Foundation Research Tools – I

Plan for a Series of Posts and Product Reviews

North America has a robust culture of foundation philanthropy. Canada and the USA both register  their charities and foundations with their federal  tax departments, and information from those returns is publicly available, but not in a form that is particularly convenient for finding suitable prospects for your cause.

Various services have arisen in both countries to make this material more accessible and useful but they have a wide range of costs and capacities and it is always a challenge to determine which is most suitable to your needs and budget.

In order to assist with this task,I will be publishing reviews of current resources for both the fundraiser and prospect researcher, first for our Canadian scene and then the American.  Comments and discussions are very welcome. Later I will follow with other areas of the world.

What is my history?

Full disclosure… For those of you that do not already know this, I came to this part of our fundraising world by way of an extended stint at one of the key vendors in this space, Metasoft Systems , who provide FoundationSearch and BIG Online  in both Canada and the US.

Before my time at Metasoft, I was involved in starting up several non-profit organizations, all of which are still operating successfully but finding funding sources was always a challenge.

Since mid 2011, I have been an independent service provider + observer/commentator of this scene. My opinions are my own and do not represent any particular vendor including my past employer.

I plan to start with a couple of posts looking at how the industry has developed up to now and then to look more deeply at each of the current products.

Next post will be about how things got started in Canada.



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