The social sector, made up of nonprofits, grassroots organizations, and social businesses, serves as our collective social safety net. Yet as you probably know, either from working for a nonprofit, or through solicitations from your favorite local charity, the social sector faces a perennial challenge: raising enough funding to maintain operations and achieve long-term financial sustainability. Fundraising for sustainability requires access to the funding data used to prospect new funders. Foundation Center wants to introduce you to a network of local support organizations providing nonprofits with access to this much-needed funding data.
Funding data helps organizations answer important questions in the fundraising process. Which funders care about supporting our cause, in our geographic region? Which funders are willing to support our overhead or capital expenses? Which funders give the size of grant that we need? Even in today's information-rich world, it can be challenging to answer the most basic questions about funding with a quick Google search. That challenge is exacerbated by the fact that only about 10% of U.S. foundations even have a website.
Foundation Center exists to tackle these information problems and to strengthen the social sector by sharing deep knowledge and data about philanthropic giving. We've created tools like Foundation Directory Online to help nonprofits get the data they need on 140,000 grantmakers. We share knowledge not just through numbers, but also through content-rich websites and open access knowledge collections.
We've also grown a network of on-the-ground partners in communities like yours, offering actual help to the most under-resourced organizations of the social sector. Foundation Center’s Funding Information Network includes over 400 community organizations across the U.S. (as well as in 11 countries worldwide). This is our legion of nonprofit data nerds! At these partner locations, nonprofits can use Foundation Directory Online, get one-on-one support from trained staff, and find opportunities to take classes on proposal writing and grantseeking. All at no cost to the user.
Our map of current locations shows our incredible reach and there very well may be a location in your zip code:
Now that you know about our network, help us spread the word! I urge you to look up your closest partner location, and share it with a friend or colleague you know who is working tirelessly to sustain the mission of their nonprofit or social cause. And if there isn't a Foundation Center partner near you, consider whether you know of an organization that might be a good fit - maybe even your own! I'm lucky to work with our network every day, so don't hesitate to send any questions you might have my way. Here's looking to a richly-informed and sustainable social sector in 2018!
Originally posted on LinkedIn.
Join me on Thursday, February 22 for the “Foundation Information Network (FIN) Information Session,” to learn how the FIN program can help your nonprofit resource center, community foundation, or library support your local nonprofit and small business economy.
KATE TKACIK is director of Network Engagement at Foundation Center. She leads the direction, growth, and deeper engagement of the Funding Information Network, a network of more than 400 local resource centers which support their nonprofit and social entrepreneurs with access to Foundation Center resources. She also oversees the GrantSpace.org website and AskUs online librarian service. In her role, Kate channels her experience as a librarian, focused on connecting social sector professionals with the quality information and training resources they need to thrive.