteer in their communities make their companies look good, and employers may offer what’s called “Dollars for Doers" – providing grants to nonprofits their employees support. Also, if you need volunteers, some companies will help organize groups of employees for various nonprofit projects.
  • Pro bono expertise: Some companies will “donate” their professional expertise.
  • Annual Giving Campaigns: Donations through Payroll Deductions can also be set up for employees who wish to effortlessly donate to a worthy cause. However, usually nonprofits must be affiliated with a “pass through” organization, like the United Way or the Combined Federal Campaign.

Utilize the Transaction Type filter under Advanced Search & Filters to search for grantmakers who support these types of Workplace giving.

5. Corporate sponsorship / Cause-related marketing – Both of these are advertising opportunities, and therefore must be entered into thoughtfully. It’s worthwhile to note,

donors could perceive a nonprofit as “selling out” to a company not seen as socially responsible.

Think like a marketer – what products or services do your donors or clients likely use, and what companies offer them? Also, don’t ignore small businesses in your community.

The key thing to keep in mind when approaching companies for any type of support is that they are profit-making enterprises and are looking for some kind of “return on investment” for their philanthropic dollars. Motivations for giving might include getting their name in front of potential customers, keeping their employees happy, or burnishing their reputation in their communities. Your job is to discover what they want and convince them that supporting you is a win-win for all involved.

 

Lori Guidry - Foundation Center San Francisco Lead

As City Lead for Foundation Center West, Lori oversees Foundation Center public services and programming for the social sector in the Bay Area — helping nonprofits in the region find the information and tools they need to be successful. She has worked in information services for more than 15 years, specializing in business and marketing topics, including corporate social responsibility. A native of Chicago, she earned her Masters in Library & Information Science from Dominican University in River Forest, IL.

August 29, 2018

The Board’s Role in Fundraising for Your Organization

Board Fundraising

Getting the board to fundraise can be a very challenging experience even when board members recognize that a primary responsibility of every nonprofit board is ensuring that the organization has the resources it needs to meet its mission.

One of the first things that can help is to distinguish between “Fundraising” and “Development.”  “Fundraising” is an activity with a beginning, middle and an end that results in dollars, while “Development” can be seen as an ongoing, never-ending process of acquiring a wide range of resources for the organization.  All board members can participate in both areas in a number of ways including:

  • Ensuring that there is a viable development plan in place
  • Partnering with staff to meet annual fundraising goals
  • Helping to identify and cultivate potential donors
  • Owning their responsibility to act as ambassadors for the organization
  • Making a personal gift
  • Soliciting donations from their extended personal universe
  • Helping to create and maintain a culture of philanthropy throughout the organization

To elevate the board’s capacity to engage in fundraising, it can be helpful to engage an outside consultant or consulting firm to facilitate and inform a discussion about the thorny issues that might emerge. A neutral party can help keep the conversation at both a high-level - connected to passion, values, mission and best practices - and a practical level that explores individual challenges, identifies the dynamics of effective fundraising, discusses ways to overcome resistance and examines how a person’s own relationship to money influences their ability to fundraise.

Here are some tips to effectively engage your board to fundraise:

  • Implement a strategic plan that clearly communicates the board’s fundraising goals
  • Create a compelling vision of what the board is fundraising for and be clear in messaging
  • Encourage the board to leverage their network of contacts to achieve their development goals
  • Establish mechanisms for accountability among board members and inspire teamwork

Want to learn more about the dynamics of effective fundraising? Join me on Thursday, September 6 for the live webinar How to Establish Expectations for Board Fundraising. No one is born knowing how to do this and some people will be naturally better and more able than others.  That said, clear expectations, a strong board/staff partnership, ongoing training, a deep understanding of the program, an engaging mix of stories and statistics, and a deep understanding of how each board member contributes to the development process can make any board member a successful fundraiser.

Frank Abdale, Senior Associate Consultant, Support Center

View Bio

 

August 16, 2018

Key Steps to Fundraising Success

 

 

Did you know 90% of foundations don’t have websites?

Foundation Directory Online gives you access to key information you need to win funding — find that funder today through FDO! You can search over 140,000 grantmakers and easily see how much support they give, based on your specific mission. Build stronger prospect lists through grant and peer funding insights to win that funding you need to succeed.

FDO-info-blog

FDO is everything you need in one fundraising tool. Subscribe to FDO today!

July 23, 2018

How to Leverage Your Nonprofit Data to Win Corporate Grants

Corporate 350Data is literally everywhere.  Every search done on Google or every second spent on LinkedIn is collected and converted to data.  According to Internet Live Stats, Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second or 3.5 billion searches per day - that is just one internet platform!  Companies are taking enormous amounts of data, analyzing it and translating it into strategic insights. Those insights help make strategic decisions in real time across the entire organizational enterprise.  This includes, how they engage with cause partners in corporate social responsibility activities.

Companies used to form a foundation or community relations team and task those staff members with defining what good the company would do in the world.  For the most part, the corporate social responsibility initiatives were decided amongst these teams and the nonprofits supported were chosen based on C-suite executive interest. Meaning that executive had a passion for a particular cause, giving pillars were created, and the chosen nonprofit qualified for one of those categories. Unfortunately, the cause partners were not chosen based on sophisticated data and the outcomes of the partnership were certainly not measured for complex impact.

Luckily the process has changed - companies are now using data analysis to not only decide what causes to partner with, but to analyze the value of that partnership for their overall brand and business outcomes.  

What does that mean for nonprofit causes?

In response to the more sophisticated analysis by companies, nonprofits must measure outcomes and must report those specific outcomes to their corporate partners.  That measurement has to be more sophisticated than ever before to justify the relationship. The nonprofits that understand they have to measure outcomes and proactively provide that data to their corporate partners are the ones that are succeeding – and raising more money for the cause.  

 

Let’s take a look at what nonprofits used to measure and the info provided to their corporate partners:

  • Donor or constituent age/gender/ethnicity
  • Total campaign impressions garnered in the marketplace around any activities done together
  • Celebrity brand interaction

 

Companies are looking for more measurements from their cause partners in today’s Big Data environment - it falls into three main categories:

  • Cause Impact - what did the company’s time, talent and resources do for the cause in the communities in which they do business.  
  • Constituent Impact - how did employees and consumers respond to the partnership with the cause
  • Return on Investment - what return on investment did the company get from the partnership with the cause

 

Learn how your nonprofit can successfully measure data on August 16 at 2:30 EST during the webinar How To Use Data To Raise More Money From Corporations. Maureen Carlson will break down what specific data and measurements companies are looking for from their nonprofits partners, and the best way to deliver that data!