Greetings from GrantLessons!
Imagine there are funders out there who are looking for you and your chapter. Funders do not often seek out programs to fund! Instead they set up a website and outline the criteria in which they are willing to consider funding a program, it could be your chapter’s program! The process used to meet a funder is through a paper or online application. So the game we are playing is “How do we identify funders who might give us money?” We do not want to waste time and we don’t want to do the process twice.
Back to our Grants Development Subcommittee, since we are a Gold Participant we went in to GuideStar and started searching on our local community using the advanced search option. We did the first search and looked for foundations located in Reno, NV. We found that there are 2,107 foundations in our community. We found that every foundation was listed including the local hospital and university and many other nonprofit organizations similar to us. So that was too many, so we needed to select additional criteria. So back to GuideStar this time we tried to narrow the search by entering our city, state, all 501(c)3 public charities, human services, income between $100,000 and $100 million and assets between $100,000 and $100 million and we got 23 hits, one of them being our local chapter. The search was too narrow. So how did we find a balance?
We again went back to GuideStar. We again entered our location; income and assets as above, and all 501(c)(3) organizations. This time we left human services off and only selected organizations with more than $100,000 in income. We got 255 hits. Okay this seemed to be a reasonable number to look at for me. So I downloaded the search to an Excel spreadsheet. I then started to pare the list down even more, first, I highlighted all the organizations where we had already received a contribution or where we had made an application and were waiting to hear the results of completing an application. I also scanned and eliminated all foundations where I knew that the funder would not be making a contribution to our work, such as, Boy and Girls Club. Now the list was only 50 names.
I started through the list and copied each name from the Excel spreadsheet into a GuideStar search and then evaluated the Form 990, Section XV. Often I found that the checkbox was selected indicating that the funder only gave to preselected organizations. Then I examined the list where the funder had made contributions and found many organizations similiar to Assistance League of Reno-Sparks on the list. I am not quite through the entire list and I also want to engage the Grants Development Subcommittee to complete some of the searching. So far, I have found three new potential funders and a lot of funders who only give to preselected charities. More to come. If you need help in determining how to do the search you can watch the video, http://youtu.be/4RGRhRaDVzQ .
Next week, we look at options to find ways to engage funders who only give to preselected charities.
Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon! Sandie