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Foundation Directory Online Adds Government Grants

Foundation Directory Online now includes data on federal government agencies and their grants. Currently, 2016 data has been added, and Foundation Center plans to add data back to 2011. This will enable grant seekers to discover which government agencies have awarded grant money in their areas of interest in recent years.
A recent GrantSpace blog posting titled Quick Tips for Locating Federal Grant Opportunities, recommends visiting the websites of agencies most likely to support your organization’s work to look for information on upcoming grants, particularly recurring grants. You can also search the following free government websites for grants on your own:
www.grants.gov – Official government website where you can learn about, search, and apply for federal grants.
https://www.cfda.gov/ – The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance provides a full listing of all federal programs available to state and local governments, profit and nonprofit organizations, and individuals.

Planning for Fund Raising Success

“What makes a great fundraiser great?” asks GuideStar blogger and veteran fundraiser Jerold Panas in a recent post. He goes on to name five key attributes: a gift for selling the dream, outsized optimism, a flair for leadership, the courage to ignore convention, and energy on call.
In addition to cultivating some of these personal qualities, fundraisers would do well to prepare themselves with information on fund raising methods and strategies. GrantSpace’s Knowledge Base is a wealth of information on topics of interest to fund raisers, such as planning special events, finding emergency funding, obtaining fiscal or corporate sponsorship, and writing proposals. Additional resources include Foundation Center’s free webinar on Fundraising Planning, and the Schaumburg Township District Library’s collection of books on fund raising and proposal writing, most of which are shelved at call number 658.15224.

How to Obtain Nonprofit Status

Most grantmakers require proof of an organization’s nonprofit (501(c)(3)) status before considering them for funding. Incorporating as a 501(c)(3) organization in Illinois requires getting tax-exempt status from the IRS and incorporating as an Illinois nonprofit organization. Visit the IRS webpage for charities and nonprofits at http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits for information and forms. A Guide for Organizing Not-for-Profit Corporations can be downloaded from the Illinois Secretary of State’s business services webpage; the library has a copy at REF/346.064/GUIDE. A helpful Checklist for Illinois Charitable Organizations can be found on the Illinois Attorney General’s Office website.
Grantspace’s page on “Establishing a Nonprofit Organization,” includes practical information on nonprofit status, board development and staff recruitment, along with links to sample bylaws and budgets. Finally, the library has many books cataloged under the subject “nonprofit management” that can help you start your organization.

Be a Wise Giver

December caps off the Giving Season, when many people make their year-end contributions to charity. It’s advisable to do some homework before choosing a charity, to ensure that your contributions are put to the best use. The free websites listed below can help you give wisely.
www.charitywatch.org – Grades charities on an A-F scale (not every charity has been graded,) lists additional charities in the same categories, and highlights highly efficient charities in categories such as Humanitarian Relief and Military and Veterans.
http://www.charitynavigator.org/ – Assigns charities up to four stars, and provides percentage scores on financial management and accountability and transparency. Register for free to get comparison information on similar organizations. Offers Tips for Donors, such as how to stop receiving solicitations through the mail.
http://www.givewell.org/ – Givewell looks at actual outputs of what they consider standout charities. Rather than focusing on financial management, this site shows how select nonprofits accomplish their missions.

Giving Tuesday Can Bring in New Donors

Giving Tuesday, celebrated on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, kicks off the charitable giving season and is an opportunity for nonprofits to acquire new donors. Online fundraising efforts often have greater appeal for younger donors, who can be difficult to reach. GuideStar’s Adam Weinger outlines “Top Giving Tuesday Strategies and Resources” in his October 17 blog post, including: planning an event, updating your website and making sure it’s mobile responsive, featuring Giving Tuesday on your website, and watching out for possible fraud.
Illinois nonprofits can participate in #ILGive, an initiative of ForeFront, “to capitalize on the energy of Giving Tuesday…and amplify your year-end giving efforts.” Participating nonprofits will be listed on ILGive.com and will get free support from the #ILGive team, along with other benefits. Nonprofits must register by November 18.

Planning Your Year-End Digital Fundraising

Nonprofits typically receive a large percentage of their donations in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Year-end fundraising campaigns should be carefully planned in order to make the most of the holiday giving season. If you’re fundraising with e-mail for the first time, you might be interested in digital marketing expert John Haydon’s blog posting, “3 E-mail Tactics to Boost Year-End Donations,” which outlines some basic strategies. Grant Space’s Knowledge Base article, “Where Can I Find Information on Online Fundraising?” includes information on guidelines and regulations for online fundraising. The article also lists many web sites, including Idealware.org, which provides “Consumer-Reports-style reviews” of software of interest to nonprofits. There’s even a link to an article entitled, “Stick with Old Media: Not Cool, But It Works,” by Holly Minch.

Foundation Center Website Has a New Look

Foundation Center’s website has an updated look, with some new navigational tools. Click on “I want to…. View All” (under the Search box) to learn about basic topics such as starting a nonprofit, finding grants, and writing proposals. Use the keyword search to find articles and information across Philanthropy News Digest, Foundation Center’s Issue Lab, and other sources. Click on the Improve Your Skills tab (at top,) and then on Training Calendar (at right) to view upcoming classes and free webinars offered by the Foundation Center. Also under Improve Your Skills is a link to the GrantSpace database, where clicking on the Tools tab will get you to Sample Documents for nonprofits, and to the Knowledge Base, where you’ll find answers to the Top 15 Questions asked about nonprofits. Click on the Ask Us tab to e-mail or chat with a Foundation Center professional.

Free Online Courses for Nonprofit Managers and Fundraisers

A wide variety of free online classes, including classes appropriate for nonprofit managers and staff, is available to STDL card holders. Simply visit the library homepage at www.schaumburglibrary.org, and click on the yellow Research and Genealogy tab. This will take you to the Research page, where you can click on “Jobs & Career,” and then scroll down to Gale Courses. You’ll need to enter your STDL card number to enter the database, and then create an account in order to register for classes. Look in the Business category for classes such as: A to Z Grant Writing; Wow, What a Great Event!; Introduction to Nonprofit Management; and Marketing Your Nonprofit. Call the Reference Desk at (847)923-3330 if you have questions about the Gale Courses.

Corporate Foundations vs. Corporate Giving Programs: What’s the Difference?

When approaching a corporate funder, it’s important to have some idea of how it operates. Corporate foundations are separate legal entities from their company sponsors, but their giving usually reflects areas of company interest. Corporate giving programs are often run through a company’s marketing department, and are designed to benefit employees, their families, or communities where the company conducts business. Giving programs are not subject to the laws and disclosure requirements that govern corporate foundations. The Grantspace database offers a more detailed comparison of the two types of corporate funders, as well as helpful information on corporate sponsorships. The link to the National Council of Nonprofits’ Corporate Sponsorship Toolkit is especially helpful. The Search Companies module on Foundation Directory Online is a great way to start your search for corporate funders.

STDL Business Library Card Available to Nonprofits

Businesses and nonprofits located in the Schaumburg Township District Library service area may apply for a free business library card. This card entitles the holder access to the library’s online databases and circulating collections. Upon presentation of current documentation (dated within the last year) such as a business license, property tax bill, or utility bill by the owner or manager of the business or nonprofit, a business library card will be issued to one authorized employee. The business owner or manager takes responsibility for materials checked out and any charges assessed to the card. This card can be renewed annually, if in good standing. Ask about a Business Library Card at the Library Cards desk on the first floor.