We have learned various tips and tricks over time that help obtaining and managing foundation funds a little easier. Do you have an idea that you'd like to share? E-mail us today!
more opportunities to learn from your peers
The Foundation Center offers PND Talk, a free message board, to those wanting to share insights, opinions and questions related to philanthropy. Users can search the archives or post new questions to the board. It is a great way to connect with your peers at other institutions and to get answers and insights on some of those pesky problems we encounter from time to time.
How to prepare for a foundation Visit
The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently featured an article sharing how best to prepare for a foundation visit, whether it's one that is taking place on your campus or at the foundation's headquarters. The article notes that foundation relations staff often spend a great deal of time on the proposal but often spend less time on visit preparation. Be sure to check out the transcript of the live discussion featuring conversations from program officers from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Connelly Foundation.
What a Form 990 can tell you about a foundation
By reviewing the Form 990 required of all non-profit organizations, you can learn many things about the giving history of a particular foundation. By evaluating the number of prospects a foundation routinely funds, how many of those are multi-year grants, and how often the same grantee appears in the report can all be good indicators of whether or not to disqualify a particular funder. To learn more, read the article entitled, "What A Foundation's Giving Pattern Reveals" in a recent Grantsmanship Center article.
LEARN FROM YOUR PEERS
Washington University of St. Louis (MO) hosts a listserv specifically designed for corporation and foundation relation officers. CFRNet is a free, on-line discussion group focused on building partnerships between educational institutions and corporations and foundations. More than 1,000 corporate and foundation relations officers subscribe to CFRNet. Program officers and other staff of private foundations and corporate giving programs are also among its subscribers. Sign up today!
Keywords and Reverse Searches
Many times when looking for funders (particularly through Foundation subscription databases), it's important to speak the same language. That is, the terminology that you use in your particular discipline may not be the same categorization that is used in databases. So, how do you handle the disconnect?
There are two ways to approach this issue. The first is to view the existing index of keywords provided by the search tool. By selecting the index list, you can determine yourself how your particular project description best fits. For instance, you might be conducting a search relative to a specific type of dementia in nursing home residents. By viewing the index, you may see terms such as mental disorders, elderly, or geriatric health and can use these to narrow in on likely funders.
A second way is to conduct a reverse search. In this scenario, use the grant search feature (not the funder search) and use more discipline-specific search terms. In our previous example, you may choose to enter Alzheimer's disease or multi-infarc dementia as it is likely that grant recipients used these more concise terms in their project title or description.
By approaching the search from these two angles, you'll increase the likelihood of identifying a more crisp list of potential funders from which to work. Happy hunting!
Did you know that many foundations offer e-mail alerts at their web sites? Simply supply your e-mail address to sign up for alerts that will generate whenever there are news items or grant announcements made by the foundation. It saves you time by:
notifying you as soon as an action occurs
alleviating the need for you to periodically visit web sites for important information
eliminating the need for you to make calls or send e-mails to program officers regarding information that they've already made public
What should you do if your foundation doesn't offer this service? Use Google Alerts to have e-mails sent right to your inbox whenever anything relative to that foundation is noted on the Internet.