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August 2010 (6 posts)

Telling Your Financial Story
August 30, 2010

These days, financial stability is on everyone's mind—nonprofits, foundations, and individual donors alike. Some grantmakers have even defined a particular response to the economic downturn, which can entail increased giving, special grant or loan programs, or temporary suspensions or reductions in giving. Whatever form it takes, if a grantmaker specifies a response to the economic crisis, it can be viewed at Glasspockets (in the Who Has Glass Pockets? area) and in the economic crisis field in FDO grantmaker profiles.

Lately there are a few optimistic reports out, stating that the worst is over and predicting growth in fundraising over the course of the coming year. Even so, fundraising and finance remains a hot topic. Foundation Directory Online is a great resource for finding funders, but as you probably know this is only the first phase of a much longer application process. Being able to tell the story of your organization or program is an important component of putting together an effective, engaging funding proposal. But is this all that grantmakers are looking for?

Here is an interesting piece in Philanthropy Journal from Shilipi Shah, associate director of the Midwest for the Nonprofit Finance Fund, about effectively communicating your financial story as a way of assuring funders that your organization is financially sound and sustainable, thus making it more attractive to funders. "As resources become scarce," Shah writes, "funders look beyond pure mission, focusing on strong management and a stable financial base to ensure an organization will be able to deliver in the long-term."

She details a number of ways to evaluate how the composition of your organization's finances have changed (or not changed) over the past 3-5 years, and what this could mean for your organization. Of course, this doesn't make being able to present a compelling description of your organization's activities any less important, but it is certainly something to consider when developing a long-term plan for your organization.

Reading Review
August 27, 2010

This latest Eye On FDO update comes from Foundation Center Business Development Fellow Allison Wood. Take it away, Allison!

Just in case you've exhausted all of your summer reading, here are a couple of new reports that will help you stay informed about trends in the world of philanthropy.

Report1  The Effect of the Economy on the Non-Profit Sector (pdf)

Issued by GuideStar and based on a survey conducted in June 2010, this report explores how nonprofits fared in the first five months of 2010. Analyzing survey results from more than 7,000 respondents, the report reveals that the current economic climate continues to present financial and other challenges for nonprofits. For example, at a time when many may need the services of non-profits more than ever, 58% of organizations surveyed reported reducing activities/services in order to reduce their budget.

Report2Shaping the Future: Solving Social Problems through Business Strategy. Pathways to Sustainable Value Creation in 2020. (pdf)

Issued by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy and based on research by McKinsey & Company, this report investigates what the next decade will bring in terms of corporate and non-profit interaction. It asks what the expectations will be for corporate involvement in solving social issues, and how corporations can position themselves to maximize both profitability and societal impact. If you're interested in how global trends will affect corporate philanthropy in the coming years, this report will be of interest to you.

And of course, there's the Foundation Center's own:

Report3Foundation Giving Trends (June 2010) Download the highlights free or order the full report.

This report documents the grantmaking patterns of nearly 1,000 of the largest U.S. foundations in 2008 and tracks changes in funding trends over the past decade, exploring foundation giving by subject focus, recipient type, types of support, population group, and region.   

Happy reading!

New Publication: The PRI Directory
August 23, 2010

Pri_dir_3ed_smThe new Foundation Center publication The PRI Directory: Charitable Loans and Other Program-Related Investments by Foundations, published in partnership with PRI Makers Network, contains a wealth of information on alternative options besides traditional grants. 

Program-related investments often used to support community revitalization, low-income housing, microenterprise development, historic preservation, and human services. The newest directory lists leading funders, recipients, project descriptions, and includes tips on how to secure and manage PRIs.

You can receive free shipping on the directory if you order in August. 

This directory lists leading PRI providers and includes tips on how to seek out and manage PRIs. Foundation listings include funder name and state; recipient name, city, and state (or country); and a description of the project funded. There are several helpful indexes to guide PRI seekers to records by foundation/recipient location, subject/type of support, and recipient name, as well as an index to officers, donors, and trustees.

Learn more about the directory and order yours today!

Pakistan Flood Assistance Update

Katrina Brown of the Foundation Center's Washington, DC, library/learning center has a rundown of organizations mobilizing to respond to the flooding in Pakistan. Go to Philanthropy Front and Center to read the whole post. Here's an excerpt:

  • The United Nations Refugee Agency is providing flood victims with shelter and emergency supplies. You can text SWAT to 50555 to donate $10 to UNHCR.
  • The American Red Cross is sending tarps, blankets, and kitchen items along with financial support.
  • UNICEF is providing desperately needed food, clean water, and health supplies to assist the 6 million children affected by the floods.
  • CARE is supporting health teams, mobile clinics and the distribution of emergency supplies.
  • Doctors Without Borders has sent tons of water-and-sanitation equipment, drugs, and medical materials into Pakistan.
  • Islamic Relief USA workers are helping in the evacuation effort, administering aid, and helping serve thousands of flood victims.
  • Oxfam staff are on the ground in Pakistan, providing rescue services and emergency water purification.
  • The International Rescue Committee is offering assistance to victims in areas affected by the worst of the flooding.
  • Direct Relief International is sending medical aid to support the emergency response to the extensive flooding.

Pakistan Floods: Organizations Offering Assistance [Philanthropy Front and Center DC]

Funding Resources for K-12 Education on the Web
August 17, 2010

In the Philanthropy Front and Center blog of the Foundation Center's New York library/learning center, Ines Sucre writes about several excellent funding resources on the web for elementary and secondary education. Read the whole post, and check out K-12 resources in Foundation Directory Online using field of interest terms such as "Elementary/secondary education" or "Elementary/secondary school reform" to find prospective funders. You can also find those same terms in the Search Grants database's recipient type and grant subject indexes. 

The Foundation Center's Foundations for Education Excellence, a web portal created with support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education, reports on the funding interests of the most important private foundations and the federal government's programs and features grant maps, research studies, and news in the field.


The TASC Funding Opportunities Database provides information on public and private sources of funding for youth development and after-school programs in the New York metropolitan area, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.


On DonorsChoose, public school teachers post online proposals to fund classroom activities; donors review each proposal and donations are tracked as the project is funded. A public school teacher in the Bronx founded this organization.

Adopt-A-Classroom provides a fundraising portal that connects public school classrooms across the country with potential individual donors.

From Scholastic, this advice article gives practical reminders of how educators can organize and assess fundraising efforts for their schools and projects.

New in Glasspockets: View Changes in Foundation Data Over Time
August 10, 2010

Explore how foundations have grown over time with a new interactive tool on Glasspockets. See the changes in the number of foundations and in aggregate foundation giving and assets, in constant or adjusted dollars, from 1975 through 2008. The map is animated to show the data changing over time, or you can click to 'slide' the map backward or forward. Pause the map and click each state to see complete data for that state. You can also download the map data to a spreadsheet.




Try out the interactive map today.

This is just one of many exciting features in Glasspockets that let you explore fact about foundations. Did you you know that 76% of foundations have four or fewer staff members? Or that only 29% of foundations report having a web site or issuing publications or annual reports? Find out key statistics and other information in the Facts About Foundations section.