Real-time grants data and the greater good
By Nick Geisinger, Director of Communications
“What nonprofits are my colleagues supporting?” and “How much is being given for [X issue] around the region?” are two great questions, which we hear a lot, and which we can’t answer in any comprehensive way. But we do hear you: You (grantmakers) need grant information that’s more recent than what’s available on 990s.
Related to that need, two things:
1) This recent announcement from Grantsfire offers one solution. The Grantsfire database is compiled in real-time from information published by grantmakers. Basically, you post it and they index it; you make it “indexable” by adding a few html tags that are invisible to site visitors. If you happen to have a web person, please forward them these instructions.
2) Washington Grantmakers has been exploring possibilities for more real-time grants data, beginning last year with our CYF mapping project and Northern Virginia Grants Index. Currently, we are working with Foundation Center to pilot a WG Grants Index, which, if successful, could be replicated nationally. WG’s Katy Moore is taking the lead on this and we’ll have more to tell you soon.
Our grants index will not require tech savvy on your part. The Grantsfire project does–but not much–and the pay-off of all grantmakers publishing data in a common format would be tremendous: e.g., a clear understanding of what peers are funding in real-time; greater collaboration/joint funding efforts; better PR; Google mashups; etc.
If you’re not posting grants information online, this might be a great time to start!