Back to Eye on FDO

Category: "FDO Newswire" (121 posts)

March 26, 2018

Bitcoin for Good

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Have you ever wondered how cryptocurrencies might be leveraged in the social sector and how your organization could benefit from them? Man on A Mission Consulting presented at Foundation Center West on just this, cryptocurrency and its benefits for the social sector. In his talk, Bitcoin for Good: Digital Currencies and Blockchain for Nonprofits, Paul Lamb discussed how nonprofits and foundations are currently using cryptocurrencies, and how social sector organizations might start adopting them.

Here are our top five takeaways from Lamb’s talk:

  1. Because cryptocurrencies are independent from financial institutions, donations are more immediately processed and available for nonprofits’ use. Cryptocurrency donations can, in most cases, be quickly converted into dollars upon receipt. Some nonprofits have experienced challenges with conversion times; however, this depends on the conversion or “wallet” provider.
  2. Blockchain, which is used to secure cryptocurrencies, can also help donors better track the impact of their dollars and increase transparency. There are blockchain systems now in development (i.e., Givetrack.org) which allow a bitcoin donor to see in real time how the nonprofit is spending their donation. This will help donors see how their dollars are used, and help nonprofits with reporting.
  3. A few foundations and funds, such as the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Fidelity Charitable Giving program, are using cryptocurrency to make grants. As with donations , if grants are given in cryptocurrency, they can more quickly be converted into dollars for the nonprofit to use.
  4. Cryptocurrency is birthing a new type of donorship, and has already given rise to a new kind of donor-advised fund. The Pineapple Fund is an anonymous donor organization that has already allocated $56 million to various charities. In the future, we may see types of Distributed Autonomous Organizations (DAO) that operate cloud-based tokenized donation and charity management systems. Through a DAO, donors could vote on where donations are made and even drive the development of independent projects based on majority token rule.
  5. This is new, uncharted territory, not just for the social sector, but for society as a whole. There are many lessons to learn about how best to use these technologies, and many discoveries to uncover about how they may impact the social sector.

For more information on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology use in the social sector, check out Lamb’s list of resources here and his recent post on Medium

Read the original post here.

October 17, 2017

6 Top Tips To Approach Funders

(Including Those Who Are Not Accepting Applications!) 

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Foundation Center’s Development Manager, 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. (FDO lets you know in real-time when RFPs are available.) 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 10, 2014

GrantSpace Resources

One thing I always take the opportunity to tell FDO users about - whether I'm at the Foundation Center booth at a conference, talking to a subscriber on the phone, or anywhere - is GrantSpace, the Foundation Center's site dedicated to training and free resources for nonprofit grantseekers. We call it a "learning community for the social sector," and here's a look at some of what that entails.

Classroom

The Classroom area of GrantSpace includes a full list of the Foundation Center's training offerings. These are free and fee-based, live online or in-person at various locations around the country. There's also a calendar view so you can find trainings by date and location. Training is divided into four categories: Finding FundersFundraising PlanningDeveloping Proposals, and Managing Nonprofits.

Knowledge Base

The Knowledge Base (in the Tools section) is basically a very large FAQ covering nonprofit grantseeking topics large and small. Need information on finding government grants? Wondering how to approach foundations that don't accept unsolicited applications? Curious about crowdfunding or online fundraising? The Knowledge Base has write-ups and links to resources on all those topics and many more.

Multimedia

GrantSpace is the Foundation Center's home for a wealth of multimedia content, like "Meet the Grantmaker" videos, our Philanthropy Chat podcast series, and training webinar recordings. 

All the resources on GrantSpace are free except for the full- and multi-day training classes, and what's described above only scratches the surface. It makes a terrific complement to Foundation Directory Online as a knowledge resource to go along with your funding searches. 

May 01, 2013

New Guided Tour

We have a brand-new guided tour introducing new and prospective Foundation Directory Online users to the features and benefits of FDO. Even seasoned users can benefit from a wide-angle look at what FDO has to offer. Check it out and share!

Foundation Directory Online from Foundation Center on Vimeo.

 

 

February 13, 2013

Faces of FDO

Do you want an opportunity to tell others about your organization and share your experiences using Foundation Directory Online in your funding research? You might want to consider contributing to Faces of FDO, the page where we share testimonial videos and text with the FDO community. 

Take a look at what has been contributed to date, and consider telling us your own story. Contact faces@foundationcenter.org to learn more.

 

February 11, 2013

Rumors, Myths, and Legends: Nonprofit Edition

Found on Twitter: This fun, inspiring video from Nonprofit Roundtable about the myths and realities of the nonprofit sector. 

 
January 09, 2013

PhilanTopic: 'Usability' and Your Nonprofit

Interesting PhilanTopic post about the concept of usability. This is a concept that's long been used in reference to web design, but the author explores it as a way of thinking about how your nonprofit approaches the whole online donation process, not just the tech part. Is it easy for the potential donor to understand what your organization does? Is it clear why you're asking for support generally and the specific level of support? 

It's a new way of thinking about a familiar concept, and a good read to start the new year! 

November 13, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Grants Feed

The Foundation Center has launched an RSS feed of grants related to Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery. You can browse these grants, sign up for an email for notifications, or subscribe to the RSS feed. The Business Civic Leadership Center assisted in the tracking of the corporate response.

See the complete grants feed.

September 11, 2012

A Look Inside Our Annual User Survey

We recently concluded our 2012 annual user survey of Foundation Directory Online users. We wanted to know a little more about you, what you like about FDO, and what areas of improvement you've identified. We got a much higher response rate than we have in past years, so this was a particularly valuable survey for us. I want to summarize a few interesting findings here, then in future posts dig more deeply into a few of the questions. 

What we learned:

95% of you would recommend FDO to a friend/colleague. That's great news, except in past years it's been over 99%, so we're focused on listening to your suggestions for making FDO even better. 

30% of you use other fee-based funding search products. Most of these are tools for finding individual donors, such as Wealth Engine.

Users are most satisfied with the breadth of data and the overall value of FDO. But many of you indicate that you'd like to see the data be even more up to date, so we're working hard on collecting, indexing, and publishing accurate data as quickly as we can. 

Your top three preferred enhancements:

  • More grants from small foundations (70%)
  • “Predictive analysis,” i.e., good-match rankings (61%)
  • Suggested search terms based on your keywords to make better use of the indexed search terms (53%)

64% of you are nonprofit grantseekers; 16% are independent consultants working with one or more nonprofit clients; 9% are nonprofit execs. Others include academics, librarians, and grantmakers.

You have a very wide range of budgets from very small organizations all the way up to large universities, hospitals, and national organizations.

Personally, I found this last data point most interesting: A large plurality of you (45%) first heard of FDO from a friend or colleague. This far outstripped other options: 17% from our print brochures and catalogues and 5% from email marketing. This tells me that, as indicated by the 95% stat above, you are eager to tell others about Foundation Directory Online. This is really gratifying. So thank you all for spreading the word about FDO, and thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us!

In the coming days I'll dive deeper into some other findings, including suggested enhancements and other feedback on how you'd like to see FDO improve.

July 26, 2012

A Look Inside Foundation Decision-Making

Rob Bruno reviews Martin Teitel's new book for Philanthropy Front and Center New York:

Martin Teitel's Thank You for Submitting Your Proposal (Emerson & Church, 2006) has been a staple for grantseekers wishing to get an inside view of a foundation's decision-making process. Six years later he has revised the classic work with The Ultimate Insider's Guide to Winning Foundation Grants: A Foundation CEO Reveals the Secrets You Need to Know (Emerson & Church, 2012). The new book continues along the same vein, but expands upon the original by adding a section titled "Myths About Foundations" as well as a concluding chapter that offers answers to hard-nosed questions from grantees.

Read more...

You can find the book in all five Foundation Center libraries.