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Category: "FDO Newswire" (133 posts)

December 08, 2020

Leverage GuideStar Seals of Transparency to Gain Funder Support

Funders use GuideStar Seals of Transparency to guide their giving strategies. Seals provide them with the information they need to understand your impact and gives funders a reason to support your cause. Earning your Seal is simple and free.  

Now in FDO, you can gain insights on the Seal levels of funders’ grant recipients. Search results and Recipient profiles now include GuideStar Seals of Transparency to help you easily find this information. 

 

FDO Nonprofit Seals@2x
GuideStar Seals of Transparency in Search Results

 

FDO provides a quick link to claim your free GuideStar Nonprofit Profile to earn Seals that help you boost your online presence and win funding.  

  1. Log in to your FDO account 
  2. Hover over the “HI NAME” drop-down 
  3. Select Update Profile Seal 

 

Update Profile Seal FDO drop down

 

June 02, 2020

4 Key Tips to Help Your Nonprofit Best Navigate the New Normal

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COVID-19 has presented many unforeseen challenges and changes for even the most experienced grantseekers. The global pandemic has affected the way nonprofits communicate, conduct prospect research, and seek much needed grant funding.

As your nonprofit works to create a new normal during the COVID-19 era, Candid’s Senior Director of Development, Aleda Gagarin, offers four key tips to help your organization succeed:

 

  1. Check on your funders and partners

Funders are not immune to the challenges brought on by COVID-19. Add a human element to your outreach by proactively reaching out to funders and partners to see how they are faring and if they’ve adopted new policies (i.e., deadline changes, special funds, different requirements, expedited procedures, etc.)

  1. Foster your current relationships

Focus on nurturing the relationships you have with current donors to secure any expected funding. If you have a pending committed payment, kindly ask if they’d be willing and able to make the payment early to help boost your work. If possible, arrange to receive funds electronically (faster) versus paper checks (slower).

  1. Recommunicate your value

Has your organization’s work become increasingly more important in light of the current health and economic crisis? Communicate that value to funders to show them how your work is serving community and helping them meet their missions. Remind them that their support has never been more vital.

  1. Manage your expectations around prospecting

Prospecting to find the right funders is now more important than ever. However, keep in mind that many funders are struggling to make sure that they keep commitments and shore up needed resources for current grantees. If possible, show how you can leverage your work to help them meet their goals and priorities.

 

The pandemic has caused the entire sector to pause and reevaluate how to move forward and come back better and stronger. As we work to regain a sense of normalcy, we must also acknowledge the effect COVID-19 will have for years to come. By following these tips, and abiding by all local government safety rules and regulations, you can help put your nonprofit in the right position to succeed and weather the pandemic.

May 19, 2020

6 Top Tips To Approach Funders

(Including Those Who Are Not Accepting Applications!) 

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Candid’s Senior Director of Development, 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. (You can easily keep track of open RFPs on FDO's homepage.) 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.

April 07, 2020

Finding Support for Your Nonprofit during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has forced us all to rethink how we fundraise so that we can continue to support the communities we serve.

Candid has developed a virtual coronavirus (COVID-19) resource page for nonprofits to gather information regarding funding opportunities, global giving, and relevant news items.

Here are additional actions you can take at this time to help boost your fundraising:

 

Tip 1: Look for Organizations Providing Relief

To help alleviate the effects of COVID-19 on nonprofits’ ability to carry out their work, organizations have created relief funds and other forms of support.

Candid has proactively compiled a list of these funds for nonprofits to access. The list is updated in real-time and can be sorted by geographic location. Access Candid’s coronavirus (COVID-19) relief funds list.

 

Tip 2: Connect with Past and Prospective Funders

Grantmakers are eager to support nonprofits. Proactively contacting and establishing relationships with funders is key to getting on their radar and securing much needed grant funding. Additionally, prioritizing past funders can help you gain funding faster as they are familiar with your work and more likely to fund you again.

Foundation Directory Online subscribers can view the Past Funders icon in search results andPast funder icon
on funder profile pages to see which funders have previously supported their work. Learn more about viewing Past Funders in FDO.

 

Tip 3: Go Digital

In the absence of physical meetings and events, cultivate unique virtual experiences to garner support for your cause.

Hosting digital events, such as virtual networking chats and webinars, allows for a wide variety of prospective supporters and funders to learn more about your cause.

 

Candid’s mission is anchored on ensuring the social sector has the information they need. For more information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) funding landscape, visit Candid’s popup page https://candid.org/explore-issues/coronavirus

January 23, 2020

FDO’s Year of Grantseeking Growth!

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In 2019, FDO grew exponentially as a premier prospecting tool for grantseekers. More than 270k contact information updates and 116k recipient profiles were added to FDO, in addition to 50+ product enhancements. The work doesn’t stop here, our mission continues to remain focused on ensuring fundraisers have the best prospect research tools available.

P.S. Did you know that our subscribers use FDO to conduct nearly 2,400 searches each day? Professional fundraisers know that consistent prospect research is the key to help secure grant funding.

We can’t wait to help boost your grantseeking even more in 2020!

To learn more about the power of FDO, check out our handy guide or our YouTube channel!

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 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.

image from image.send.foundationcenter.org

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.