This post originally appeared in Eye on FDO, a blog for Foundation Directory Online subscribers and users.
We’re celebrating the 15th anniversary of Foundation Directory Online (FDO) by offering 15 insider tips, secrets, favorite searches, and other hints to help you get the most out of FDO. I’ve asked Foundation Center librarians, trainers, and editors for their ideas and contributed some of my own. I’ll share them with you in a three-part blog series, starting with today’s post. You’re welcome to e-mail me for more information about any of these or to share your own.
We’re counting down from 15 to 1, starting with these five:
15. Find Corporate Funders
This one comes from online librarian and Grantspace blogger Sandy Pon:
If you’re looking for corporate funders, do a Search Grantmakers search for Type of Grantmaker: “company-sponsored foundation” OR “corporate giving program”: This will give you a list of private or public corporate funders. Also, if you’re focusing on a specific company, do a Search Grantmakers keyword search for the company’s name. Searching in Keyword instead of the Grantmaker Name field will return more results, which could be helpful if you’re trying to get a fuller picture of a company’s philanthropic activities.
14. Get More Out of Power Search
For FDO Professional subscribers, Power Search unlocks results from across many Foundation Center sources, including research report collections, our library catalog, and nonprofit sector news. Sarah Jo Neubauer of Foundation Center San Francisco offers this advice for making the most of this feature:
I like using Power Search to capture insights on how organized philanthropy has responded to current events. For instance, searching “Obamacare” OR "affordable care act" in Power Search reveals hundreds of grants, news articles via Philanthropy News Digest, and direct access to foundation-sponsored reports and case studies via IssueLab, all in one search. Just now, I searched Ebola and was able to download results of foundations making grants to fight the Ebola outbreak.
13. The Keyword-Search Two-Step
Janice Rosenberg, senior librarian at Foundation Center Washington, DC, offers a search strategy for finding results that go beyond our “controlled vocabulary” of search-index terms:
If someone is researching a topic that does not fit neatly into one of the Fields of Interest/Subjects terms in our search indexes, I suggest starting with Search Grants and entering the term(s) in Keyword. Then, I look at the Subject terms that Foundation Center uses when indexing those grants. (Only about 5-10 records need to be reviewed to get an idea of which terms the Center uses). It's a helpful way to discover Fields of Interest/Subjects that can then be used for searching both the Grantmaker and Grants areas of FDO.
12. Navigating the FDO Search Taxonomy
Speaking of the Fields of Interest/Subject/Recipient Type search indexes, those are very long lists of terms that can be a challenge for newer users. A few months ago, we added a feature to index search to help make that process easier. Look for the mini “filter box” at the top of the index, right above the alphabet menu, and start typing your search term. This will filter the choices to matching terms, and you can then select one or more of those, saving you time from hunting through the whole list letter by letter.
11. One More Thing About Those Search Terms
Did you know there’s a complete list of all the Field of Interest/Subject/Recipient Type terms? Go to the Help section and look in the table of contents for the Complete List of Search Index Terms link (PDF). From there, Sandy Pon suggests:
Print/bookmark the full list. Mark it up! Highlight terms that describe your mission, programs, population served. Or answer these questions: 1) Who are you serving? 2) What are you doing for them? The more terms that you can use to describe your project, the more funders you’ll find in FDO.
Try these out, and we’ll be back next month with five more! And, please share your own favorite tips and techniques!
Not an FDO subscriber? Now’s a great time to get on board so you can use these tips: until 11/30, new monthly subscribers can buy 3 months and get 1 additional month free! Plus, you’ll get a free FDO training webinar valued at $69. Select “Special Offer” at checkout!