1. If you will be visiting us for the first time, call first and make an appointment. While not absolutely necessary, making an appointment ensures availability of the computer for researching and staff to assist you. I (Kate) am usually available Mondays from noon to 8 PM, and Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 AM to 5 PM. My schedule can vary though, so make extra sure to call ahead if you want me to help you.
2. If you can, set aside 2 to 3 hours to conduct your research and explore our resources. If you have not taken any of the Foundation Directory Online Basics classes, about 20 minutes of your first visit will be spent getting the “quick and dirty” tutorial on how to use the databases. If you can’t block out 2 to 3 hours, commit to one hour at a time.
3. Come with a particular project in mind. Searching for funders when you have a particular project in mind is the most efficient use of your time. This is called proactive grantseeking: you assess your organization’s funding needs, then identify potential funders who might fill those needs.
An aside: Reactive grantseeking occurs when you respond to a foundation’s Request for Proposals (RFP), whereby a foundation has a project in mind and requests nonprofits to submit proposals to implement that program. You can receive free RFP information at a personal email address by subscribing to the Foundation Center’s RFP newsletter (left hand column, scroll to bottom and enter your email address under “Subscribe” and click “Add Me”).
4. Bring a USB flash drive to store the results of your database searches. You can print the results, but at $0.25 per page, that may get costly. If you save your results to a flash drive, you will be able to do much more with them, like take them home and peruse them at your leisure, or share them with a colleague via email.
If you are new to using flash drives, we hve them available for purchase at our front desk – they are $10 and hold 1 GB of information. We can also teach you how to use them.
5. Visit during the slowest times, which are usually Mondays and Saturdays.