Introduction to Foundation Directory Online (FDO)

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s
webinar, Introduction to Foundation Directory Online (FDO for short). For those
of you who are returning GrantSpace webinar participants, a warm welcome back
to those of you here for the first time I’m so glad that you’re
joining us today. My name is Elizabeth Zevada and I’m a program associate
here at Candid and today I’ll be supporting the webinar by managing polls
as well as collecting questions that you asked along the way
posing them during our Q&A. For those of you who are joining us for the first
time we want to share with you that on February 1st we joined forces with
GuideStar to become Candid. Together, we have over 88 years of experience in the
nonprofit sector. Every year millions of nonprofits spend trillions of dollars
around the world. Candidate finds out where that money comes from, where it
goes, and why it matters. Through research, collaboration, and training Candid
connects people who want to change the world with the resources they need to do
it. With Candid you can find funding with Foundation Directory Online and
search 140,000 funders and 12 million grants. And you can increase your
visibility with a funder community by creating or maintaining your GuideStar
nonprofit profile. You can also continue to strengthen your nonprofit by
participating in GranSpace trainings to move your fundraising skills to the
next level. To learn more about our capacity-building training programs you
can visit We offer courses across the country, at a location
near you. I would now like to turn the controls over to our presenter Ganga
Dharmappa, and as I do so I’d like to go ahead and introduce her a little bit. So
Ganga is our Community Outreach Manager for Candid overseeing our western region,
and as such she leads many of our trainings including our Proposal Writing
Bootcamp, Outcomes Thinking course and she’ll be leading us through
today’s training. Thank you so much Elizabeth and welcome everyone! This is
Introduction to FDO, as Elizabeth mentioned and FDO, stands for Foundation
Directory Online. It is a research tool produced by Candid,
formerly known as Foundation Center and GuideStar. My name is Ganga Dharmappa
I’m the Community Outreach Manager based out of Candid’s office on the west coast,
so I’m joining you from San Francisco- Oakland today. And today’s webinar, we
will be talking about lots of things connected to FDO specifically how to
find funders for your nonprofit. And what we’re gonna be covering today is
hopefully when you’ve completed this webinar, you should be able to explain
what Foundation Directory Online actually is. You should also be able to
identify your needs before you start searching, find grant prospects with a
project-based approach and we’re going to be talking about that project-based
approach soon. And decide if those prospects are indeed a good fit for your
needs. We’ll also cover where you can access Foundation Directory Online and
how you can get help to use it if you need it. But first we’re going to be
doing a quick poll just to get a sense of who’s on the webinar today. So I’m
going to hand it over to Elizabeth, who’s going to help us with our poll. Take it
away Elizabeth. Thanks so much Ganga. So the question that we’re posing to you
right now is – how do you currently search for funders? and that might be through a
search online, whether it’s through a search engine…
pick your favorite, or perhaps you’re looking at requests for proposals or
RFPs. It may be possible that you’re using GuideStar as a tool to find
potential prospects, and maybe you’re keeping it tried-and-true by going
through 990 tax forms, and if you are selecting “other” we’d love for you to
specify that other means of doing so in the chat. And this is a “select all that
apply” so if multiple of these are techniques that you’re using, go ahead
and select as many as you currently use. And our overwhelming winner is by doing
an online search with 86%, it looks like some folks are taking advantage of RFPs
with 32%, 16% of the room is searching on Guidestar, and 9% of the room is looking
at 990s and for those of you who did submit
through the chat it looks like Michael actually hasn’t
started just yet, so Michael you’re in the right place at the right time
because we’re gonna help you with this process. And Rose says she chose other
because she’s also new, and Jan is sharing that in her new role as a grant
writer she’s also brand new to the searching for funders. So I’m gonna go
ahead and hand it back to you Ganga, you can let us know what you think of
these results. Great that is really interesting and I think you’re all off
to a great start and you’re in the right place, so let’s talk a little bit about
some of these different ways of searching for funders, right now that
you’re currently using. So it seemed like a lot of you were searching online that
is a great place to start and just some things to keep in mind –less than 10% of
foundations actually have websites, so not even Google can help you find a
foundation website, if it doesn’t exist. So just something to think about, but
it’s a place to start for sure. And you’re sometimes left to gathering clues
from news clips or other organizations donor lists too, when you start out
searching online, so although a lot of us start that way it’s not necessarily the
most ideal place to begin. Some of you might have thought about looking for
RFPs, and in case you don’t know what RFP stands for it stands for “requests for
rroposals” and this is again, you know a fair place to begin, it’s just something
to consider is that less than half of 1% of foundations actually publish their
request for proposals because foundations aren’t legally required to
issue them. So some foundations are very thoughtful and using the RFP approach,
but it’s not necessarily the process that everyone follows. So an RFP is a
great way of approaching a foundation if it’s out there, but a lot
of them don’t publish RFPs or actually reach out in the same way. And so this
definitely isn’t a comprehensive view of the whole foundation giving. And then
many of you might be searching GuideStar, which is amazing because Candid
is a newly formed entity of GuideStar and Foundation Center, and we love
GuideStar it’s a great product and its profiles are designed for transparency.
One thing to consider is that it’s not necessarily designed as a grant seeking
tool for analysis, so you won’t always find the grants data application
guidelines or other information, like giving limitations, or even LinkedIn
profile connections that maybe you’re looking for, but it’s again a good place
to start. So there’s no real wrong answer here of a place that you’re searching
for funders right now it’s just a good sense of considering what else you might
be wanting to do. And then some of you might be looking at 990s, which are IRS
tax forms that foundations are required to file, as well as nonprofits.
Foundations, private foundations, file 990-pf
and nonprofit organizations file 990s. In order to find 990s, you first need to
know a foundation’s name, so again that’s one limitation of going just the 990
route and some other drawbacks are that 990s
are there and they could just show one year’s worth of grants data, so you
cannot analyze trends in the same way unless you collect ten years worth of
990s, and that’s a lot of paperwork and they
have a lot of unneeded information that sometimes you don’t necessarily need. And
so it is something that you could use, but it’s not necessarily searchable. So
you know I know I’ve pointed out some of the limitations of these different
approaches you might be wondering “okay how can I find potential funders who
don’t have websites? who don’t publish RFPs
per se? or who maintain guidestar profiles? but they are giving
grants every year for work like mine, how do I actually do that?” Great question! And
so I wanted to highlight that the answer is Foundation Directory Online and many
of you, everyone actually probably on this webinar today, signed up because
you’re interested in Foundation Directory Online. So by using Foundation
Directory Online, FDO we call, it it’s a searchable
web-based tool that lets you find funders faster. So you
can spend more time on building relationships with them and that’s
really the intention of really using it as a research prospect research tool, so
that you can find those rich data sets. So rich data sets on US and
international philanthropy and it is unsurpassed in many different areas. So
it is unsurpassed in scope. FDO has more than 140,000 funder profiles and more
than a million recipient records. And funder types in FDO include private
foundations, which I just mentioned, community foundations, public charities,
corporate giving programs, international grantmakers outside the US, and federal
agencies as well. So it includes a lot of this different data. and then FDO is also
unsurpassed in depth. So FDO has detailed profiles for funders grant recipients
and companies. And in a few minutes, I’m gonna actually show you FDO, so you get
a sense of what you could potentially do with it. And last, but not least, FDO is
unsurpassed in currency. It is updated daily with profiles and new grant
records changing daily. In addition more, than a thousand funders actually send
their grants data directly to FDO, so that grant seekers can access that
information sooner. So when you look at FDO, you might see grants data for 2019
and usually that means that a funder is sending data directly to FDO, so that you
have access to the most current and updated information. So we really love
FDO and I hope that you will too after you take a look at some of the things
that you could do. And a little bit about data sources– so for the majority of
funders FDO’s data, you might be wondering “where does it actually comes from?” It
actually comes from forms 990, but it also uses a variety of other sources to
inform its profile. So I mentioned that some funders report directly to FDO also
using 990, but it is using additional resources, so it’s not limited to the 990.
It’s using grant maker websites, annual reports, published
application guidelines, philanthropic press, federal government grants that have
been issued, excuse me and 30-plus other information sources.
And also a real big highlight is that direct reporting from the grantmakers.
So you might be wondering, “okay, you told me all about this great tool. Are we
ready to start searching FDO?” and the answer is not quite yet. We
want to take a step back because I know it’s really exciting to jump right into
the database, but you want to do a little bit of that due diligence and planning
and thinking before you jump into a database because it can be really
overwhelming if you don’t necessarily know what to look for before you start
searching. So before you start searching, first, I really encourage you to have a
clear idea of the actual project that you want to fund and so if you don’t
have a clear idea of the specific projects– maybe it could be a few
different projects, usually in the nonprofit sector we’re all looking for
multiple kinds of funding– it’ll take your research to a different level if
you are focused. And you also get a lot more prospects if you can think
differently to describe your project, so you don’t necessarily want to get stuck
and describing it one way, you want to think kind of bigger picture of okay
here are other terms that maybe will be used to describe my project, this is the
scope of what it actually is. So here are three questions to help you brainstorm
different descriptions: who are you serving? This is really about your
community serve that question that we often see in proposals of your target
population, community served, you know… community reach, that kind of thing. You
want to think about that. The community served, people that you’re
serving, not necessarily the nonprofit itself. You are thinking about ultimately
who is your target population, so whether that is kids living in a particular area
who have a specific need, like maybe it’s after-school care, after-school programs.
And then another thing you want to think about is where are those kids located? So
maybe they are… you’re doing the work in Minneapolis, Minnesota and so you want to
answer that question first and not say “well, we want
to just look at all funders funding everywhere” because no – you want to think
about where’s the work actually happening? where’s it being done? and what
are you specifically doing for them? So, what is it that your organization does,
but specifically what is that program or project specific work about? So what are
you providing for them? So after you’ve kind of taken a moment to answer these
questions… and I would recommend that you actually do this with your colleagues
and take a step back and say who are we actually serving? where is our community
located? and it could be you know we’re really located locally or maybe we’re
located the community served is actually located in India. It all depends what are
you doing for them and so after you’ve answered that ,you might say “okay, now
I’ve answered these questions are we ready to start searching for funding?” and
the answer is yes! You are. And the first thing, that I want to talk about — I’m
going to show you Foundation Directory Online a moment — is that you want to
begin with this project-based search. So I’m going to show my screen and you’re
gonna actually look at Foundation Directory Online here, which is a really
wonderful tool. So I mentioned before, that we’re gonna be looking at a
particular example. So I talked about maybe you’re an after-school care
program for children in Minneapolis, so I did this I typed this in earlier, but this
is what you get when you look at Foundation Directory Online — the
Professional version. You can use natural language searching and type in anything
like ballet school in New York or domestic violence shelters in San
Francisco and for our purposes today I’m gonna say health after-school program
for children in Minneapolis. And some things to note is that you can do an
advanced search in a moment. So I’m going to go ahead and click the search bar. And
here you can see many useful things. So at the top it shows our results and the
terms that we use. We used to term called after-school program, but you can see
that this database is actually using terms that are related and connected to
how funders are describing the work and also how nonprofits are describing the
work. So “out of school learning” is a term that’s actually related to this so that
popped up here as well as “health”, “child welfare”, “program support”, and “Minneapolis”,
as well as, “Children and Youth” and “academics.” And at the very top, before you
even kind of scroll down, if you feel like I want to eliminate some of these
terms you can simply hover over the little x mark and you can edit there. And
so, we can you know modify our search as needed and what we see here is that our
results, the initial results of this search, pulled up 379 different funders,
2998 grants.Aand these are grants that were previously awarded historical
grants that are really useful for a prospecting to see trends. And then
recipients so we have 374 recipients and now what you can also do within this
database is maybe you want to do an advanced search. And I began with that
first initial toolbar where I just kind of typed in, but you can jump directly
into the advanced search. So if you feel like, oh I want to put my own terms in
there, this is what it looks like. So you can kind of skip over that and go
directly to the advanced search feature- and here, you see what those terms
actually look like. So in our subject area this is really how the work is
falling and how it’s connected to how we were describing it. We have the terms “out
of school learning”, “health”, “child welfare”. The geographic focus that’s been listed is
“Minneapolis” and population served -and these are all pre-populated based on my
initial results and my initial searching- “children and youth”. And so at any point I
can delete these terms, I can re-select and search from additional criteria here
and I can also do something which I think is pretty cool is I can match any
of the terms or I can match all of the terms, and I would encourage you to keep
it at match any because you want to do a broader search and the broadest search
possible because sometimes what you’ll find is if you do match all you will be
looking for a search criteria that’s looking for all these terms together
which may be what you want, but you also want to see what work is kind of
intersecting in these different ways. So right now we have 379 grantmakers or
funders that have shown up and that might feel like an overwhelming amount
but it’s not necessarily and we’ll get to that in a moment.
And at the very least, I think it is really important to highlight both
subject area and geographic focus because a majority of grants data will
have those really those two key items and a lot of people begin with that
search where they thinking about okay what is the work look like, you know how
does it fall, how is it kind of fitting into the language that funders and
nonprofits are using, and where am I doing the work, so at the very least you
want to begin there. I wanted to highlight a couple things
here. So under grantmakers at any point if I only want to view the grantmakers, I
can click view grantmakers only, if I only want to look at the grant details
in particular I can click on that here underneath, and if I only want to look at
recipients I can also click on that too and one and you can also look at those
990 tax forms, so if you’re burning to look at those 990 tax forms you can also
look at those that are available, however FDO has made it much easier for you to
kind of search, so you don’t have to dig through those tax forms, but they are
available to you if you’re interested. And so in the grantmaker list, what you
can see here is that the top five funders that match
your particular search criteria -and if you’re wondering what is my search
criteria it is “out of school learning”, “health”, “child welfare”, in “Minneapolis” and
population served “children and youth”, “academics”- we can see the top five
funders based on their grant counts so who is awarding the most number of
grants based on your particular search criteria. And you can see here this is
really interesting because we are including federal data as
well the United States Department of Health and Human Services happens to be
one of the largest funders for this particular issue in Minneapolis,
Minnesota. And then we have the General Mills Foundation, the Minneapolis
Foundation, Otto Bremer Trust, the McKnight Foundation, and we have over ten
pages of that data. So if I wanted to look at all the grants data, that grantmaker data, I can click on that particular list and here’s what I get. I
get all these organizations looking here. And you’ll notice and this is why I
mentioned the grant count at the very end here this is really important to
focus on because you might think 379 funders that is a whole lot of funders
and I don’t know if I want to approach all of them and the answer is you don’t
have to. So you can see okay the top five definitely helpful, but the grand count
decreases significantly. So maybe you’re not necessarily going to be approaching
an organization here at the bottom, unless you have a previous relationship
with them or you know it makes sense for you, but if they’re giving out just five
grants the chances of you getting a grant like that you know it’s still
possible, but the chances decrease significantly. So I wanted to highlight
that you can kind of expand the list in the same way for those other categories,
but grant count is a really important feature here. I’m gonna go back to the
previous screen, just so you can get a sense a couple of other features that I
wanted to highlight. So within this database you can also do a couple of
other things. So we did you know that search before and it’s populating here,
you can also click here in the additional filter. So I’m just going to
show you that I’m going to expand that, and here you can see that another area
has been populated based on our description of programs. So program
support is a support strategy and that makes sense to include here because
that’s the type of support that we’re ultimately looking for is that
project-based search and a program support and I can also do things like I
can unclick this box of including federal funders- so yes maybe I am
looking at federal grants, but maybe I already have grants from Department of
Health and Human Services and I want to just look at those private sources of
funding, so I can maybe unclick that I can also choose to unclick any of these
different categories of program support. Or if I want to broaden my search even
more, although I think this is you know a pretty good amount of data that we have,
I could unclick any of those areas in populations served. And another really
great and cool feature is that I can limit it by years and so right now it’s
searching 2003 to 2019, but just say I want to look a little bit more recent
information I want to exclude some of those funders that maybe gave more than
10 years ago, so I’m going to narrow it down to 2012 to 2019, which gives us a
better scope of who most recently supported this work that is similar to
ours and now we see that the grant count has definitely decreased, as well as, the
the grants have decreased, as well as, recipients and grantmakers as well, not
by a lot, so it means there’s still lots of grantmakers in within that period of
2012 to 2019 that are funding the work. And you can see that the top five grantmakers is now also excluding those government grantmaker. So it’s all
depending on you know what type of funding you’re looking for I would encourage you
to make sure that tab is not checked because you want to be open to it
basically any type of funding that’s out there so if it is a government grant
maker, great! But this is really in the case of we already have that kind of
funding, we want to see what private funding is available here.
And so I’m gonna go back and talk about a few other aspects that you want to
consider before we look deeply into a funder profile. So I’m gonna go back to
our presentation. So we answered those three questions and
now we want to think about evaluating prospects for strong or weak fit and you
might be wondering “how do I do that?” and so what you want to ultimately think
about is a couple of questions. So five questions, not necessarily a couple, five
questions that you want to really highlight and that is “do I meet this
funders guidelines and requirements?” and we won’t know that until we look at
a funders profile, but you also want to think about you know, we don’t want to
ever ignore a section on limitations. So if they say: yes we are funding this
particular area, but we’re only funding in Minneapolis,
or we’re only funding in the state of Minnesota, that might not be applicable
if you’re doing youth programming working with kids in out-of-school time
in Atlanta, Georgia. So do I fund meet this funders requirements they may list
a lot of different things, like we don’t fund in this particular area. So maybe
they fund the type of work you do, but not necessarily what you need at this
moment. And then another thing that you want to think about “is my mission or
project school a priority for this funder?” So when we go back to look at
this particular information, I want you to look at those data trends because
that’s something that you’re gonna be able to see is this really a fit. So you
know, based on a search you may get a funder and think wow this is looks like
a compelling fit, but then you might realize oh they’re actually their
priority is hospitals and libraries and where it’s not a small nonprofit
organization and we’re not necessarily aligned with what they do, but maybe they’ve
funded organizations like mine in the future. And another thing you want to
think about are “how big are their grants?” So if their grants average between you
know a thousand and five thousand dollars that’s great and might mean you
know you’re good fit for that. But maybe, you’re really trying to go after more
money, and you want to see in general how big are their grants- what’s the scope,
what are the trends that you want to think about. And then “does this funder
support organizations like mine?” And this is really where it is important to know
the landscape of your nonprofit work in advance. And I can’t stress this enough
because if you don’t know who else is doing the work like yours, you’re not
necessarily one gonna be able to partner with them, but you’re not going to be
able to see the ways in which they were successful or you can learn from their
experiences too. So you want to know the organizations, the other players in the
field, and ideally you’re collaborating with them and you know who else
is working in the youth development space in Minneapolis, Minnesota; who else is
working in the domestic violence space in San Francisco Bay Area;
and ideally you kind of have a sense of who’s an organization similar to yours,
how are you different, etc. I stress this because again sometimes,
you know it’s overwhelming to do the research, especially when we’re a newer
organization or a smaller organization, we don’t necessarily know who our
potential allies and partners are. So does this organization support … does this funder support organizations like mine? You have to know who those
organizations potentially are. “Do I know anybody associated with this particular
funder?” So that’s something to consider. And I will show you a feature in the
database where you can actually see you know your you can have your LinkedIn
profile open and you can see the Who’s Who section and see what your
connections are. Or you can see who has a public LinkedIn profile available and
that’s one way of connecting with them to see what your connections are. It’s
not always the best approach sometimes there are different approaches, but it’s
really great to see like “Oh, I know this person or I’ve met them at a
conference” or maybe it makes sense to connect in this way or their limitations
indicate that there’s another process. So ask yourself these questions first,
before and have them in your mind before you go in to the database because it is
easy to get overwhelmed and just kind of get lost, but it’s really great to kind
of guide yourself in this specific way. So let’s jump back into Foundation
Directory Online. So I’m gonna go ahead and come back here. And so we saw a great
list of funders here and I wanted to show you one particular funder profile.
So you can click on any of those potential funders that you see here and
I clicked on the Otto Bremer Trust. The most and this is showing me the most
recent five years at a glance and it’s going to give me a lot of information.
And this is again based on my original search of the after-school health
program in Minneapolis, Minnesota. And so I’m gonna take you through this
profile. And at the top, you can see that they do have a website so a lot of
foundations have websites. A lot don’t, many more don’t, we mentioned only 10% do, but this is an organization that has a website when possible after you look at
a profile, if you feel like this is a potential prospect, if you send yourself
results save results – I’ll show you how to do that-
check out their website. Don’t ignore a website, if something exists and then you
can jump directly to Who’s Who and contact information, if you want. But I’m
going to kind of show you some trends and this is really helpful and it’s a
wonderful tool in Foundation Directory Online, you get a sense of this funder in
terms of their giving historically. So it’s not just what happened this year or
last year, it is giving over time. And this is really helpful for us because we
learn a lot more about the funder and, keep in mind, that each funder is going
to do a lot of due diligence and homework about the nonprofit’s they fund,
so you want to make sure that you’re actually returning the favor and doing
your homework as well about the funder. And so we see here on the left-hand side
we’re looking at the subject areas in greater detail what is being funded so
the top subject area is Human Services. So we’re pretty much looking at this
profile thinking “is there a reason to eliminate this funder?” or “are they not
funding what I’m funding?” or “am I getting excited because maybe they’re a potential
fit?” So Human Services, I feel like that still fits in our criteria of our search
Health is next, Community and Economic Development, Education, Public Safety,
Human Rights, Philanthropy, and the list goes on. So that is something that’s
really helpful and you can actually drill down into each of those if you
wanted to go deeper and see what do they mean by Human Services in greater detail.
For the purposes of today, I’m not gonna take you down there, but you can really
do some deep diving and research here into those different subject areas if
you want it. And then at a glance, “where is that money going?” You can see that
even though we limited our search to Minneapolis, Minnesota, funding is and has
gone in different parts of the country. so obviously the number of grants in
Minnesota is quite high based on our search
results. But you can see they’ve also funded North Dakota, they funded Iowa,
South Dakota, Wisconsin, so if you happen to be searching and maybe your work
isn’t happening directly in Minnesota- maybe it crosses state lines or you have
a partner and it’s located in North Dakota or Wisconsin you might say “hey
you know have you heard of this particular organization? how big are the
grants?” This gives you each grant with a little bit more details, so you know that
their grants – they really are a range. The largest grant they actually give is
somewhere in the range of 50 to 100 or the most number of grants in this area. So
that’s great news, if you’re looking for a larger amount. They have also given
grants, you know upwards of 1 million dollars, and really small grants of
$5,000, so you want to think about that. But you can see here that the most
common grant amount this is the average grant amount is $25,000, which is pretty
substantial and you might be wondering you know “what range do I ask for?” and it
really depends on a couple of factors based on what organizations are also
doing the work like yours and looking at their grants data. So we can see here and
I want it to also highlight on the left hand side we have a jump-to-screen, I
like to use this when I want to get information quickly about one of these
areas, but you can also scroll through to kind of take it a little bit slower and
see what this information actually looks like. So the most common grant amount is
$25,000 and you can see we actually have 2019 data and this is really helpful and
important. And you can see that the organization that got $115,000 grant in
2019 was Perspectives Inc. and you might think “oh, I know the organization I want
to look them up.” You can. So you can actually click on that recipient data, if
you wanted to actually see what that was for. You’re not gonna get you know a copy
of their proposal per se, but you’re going to get general information it can
be helpful to you. So let’s actually click on that to see
you know what comes up. So here we see we get information about Perspectives Inc.,
we get a general description, we see what their subject areas are, and the grant
amount here which is really helpful for us here, and also where else they’re
doing the work so geographic areas served they also do work beyond just the
Minnesota/St. Paul area. So coming back to the profile here, we can see a lot of
information here and it’s going by year and also grant amounts- so the largest
grant amount awarded- and this is helpful this is great for us to have that
information that is most current and relevant. And then we can also see
funding interests. This is really helpful and important for our particular
searching we want to see “how else do they describe the work?”, “what else do they
actually fund?” So they fund basic and emergency aid, child educational
development, I think that kind of connects with our original search
category so we’re still potentially looking at this as an organization.
Geographic focus- you can see here they’re not necessarily focusing only on
Minnesota and North Dakota etc. Support strategies- they do a lot of different
support strategies including program support that’s how we came up in search
capacity-building, technical assistance. And they’re and independent foundation. And
then here the purposes and activities: the mission of the foundation is to
assist people in achieving full economic civic and social participation in and
for the betterment of their communities. And you can also find out more about
their background here, as well as, program areas, investments, etc. And a really cool
feature that you know … again there’s so many great features in Foundation
Directory Online, this is actually one of my favorites… and this is Other Funders
To Consider, so this is based on a pattern of giving that’s connected to
the subject area, geographic area served, and grant amounts. So for instance, I
might think “okay, they’re a good fit for me, but maybe they’re not, but I want to
consider other funders that are kind of connected to them or maybe similar?” so
the Saint Paul Foundation may be someone to consider, the Frey Foundation,
Donaldson Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, maybe… you
might be thinking “oh, I hadn’t considered those?” You already have six funders that
you could potentially also explore from this profile. So I really like this
feature and I think it can be useful. Sometimes though you might feel like
these organizations are similar in terms of their patterns of giving, but they’re
not necessarily connected to what I do. So you know this is not always an exact
match, but it is a helpful reference tool and I think it’s a great place as a next
step. And then really exciting information: Applications and RFPs. And so,
here they give you a list of information. They’re not necessarily gonna attach an
RFP here ever because that’s going to be rolling and they’re gonna maybe and this
organization might put that on their website. They might actually put out a
call for RFPs, but it’s good to give you a sense of what they’re looking for.
So a foundation staff may seek additional information through telephone,
conversation, or in-person site visits- which is great information to know so
that you want to really prepare yourself. “Am I available, if indeed I apply?” and you
know they want to have a site visit or follow-up on the phone. They’re gonna do
a preliminary screening and the trustees actually make the ultimate decision. So
you may be working with a program officer, but it’s ultimately the trustees
that are making the decision here. And it says see a website for application form.
So you don’t want to stop here you want to go to their website and then they
list all the things that you’re gonna be including and needing.
If you’ve ever applied for grants, you know that you have to make sure
everything, you have all your ducks in a row, and you have all the information you
need. So this is a great idea to take a look at this to say “okay, I have all
these things ready to go” or “I don’t have everything ready to go, I’m gonna go to
their website and get more information.” And they want that your initial approach
to be online, looking for copies of proposal, and they also tell you that the
board is meeting monthly and deadlines. This is really helpful September 25th,
January 7th, April 8th, and July 8th. And again, this may change from year-to-year, but
because this organization has grants data from 2019, it’s good to know that
there is a deadline potentially approaching in
September, but I’m gonna go to their website for the most updated information.
And here then, this is a really useful tool, useful feature as well,
you have Giving Limitations. Sometimes, depending on how optimistic or
pessimistic you may feel you may want to jump directly here to see is this really
a fit for me. So here, we have information that giving is limited to organizations
whose beneficiaries are residents of Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin
with preference given in those regions that are served by Bremer banks. So
really interesting even though they’ve given internationally and actually
across the U.S., the organization right now is saying that their limitations are
in these particular states. So if I happen to be doing the work in Minnesota,
still applies, North Dakota and Wisconsin, that’s really going to be the focus. And
then read the fine print and make sure that you read all the limitations, so
they do not support specifically economic development, or historic
preservation museums, interpretive centers, sporting activities, and
unfortunately they do not give grants to individuals, or for endowment funds,
medical research, professorships, annual fund drives, benefit events, camps or
artistic or media projects. This is really good information, so if I happen
to be working in a museum maybe my out-of-school time after school time
work was connected to a museum in some way I’m probably not a good fit here. Or
if I’m looking to fund my annual fundraising fund drive this year or a
benefit event this is not the organization for me. Even though they
fund in Minnesota and we work with kids maybe your project is really connected
to you know fundraising and you may want to go a different route because this is
a funder that’s not for you. However if you feel like “oh, I actually you know I’m
not limited by their limitations. I’m gonna keep looking.” So now we have the
financial information and their total giving, total assets, total giving. And
this is not necessarily connected just to my search this is overall. Their total
assets and total giving, which is really helpful information
to us. And they also include that they award grants, as well as loans, and
program related investments or PRIs. So helpful for organizations that are maybe
interested in that. And then this is another really interesting and cool
feature of Foundation Directory Online, I mentioned before Who’s Who. So you can
actually see who has a LinkedIn profile and see if there’s a connection here and
you can also expand if they include staff so you can see there’s a lot of
people on the staff that have LinkedIn profiles and you know I would recommend
not necessarily, you know LinkedIn messaging or connecting with the CEO or
trustee, but maybe thinking okay a program officer… do your homework first,
but it’s a great way if you open up, you know if you have a LinkedIn profile
I encourage you to think about that you open up, why don’t you connect and click
on one of these different little icons, you can actually see “do I have any
relationships?” maybe there’s someone they can introduce you, if that makes sense.
And it’s also really good to get a sense of that potential funder, do your
homework about program officers as well. And then we have Communications. So we
see that they’ve been pretty active as recently as March in terms of awarding
grants, they’ve been featured in the news. Communication information is going to be
highlighted here and it’s also going to be in on their website, and on their
social media platforms if they’re using you know social media. So don’t limit
yourself to just this communication information, you want to see where else
they are. So if you go to their website you look here and then you know follow
up on their website you see “oh they’re on Twitter and Facebook and I’m
interested in this funder, maybe I’m gonna follow them, so I could be in the
loop and in the know.” And then other information… and sometimes people don’t
scroll all the way to the bottom, but I encourage you to scroll all the way to
the bottom, looking at publication information. It’s really helpful to know
how funders are talking about their work and if they published anything recent.
You know maybe they are leaders in a particular issue area. And so this will
link you to IssueLab, a service of Foundation Center and Candid,
and it is a really great tool that you can see to you know what reports have
they been published in. You know it looks like that you can look at their annual
reports, most recently they put, you know, put out a report on how they are helping
individuals and families navigate crisis. Really interesting, so do your homework
and you can really find out a lot more about the information of this funder and
since this is an organization that does site visits they are gonna want that you
know human connection that in-person connection and the more information you
have and research you’ve done about a particular funder, the better. And so, I
wanted to also highlight here before we close out of the profile that you might
be wondering “okay, this is great. I’m using this database, in you know one of
our Funding Information Networks or perhaps you’re in our New York library
through Candid and I want to send myself these results or save it.” You can!
So you can actually email yourself a PDF of this particular profile. You can also
download a PDF, so if you happen to be using your own computer in a location
where you can do that, you can download the results and email them to yourself,
or save it onto, you know USB, or you know a flash drive, or something like that. And
you could send yourself up to ten complete funder profiles and also about
25 different records at a time. And so you can you know send yourself a lot of
information. I wouldn’t recommend any more than that because it is
overwhelming, but if you see this organization you think “oh this is
actually a really great fit for me. I don’t want to forget about them.” Send
yourself this information via email it’s a really wonderful tool for you to think
about. And other things that I wanted to highlight, which aren’t always visibly
available -aren’t always not visibly available… they’re always visibly
available. They’re not always something that we think about in our search
criteria, things that you can also do is you can also do things like unclick your
support strategy, you can also use the keyword search area. I would encourage
you to be really cautious with keywords, so if you want to
say I want to see you know have they mentioned something about animals, like I
really want to just you know put that in there to see if that comes up. What it’s
gonna do is only going to show you that string connected to that particular word
that you typed in. So I encourage you to use that with caution and not
always jump to that keyword search. Because you’ll notice when I searched
after school and children and health I got more robust search criteria and I’m
gonna actually take you back to additional, actually I’m gonna take you
back to our original search criteria here. So if you remember, I searched
health after-school program for children in Minneapolis. But maybe I don’t
necessarily have the information that I maybe I’m not necessarily sure of what
I’m looking for– I want to do a search by organization or a search by a person
instead, not necessarily starting in that project-based search… although I think
that is actually the best way to start, so starting with that project-based
search in that way is a great fit. But if you want to search by organization. Say
hey, I want to just search by just the name of an organization that someone
mentioned, so I want to know a nonprofit that I’ve heard in the news so
I’m gonna show you what you can do. So I might type in something like Candid and
you see oh okay there’s a Candid recipient in New York. I could actually
search in that way and click on that and find out about this organization and how
they’ve gotten funding. I can even type in, you know a funder that I’ve heard of,
so maybe Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Let’s see if they come up here… yeah and they do. They’re a
grantmaker located in Princeton, New Jersey and so I could type that in
search there. I can also search by a person, so maybe I met a funder at an event,
or a program officer and they said “hey I work for the Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation” and you’re like “oh I want to look them up” to see you know what’s
their connection because maybe I forgot what funder they and what organization
they work for or I know a board member I want to see their different connections.
So you know you can type in things like Bill Gates,
and see how you know Bill Gates actually comes up here. And so this is a feature
that can be really useful so you can do that person searching or organization
name. You don’t always have to do that project based search. There’s a lot of
fun things to you can do in the database, so if you want to kind of look at
transaction type you want to limit just the last year, you can play
around with that. You can also play around with the grant amount, it’s a
really robust data tool where you can do this prospect research and really find a
fit for yourself. So this is you know Foundation Directory Online in a
nutshell. I’m gonna jump back into our talking points so we can kind of think
about where do I access this great amazing tool. So #1 you can access this
if you happen to be in the northeast area you can access this at our New York
Candid library- it’s a really beautiful space and get support from librarians
there, as well as, staff. You can research as well, but if you’re not located in New
York don’t worry. We have over 400+ Funding Information Network partner
locations and so if you go to and you go to find us and type
in your zip code, you can find the nearest location that has access to
Foundation Directory Online. And they have trained staff available to support
you. A lot of Candid staff are actually doing
trainings at these locations and these Funding Information Network partners
some of them are training partners, as well are offering a lot of programs and
services. So I would definitely find out who’s in my backyard, where I can you
know, who can support me. And where can I use this database at no cost. And last,
but not least if you feel like wow this is really a robust tool and I think my
nonprofit organization needs to actually purchase the subscription that’s also a
great way to go. With a subscription you have a lot of additional features and
you can also you know use it from the comfort of your home computer, your
office computer, so there are many ways to access it you don’t have to have a
subscription. We definitely encourage it if you think the organization could
benefit from it, multiple people can access the same account from an
organization and there’s other ways of connecting. So you might also be asking
“where can I get help with FDO? So I know where to access it, but who can help me?”
Great question! So you can actually teach yourself. So it’s great that you’re on
this webinar today, we encourage you to use our online resources, but you can use
FDO Quick Guides – there’s lots of help articles available on our website, and also Foundation Directory Online, as well has a lot of
search articles and tools. And plenty of YouTube videos, so you might be wondering
“okay, how am I going to learn from YouTube video?” YouTube videos we have
tons of them and they show specific demos and search criteria or if you’re
having trouble kind of coming up with the results you want or you forgot how
to use something, it’s a great feature. And also when you’re within Foundation
Directory Online, you can also chat with a live person, as well, if you happen to
be using it. And I would encourage you if you’re in a location where you can talk
to someone in person either a librarian or staff member at Candid or at that
different Funding Information Network partner, I’d encourage you to get
assistance in that way, so we have person to person assistance library staff. We
also encourage you to use the chat or email function that’s available to
connect with Candid staff regarding support for Foundation Directory Online.
So I’m gonna end there and I’m gonna hand it back to Elizabeth to see if you
have any burning questions that we can help you with before we end. So take it away
Elizabeth, any questions from our audience? Yes we’ve had plenty of
questions pouring in so I’m gonna go ahead and pose the first one for you
because I think it might be a bit nuanced, I want to give you a second to
consider your response so Noreen is joining us from New York City
and she wants to know if you recommend putting the specific borough you will be
serving instead of just saying New York City? So I’m wondering how this might
apply to other metro areas as well. I know
you’ve done a lot of work in the Bay Area is this something that we want to
say you know San Francisco Bay Area or do we need a specify you know city and
county? I know Atlanta is a very large area that
we serve as well. So again do we need to go city and county or do we want to keep
our searches fairly broad? I’ll give you a second to consider your response
because I do want to share some next steps with our participants, as well. So
we do invite you to continue learning with us on August 22nd, we will have one
of our returning presenters with us Mandy Pearce and she’ll be speaking to
how to create a healthy fundraising team and strategy, so you can put safety nets
in place to ensure organizations like yours can survive major transitions and
achieve its long-term goals. Again this will be taking place on August 22nd and
we’ll be providing you with essential information, so you can create a
fundraising team that fosters community collaboration and innovation. We invite
you to register sooner as opposed to later, so you can take advantage of our
early bird pricing for this course. And we also have our self-paced elearning
bundle here Donor Cultivation which helps you grow your donor engagement and
retention strategy. This is a bundle of three self-paced elearning courses at
$145 which is a savings of 25% off the regular price and you’ll learn how to
identify any mid-level donors that you might have and help stewardship
strategies to move them into a major gifts program or a donor club. So back to
you Ganga, what are your recommendations? How specific should we get? Should we advise
Noreen to specify the borough or should we keep it a bit more general to New
York City? That’s a great question. I would say do both. What, you know,
what I recommend so being in Oakland-San Francisco, I might say something really
specific like Oakland. However, if you make it too narrow you may not find
funders that say are supporting the, you know, New York area. So if I only write,
you know, click Oakland, I may be eliminating funders that say we
fund California, but they don’t list their
cities. So I would say try both, be as specific as possible. Sometimes when we
are too specific within the database, we realize oh I didn’t get you know a lot
of results or I got zero results it doesn’t mean there’s not there’s zero
funders for your work, it means that your search was too specific, so then you
broaden it out. And so I would do both, you could say you know I want to
see who’s funding in the Bronx and I want to see who’s funding in you know
New York City or I want to see who’s you know funding in a broader area too. But
you know start broad, I think that’s the best practice within the database.
Great question. Any other questions, Elizabeth from the
audience. Yeah we actually had an interesting one here regarding social
media. So if we really wanted to leverage the Who’s Who function there, do you
recommend connecting and linking and liking and interacting with your personal
social media accounts or should you keep those strictly to perhaps your
organization’s social media accounts? How friendly do we want to get here, with
potential funders? This is a really great nuanced question. I would say it
depends on your organization and your own comfort level so if you do happen to
have an organizational say LinkedIn profile or even other you know social
media profiles you can connect in that way.
However the one-to-one connection can be really great. For instance, if you are the
program development, you know.. I’m sorry, the development coordinator at your
organization and you want to reach out specifically to a program officer. That
one-to-one direct connection can go a long way because sometimes your
organizational profile… so for instance if I use you know Candid’s LinkedIn…
excuse me. Sorry about that I’m recovering from a cold. If I use Candid’s LinkedIn
profile to connect with a funder, it feels kind of anonymous. So the more
personal connection, you can make the better, but again check with your
organization what’s the right approach and what’s appropriate for the
organization. And sometimes a funder does not necessarily
we want to be connecting with you through social media. So also be aware of
that, that maybe they don’t want to have that direct connection. They may refer
you to someone else and so it’s kind of it’s a nuanced dance, but I would say one
possibly use your own account if you happen to be the lead for grants and
fundraising in the organization. Great question!
Thank you Ganga. We have another really great question that came in from Lauren
here. And she wants to know if it’s appropriate for you to sit down with
perhaps a partner organization or someone that you’ve collaborated with
from time to time and ask them who their funders are? Yeah, I think absolutely! And
I really believe in the spirit of collaboration, so if you know an
organization that you work with or it’s in your, you know, same subject area, your
same geographic region. I’d say reach out to them first. It’s about
relationships and networking and building those connections. However I
know sometimes it can feel like oh we’re trying to steal your grants or
information like that. So I wouldn’t say your first connection that you make with
them over coffee, you know say, can you give me all of your grants information?
You know of that is publicly available through the database, through Foundation
Directory Online. You can always use that to say oh there’s a non-profit I know
and I heard of them let me look in the database first. But reach out to them
because they can do things beyond what you can find in the database. Which means
they can introduce you to a program officer they can tell you how they made
that approach. So maybe you see that they got a grant from this funder that you’ve
been trying to cultivate you just don’t know how to go about it. They may reveal
to you that they have actually been cultivating that relationship for the
last five years and that it wasn’t an overnight thing and that maybe they can
introduce you to help speed that process along. Or you might realize like you need
to wait a little bit before you connect to that fund until you’re actually ready
in your program organization. So I’d say keep it appropriate. Don’t let that be
the first thing that you ask a non-profit, but yes collaboration is key
and I highly encourage it. Great question! Thank you so much Ganga. We covered a lot
of material today and we want to say thank you so much for joining us during
this webinar. Again we have plenty of support for you, if you are
your own learner we do have plenty of help articles and that YouTube channel
and if you do like talking with a real person I highly encourage you to reach
out to our online librarians. I promise you they’re real people who will
research answers and support you all your way through your prospecting
research. So with that thank you so much Ganga and thank you everyone for
attending today’s webinar. Rest assured that you will receive a follow-up email
within the next 24 to 48 hours with a link to view recording of today’s
webinar as well as a short survey and I very much appreciate your feedback I
read every single response, so please please please help us get even better. On
behalf of our team here at Candid and our presenter thank you for joining us
today. If you liked this webinar, we hope you join us again soon! Have a wonderful
rest of your day everyone. Thank you all!

1 thought on “Introduction to Foundation Directory Online (FDO)

  1. I would like to learn everything I can to help change the community of Glenn Heights Texas 75154. My name is Altha Armstrong

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