What’s the Nonprofit Organization Reference Center?

Treasure map with magnifying glass

Do you sometimes have a hard time finding the info you want on the Internet? Not everything is available on the web for free. Other times, you might want peer-reviewed resources to make a case for change to your org’s decision-makers.

Occasionally, even I forget about some of the hidden treasures that are in Foundation Center offices. One of those is Nonprofit Organization Reference Center, an EBSCOHost database of hundreds of thousands of articles about the nonprofit sector. Subjects include charitable giving; financial management; fundraising; governance; nonprofit law; leadership; social entrepreneurship; and more.

This is a hugely helpful resource for those times when our visitors want information that’s more authoritative than a blog post or web page. Here’s a small sample of the 270+ magazines, academic journals, and trade publications that provide full articles in this searchable database:

What’s the catch?

You have to physically visit Foundation Center offices to use this database because of our subscription’s terms and conditions. But when you get there, you can search for free, by keyword, subject, journal title, date, and more, then email, share, print, or save all of your articles as PDFs.

What if you can’t get to a Foundation Center office? Ask your local libraries if they subscribe to EBSCOHost database(s). Chances are that they do, so this might be part of their electronic collections. If they don’t have EBSCO, ask the staff about other ways to get your desired articles, maybe through other databases that they use, or through their interlibrary loan service. (This service allows them to request items, which they don't own or have access to, from other participating libraries.)

You also can try searching your favorite journal’s website or Google Scholar for your desired subject(s). Once you’ve identified articles, you often can buy a copy directly from the publisher. Or try an Internet search for the article’s title in quotes; you just might find the full text somewhere else online.