We know how important having complete and up to date information is for our customers’ fundraising efforts. That’s why our research team splits their time between adding in new funding opportunities and ensuring that existing profiles and deadlines are up to date.
So far in 2012, they’ve verified and updated every deadline in our database and have added 148,000 grants to charities. These are gifts made in 2011, mostly by Canadian foundations but also some by charities. This represents over $8.4 billion given to Canadian charities last year. The 600,000+ grants in our database already allow us to offer our customers the most complete picture of foundation giving in Canada but we’ve got a lot more in the pipeline, so stay tuned!
Understanding the funding environment is one of the biggest challenges facing non-profit organizations (NPOs). Knowing where the money is and how to gain access to it is every bit as critical a skill as those required to deliver your group’s services. Of the many sources of funding available to NPOs, the most mysterious and poorly understood is certainly the family foundation. They can play an important role in your financial strategy, from funding pilot programs, to supporting capital projects or just being a source of no-strings-attached operational funding.
While there are a few well-known foundations, there are thousands of lesser-known family foundations that quietly give tens of millions of dollars annually to the sector. All organizations wish that they could be the beneficiaries of these mysterious funders, yet most don’t have the knowledge required to secure this type of funding. How does one find out about them? How does one approach them? How does stewardship of a foundation differ from that of individual donors?
Over the next few months we will be collaborating with Ligia Pena, president of Diversa Consultants, to bring you a series of articles that seek to demystify family foundations. Ligia’s specialty is helping small and mid-sized organizations strengthen their fundraising capabilities. We hope that these articles will provide you with the confidence and knowledge necessary to successfully engage with family foundations. We look forward to hearing about your experiences and we’ll do our best to answer any questions you may have.
Next post in this series
Michael participated in a hackathon the other day (don’t ask, it’s just something that geeks do for fun). This one was especially interesting in that it was hosted by McGill University and focused on innovation in healthcare. Apparently Michael has been spending some of the time we let him take off helping disability advocates use technology to achieve their goal of mapping the accessibility of Montreal’s public spaces. He is both a softie and a total nerd.
His project won two prizes (show-off) – “Innovation most likely to succeed” and “Best use of geolocation”. Mazel tov!
You might have noticed that we now have two flavours of Fundtracker. Over the last year, we have heard from many of you that while you needed a service like ours, the realities of a non-profit budget meant that you couldn’t afford it. It’s because of that feedback that we are happy to announce the launch of … Fundtracker! (We’ve renamed our previous service “Fundtracker Pro”).
Fundtracker has all of the information that many non-profits need. It contains a comprehensive list of all of the granting foundations and government funding programs, both federal and provincial. It also has over 500 corporate funding programs, most of which area available across Canada. The main different between Fundtracker and Fundtracker Pro is that Fundtracker Pro includes detailed information on all of the “non-granting” foundations.
So, what is a non-granting foundation, you might ask? While most of them are public foundations that exist for the purposes of collecting money from the public and distributing it to a specific organization or cause (think of a hospital foundation or a foundation to fight a specific type of cancer), there are other possibilities as well. They could be private foundations that do not accept unsolicited applications, inactive foundations or just private or public foundations that have no staff and give out less than $5,000 per year.
So, if your non-profit, like many, survives by careful and clever use of grants, Fundtracker is the right tool for your needs. It is more complete and more up-to-date than anything else out there. On the other hand, if you’re a fundraiser and you need that extra information about another foundation that works in your city, or you need to know who is on a board with who, then Fundtracker Pro is the tool you’ll want.