CalNonprofits Articles

Foundations need feedback loops, and nonprofit need tips on grantseeking. In other words, we all need GrantAdvisor.org to succeed. And you can help with 7 minutes of your time.

As a crowd-sourced website, GrantAdvisor simply needs the crowd (this means you!)

Nonprofit staff and fundraising professionals like you who are willing to share your perspectives will increase funder transparency and you get to learn from your peers how (and if) to approach specific funders.

Twenty-five foundations in California already have reviews on GrantAdvisor (though you can write a review of any funder in the U.S.) Foundations are rated on four measures (overall relationship with the funder, how many hours does the grant application take, accessibility, and how successful the funder is at accomplishing its philanthropic goals), and reviewers also share experiences and opinions about foundations they’ve worked with.

Here’s a few examples:

  • “The program officers are very responsive, feel free to contact them with questions. Also do your research, this funder is VERY specific (and somewhat unusual) with what they fund.”-from review of the Bothin Foundation
  • “They can be a great partner. They get nonprofits and the need for core support. Their funding priorities, while prioritizing health, understand the connection of health issues and other areas -- poverty, safety net, criminal justice, etc.” -from review of the California Wellness Foundation
  • “Very fancy place and full of itself. They seem super generous if you match what they want to do, but they can take you on a long ride that is a lot of work and then give you nothing.” -from review of Tipping Point Community

Here's how to help 

Nonprofits: Over 100 California foundations have one or more review on the site. However, a foundation’s profile and reviews aren’t published until they get at least 5 reviews. This ensures foundation profiles show a more complete picture of the funder, based on multiple reviews. But, this high standard also means that we need more reviews to make the website useful for our community. Right now, only 25 California foundation profiles are live on GrantAdvisor – help us double that number in the next three months!

Nonprofit grantees and fundraisers: Take 7 minutes this week to write a review (or two or three), and read reviews of funders on your list.

Foundations: Consider using one of these four easy ways to encourage your grantees to write a review about your foundation on GrantAdvisor. It’s a quick way to get feedback about your policies and practices, and a great tool for your board, even if you already have a more formal feedback system in place. We're pleased that the Irvine Foundation and the Peery Foundation -- just to name two -- proactively encourage all grantees to write reviews of them. This not only gives them more feedback, but also makes a strong point about their commitment to seeing nonprofits as partners.

Writing a review is a short and anonymous process, plus you’ll feel good knowing your insights are contributing to a cause bigger than yourself: transparency in philanthropy. And, if you write a review about one of the 17 foundations below, your review could be the one that that gets it published!

These 4 California foundations only need 1 or 2 more reviews and their profile will go live on GrantAdvisor: 
  • Leo M Shortino Foundation 
  • Richmond Community Foundation
  • Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund
  • Union Bank Foundation
These 13 California foundations already have 2 reviews and with only 3 more, their profiles will go live:
  • Atkinson Foundation
  • Cisco Systems Foundation
  • Draper Richards Foundation
  • Fund for Nonviolence
  • John Gogian Family Foundation
  • Kalliopeia Foundation
  • Marin Community Foundation
  • Mental Insight Foundation
  • Palo Alto Community Fund
  • Rancho Sante Fe Foundation
  • Sam Mazza Foundation
  • United Way of the Bay Area
  • Westly Foundation
GrantAdvisor is a collaborative effort of the California Association of Nonprofits, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, and GreatNonprofits. It is also an experiment! So, we’d especially love to hear your feedback on GrantAdvisor (or any other CalNonprofit initiatives), and we appreciate your time and perspectives.

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