The field of philanthropy is evolving quickly, and the challenges for those who are deeply imbedded in grantmaking, or for those of us who are on the fringes, have never been greater. I believe nonprofit organizations, large or small, have to consciously rethink their assumptionsabout grantseeking, and explore new ways of approaching grantmakers, if they are to thrive in today’s world.
I have been a fundraiser for more than 40 years, and the field simply didn’t change much for the first 35! But today innovative ideas, combined with courageous grantmakers, are changing the landscape. Thankfully, that change is for the better. We are finding that more and more grantmakers are interacting with their grantees on a level never seen before. There is a fairly new group called Listen for Good that is taking this idea very seriously. I love the tag line on their home page: Philanthropy: Open for Improvement. That pretty much says it all!
And this group is not alone. There are numerous groups like this springing up all over North America and Europe. In fact, it was because of the accelerated adoption of so many new concepts that GrantStation is hosting our first Forum on innovations in philanthropy next June in New York City.
A New Tool
Our staff at GrantStation has developed a no-cost service for nonprofits as well as grantmakers to help them stay on top of the most recent trends in philanthropy. TrendTrack, a new website for sharing the latest trends in grantseeking and grantmaking, can serve as a touchstone for leaders as they build their organizations.
TrendTrack offers three distinct areas for exploration and reference, including the State of Grantseeking™ reports, the GSInsights blog post, and the Talk2020 podcast, all focusing on the latest trends in the world of philanthropy.
The State of Grantseeking™ Survey and Report is available for download in its entirety as well as by mission focus, annual budget, and more. This report, authored by GrantStation’s vice president, Ellen Mowrer, is an in-depth look at what is actually happening in the realm of grantseeking. With data, the most recent information is key, so please participate in our current survey, which is open now. We are looking for 3,000 responses, to top our fall 2015 survey, which had nearly 2,500 respondents.
Part of the beauty in these new trends in philanthropy is the whole idea of sharing information. To that end, when you, as a nonprofit leader, participate in a survey such as the State of Grantseeking, that in turn informs the decisions made by funders. This makes sharing your data mighty important, so please engage to help keep this trend of openness between grantmaker and grantseekers alive!
GuideStar’s tag line, “Better data. Better decisions. Better world,” underscores the importance of keeping up to date with the data-driven changes in philanthropy. Now more than ever, funders are looking closely at a variety of analytics when determining which organizations receive grant awards. Your organization needs to utilize the most recent data to build cutting-edge grant requests. Because today, winning grant proposals is not just based on the topic or issue at hand. It requires knowledge and understanding of the leading-edge trends in the world of philanthropy.
The preceding is a guest post by Cynthia Adams. Cindy is CEO of GrantStation, a premiere online funding resource for organizations seeking grants throughout the world. Providing access to a comprehensive online database of grantmakers, GrantStation helps nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies make smarter, better-informed grantseeking decisions. GrantStation is dedicated to creating a civil society by assisting the nonprofit sector in its quest to build healthy and effective communities.