Back to Eye on FDO

Category: "New Enhancements" (46 posts)

January 29, 2016

FDO Release Notes - 1-29-2016

New Account Profile Fields

You may notice next time you log into FDO a message prompting you to update your profile information if you haven’t done so recently. We’re asking for two reasons: For one, it’s always a good idea to make sure we have up to date contact information so we can better serve your account for billing and other issues; for another, we recently added a few new fields to signups. These fields, including information on organization type, size, and subject area, help us understand our users better so we can continue to build a service that best meets the needs of its users.

Please take a moment to go into the Account area, click Update my Profile, and make sure your profile is up to date.

Upgrading to Annual Contract Plans Enabled

Last summer we began offering new subscribers the option of subscribing to an annual plan paid in monthly installments, while still maintaining the existing monthly, annual, and biannual plans as well. If you choose this new option, you are agreeing to maintain your subscription for 12 months – just like an annual subscription – making monthly payments at a lower rate than the regular monthly plan. While you are subject to a penalty fee if you cancel early, that fee will never be more than three months’ payments in total.

We have now added that plan as an option available as an upgrade option for existing subscribers. If you are interested in moving your monthly subscription to this new annual contract plan, simply go to your Account area and select Upgrade. You will get information on the contract plan, pricing, and the early-termination penalty. You will have access to all the same features and data in your current plan; only your payment terms will change.

As always, please keep an eye on this blog for information on new FDO releases as well as search techniques and other valuable fundraising tips.

December 09, 2015

FDO Release Notes - 12-9-15

We will post occasional — usually every three weeks — release notes in this space collecting new features, recent fixes, and other changes. 

What's New/Changed

We have added a preview of grantmaker's giving data to all subscription plan levels. Pointing a mouse over a grantmaker's name on the results screen will reveal a window showing total assets and giving, the funder's URL, top three subject areas funding according to available grant data, high and low grant dollar amounts, and links to news items from Philanthropy News Digest. All grant data used is from the last five years of grants authorized. Fields will only appear if data is available, as not all funders will have linked news items or tabulated grant data to pull from.

All search results screens have been slightly redesigned: the Saved Search option now appears with the search criteria; New and Modify Search buttons are more prominently displayed; and the "Search Within" fields has been renamed "Add Keyword" and moved to the Narrow Your Results field along with the other available search refinements.

Fixes

Fixed issues with billing subscription upgrades and with the subscription confirmation screen loading properly.

Notices

Data updates have resumed after eight weeks of being held static for testing and troubleshooting the new Foundation Center database. Updates of grantmaker, company, grant, and 990 will continue weekly.

October 26, 2015

FDO Release Notes - 10-26-15

We will post occasional - usually biweekly - release notes in this space collecting new features, recent fixes, and other changes. 

What's New/Changed

The default sort order for grantmaker searches is now Total Giving, from highest to lowest (was previously alphabetical). Company search (Pro only) remains alphabetical; grant searches are now Year Authorized, most recent first; and 990 searches are year, most recent first.

The site will "remember" any change to the sort options on any search screen, so if you prefer another sort option, simply set it once and the site will use it for future searches. 

Fixes

Fixed an issue where irregular site traffic caused error messages on searches and slow site performance.

Password security improvements.

Notices

Database update transfers remain paused while new databases undergoes testing.

 

January 28, 2015

Introducing Workspace

Today we're proud to launch a brand new suite of features for FDO: Workspace.

With Workspace, you finally have a place within the FDO site to work with the funding prospects you identify. Assess how strong the match is between funders and your organization and programs; manage tasks, contacts, and notes; and keep track of progress toward your fundraising goals. 

To get started, just log in to your FDO account and find the Workspace link at the very top of the screen. If you have questions, visit the Workspace FAQ section in Help.

Today is the release of the Beta version of the site, with more features coming soon. We know people will want to import and export certain content, and we're looking at even more features in the coming weeks and months, along with continued improvemnt of core FDO features as well. For now, give Workspace a try and let us know what you think! 

Join us for a live webinar on February 17, 3-4PM EST.We'll introduce Workspace, guide you through its features, and explain all its benefits.

March 08, 2014

Announcing FDO Enhancements and New Design

As you've no doubt noticed, Foundation Directory Online has a new look! But while the site's appearance may have changed and there are some more changes "under the hood," rest assured the way you use FDO day to day remains the same.

First, here is a little of what you can expect from the new version of the site:

  • Ranked results: When you use Power Search, results are now sorted by relevance so you don’t have to sift through pages of results. You can also choose which databases you want to search. (Professional feature only.)
  • Guided search functionality: With our new and improved index filtering options, you can find the perfect search term as you type. Plus, new ways to narrow your results lets you drill down to the right list of grantmakers with fewer searches.
  • Printer-friendly grantmaker profiles bring information from our database to your desk more easily.
  • The ability to e-mail lists of grantmakers and groups of grantmaker profiles gives you more options for taking the data out of the database in the way that works for you.
  • Mobile-friendly: The FDO site is now responsive, so you can easily use the application on tablets and smart phones.
  • Secure site: FDO will now live on a secure web site for added privacy. No need to update your bookmarks; you'll go right to the new secure site.

We welcome your feedback on the new site, and we're committed to continued improvements to meet users' needs. Feel free to email us using subject line "FDO Refresh" with your feedback and questions. 

 

September 20, 2013

PhilanTopic: Open 990s and FDO Free

(I wrote this post originally for the Philanthropy News Digest blog PhilanTopic.)

Back in May, the White House issued an executive order and accompanying memorandum which stated that "the default state of new and modernized government information resources shall be open and machine readable." For the nonprofit community, the announcement was intriguing. What would it mean if all that data on foundations and their grants were liberated from hundreds of thousands of IRS Form 990s and, for the first time, made truly open, searchable, and readable by machines?

While it looks like we'll have to wait to find out, here at the Foundation Center we've decided to take a step toward that goal with the release of Foundation Directory Online (FDO) Free, a new search tool that provides free, public access to essential information about nearly 90,000 foundations and more than 250,000 of their 990-PF tax returns. Yes, there are plenty of excellent tools around for retrieving the 990s of grantmaking foundations, including our own 990 Finder. What has been missing, however, is the ability to unlock the rich information available within those forms by searching across them with keywords relevant to your nonprofit's mission and programs. Until now, that was only possible through the Center's premier subscription product, Foundation Directory Online Professional. The launch of FDOFree changes that.

Indeed, FDO Free represents a significant step forward in the Foundation Center's efforts to make more funding data available to a larger portion of the grantseeking public. In addition to the ability to keyword-search across foundation 990-PFs, FDO Free allows you to search the profiles of nearly 90,000 private foundations by name, EIN, or location and to search their last three 990-PFs by name, EIN, location, or keyword.

Someday, the IRS will make all 990s open and machine readable. Butas Foundation Center president Brad Smith likes to say, "Someday isn't soon enough for the millions of nonprofit organizations that are working to address the world's most pressing problems. FDO Freemakes it possible to search the raw data on the IRS forms today, alongside additional information that has been cleaned and organized by the Center's professional staff."

What information will you search for? Funding for dance in 2012 (276 results)? Support to help protect the few remaining tigers in the wild (27 results)? School lunches in California (81 results)? With FDO Free, the basic information you need to get started is at your fingertips.Start searching today.

Where We're Headed

We're all eager to see what the future has in store for the nonprofit sector. In the meantime, we're working to make sure Foundation Directory Online continues to be the essential resource for grantseekers it has been since 1999. The design of FDO Free -- with its fresh new look, enhanced search engine technology, and improved responsiveness on mobile devices -- is a preview of what you can expect from all our FDO subscription plans in the not-too-distant future. And, of course, you can still turn to Foundation Directory Online Professional in order to get deeper access to detailed grants information, mapping tools, social media data, and all the rest of the knowledge you need to secure funding and advance your mission.

The future for foundation fundraising looks bright. We hope you agree. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions!


September 16, 2013

Introducing FDO Free

We are pleased to announce the first in a series of improvements to Foundation Directory Online, beginning with the design of the log-in page. We especially want to call your attention to the location of the log-in area, which has moved to the top right-hand corner of the log-in screen, as shown above.

We're also pleased to announce the addition of Foundation Directory Online Free to the FDO suite of fundraising products. Replacing our former Foundation Finder tool, FDO Free is a new, improved way to quickly look up basic information about foundations by name, EIN, or location. And, with FDO Free, users get a glimpse into the wealth of additional information available through Foundation Directory Online that thousands of subscribers like you rely on as their essential fundraising tool. Rest assured, this change does not affect your subscription to FDO. But, for any of your friends or colleagues interested in learning more aboutFoundation Directory Online, FDO Free is a great place to start.

In the months ahead we will be making additional improvements to FDO based on feedback from users like you. Our goal is to provide the most accurate, comprehensive fundraising information available from the source you can trust: the Foundation Center. So stay tuned for more, and please don't hesitate to share with us your comments and suggestions on how we can make Foundation Directory Online even better.

November 28, 2012

IssueLab

PubHub is now IssueLab in Foundation Directory Online Professional Power Search results and on the Publications tab on grantmaker profiles. 

Earlier this year, the Foundation Center merged the PubHub database of foundation-sponsored research reports with IssueLab, a Chicago-based online publishing forum containing an extensive and diverse body of research produced by the philanthropic sector. What that means for FDO is that now when you run a Power Search, the publication results that come back are now pulled from a much larger pool of reports, produced by a larger segment of the sector than before. 

Learn more about IssueLab and explore the new platform. You don't have to change anything about how you use FDO Professional; just use Power Search as you always have, or click the Publications tab on a foundation profile. For non-Professional-level subscribers, you can get access to these features by upgrading your subscription.

September 19, 2012

Chat Live with Our Online Librarian

Take a look at the top menu next time you're using Foundation Directory Online: you can now chat live with a Foundation Center Online Librarian! If you hit a snag finding what you're looking for in FDO, the librarian can point you in the right direction or refer you to someone who can follow up with an answer. Chat hours are Monday through Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm (all times Eastern).

Chatnowblog

 

Before you initiate a chat, be sure to check the FAQs and the Help documentation (click Help in the top menu). The answer to your query might be there, but if you need more information, live help is now just a click away!

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.