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May 2011 (4 posts)

Got a Summer Intern?
May 26, 2011

Send them to the Foundation Center!

As more and more students start their summer breaks — as well as their summer internships — many nonprofits are seeing an influx of new temporary staff members. Particularly if they are deep in ethusiasm but lacking in experience, the Foundation Center is a great place for them to learn a lot quickly.

To get your interns started, you might have them take some of our free classes. Grantseeking Basics and Introduction to Finding Funders provide a good overview of foundations and their grants, along with our library and its resources. You can register for them, and see other upcoming programs, on our online calendar. Many of our free classes are also available as webinars, so your intern can even learn from your own office!

Before beginning their funding research, interns should receive a briefing on your organization and the program they will be working on. Specifically, they should know:

  • The subject area, geographic focus, and/or population group the program will serve
  • The type of funding needed: program support, equipment, research, etc.
  • How much funding the project needs

Make sure they know what kind of information you want them to bring back. It might be helpful for the intern to use a worksheet to track what he or she finds on funding prospects. You can download prospect worksheets on our web site. Interns will be able to e-mail research back to your office from our databases, or they can download information to a flash drive. Remind them to ask Foundation Center staff for help — that's what we're here for! 


Pro Bono Day at Grantspace
May 13, 2011

Legal services, accounting, marketing, public relations, business plans, fundraising, technology planning. Are these professional services that your nonprofit needs, but can't afford to pay for?

Find free or low-cost professional services to build your nonprofit's capacity from our series of three online live chats on Monday, May 23, 12pm-4pm ET. Our expert panelists come from organizations that provide free or low cost services to nonprofits, and they will answer your questions in law, financial management, and pro bono services in general.

Click on an event below to get more details and to register. All events are free.

Finding Pro Bono Professional Services 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Anne Diaz, Advisory Services Consultant for the Taproot Foundation, and Ruti Wajnberg, Community Manager for Catchafire, answer questions about how nonprofits can access free or low-cost professional services to build their organizational capacity.

Reasons NOT to Start a Nonprofit 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Attorneys Rachel Epps Spears and Robyn Miller of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta will discuss why some motives aren't suitable for starting a nonprofit and suggest alternatives.

Staying Financially Solvent 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Kate Barr, Executive Director for Nonprofits Assistance Fund, and Norah McVeigh, Managing Director of Financial Services for Nonprofit Finance Fund, answer questions on how nonprofits can achieve good financial health.

Can't attend a live chat? No worries -- you'll be able to read the transcripts immediately after the event ends.


Join the Conversation
May 09, 2011

GrantSpace_1304963979865 Hopefully by now you've taken a look at GrantSpace, the Foundation Center's web-based learning community for the social sector. There you can find information and resources specifically designed to meet the needs of grantseekers, including webinars, multimedia, sample documents, FAQs, and more. 

Now, GrantSpace has just added forums to the mix! These allow you to engage with your community of peers and experts to discuss topics that matter to you. The current forum is on the topic of "developing proposals," but look for forums on other subject to come in the near future. So take a look, see how you can join the conversation, and hopefully pick up a few helpful tips along the way!

Types of Grantmakers: What Do the Terms Mean?
May 05, 2011

Foundation Directory Online's Search Grantmakers database allows you to find grantmakers — among many other options — by type. Basic, Plus, and Premium users can choose among independent, company-sponsored, and operating foundations. Platinum and Professional users have those options plus corporate giving programs and grantmaking public charities. What do these terms mean, and what do those definitions mean for you?

Private Foundations

There are three types of private foundations listed in FDO and available to all plan levels, defined in the Grantspace Knowledge Base as follows:

The Foundation Center defines a private foundation as a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization having a principal fund managed by its own trustees or directors. Private foundations maintain or aid charitable, educational, religious, or other activities serving the public good, primarily through the making of grants to other nonprofit organizations. Every U.S. and foreign charity that qualifies under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code as tax-exempt is a "private foundation" unless it demonstrates to the IRS that it falls into another category.

In FDO, private foundations are divided into three categories, which are available in the Type of Grantmaker index menu.

Independent foundation: A grantmaking organization usually classified by the IRS as a private foundation. Independent foundations might also be known as family foundations, general purpose foundations, special purpose foundations, or private non-operating foundations. The Foundation Center defines independent foundations and company-sponsored foundations separately; however, federal law normally classifies both as private, non-operating foundations subject to the same rules and requirements.

Company-sponsored foundation: A private foundation whose grant funds are derived primarily from the contributions of a for-profit business organization. The company-sponsored foundation might maintain close ties with the donor company, but it is an independent organization with its own endowment and is subject to the same rules and regulations as other private foundations.

Operating foundation: A 501(c)(3) organization classified by the IRS as a private foundation whose primary purpose is to operate research, social welfare, or other programs determined by its governing body or establishment charter. Some grants might be made, but the sum is generally small relative to the funds used for the foundation's own programs.

Other Grantmakers

Corporate giving program: A grantmaking program established and administered within a for-profit business organization. Corporate giving programs do not have a separate endowment and their annual grant totals are generally more directly related to current profits. They are not subject to the same reporting requirements as private foundations. Some companies make charitable contributions through both a corporate giving program and a company-sponsored foundation.

Public charity: In general, an organization that is tax-exempt under code section 501(c) and is classified by the IRS as a public charity and not a private foundation. Although some public charities engage in grantmaking activities, most conduct direct service or other tax-exempt activities. Some are also referred to as "public foundations" or "publicly supported organizations" and might use the term "foundation" in their names.

All these definitions and many more can be found in the Foundation Dictory Online help section. Just log into FDO, then click Help > Welcome > Glossary of Terms.