Get on the Map and Share the Story of Your Foundation's Grantmaking
Last week, nonprofit news site ProPublica announced that the public can now search the full text of nearly 3 million IRS filings from U.S. nonprofits and foundations. This free database of searchable filings includes Forms 990, 990-EZ and 990-PF that were filed electronically with the IRS since 2011. That accounts for about two-thirds of nonprofits’ tax filings in recent years.
This type of text search has been available in subscription databases before, but not open to the general public as is this tool. With Congress and the IRS pushing for mandatory e-filing, it is only a matter of time before all nonprofit filings are available online in machine-readable format.
One of the implications for private foundations is that lists of grantee organizations will be easily searchable online. However, as many will attest, rarely do these lists tell the full story of a foundation’s grantmaking.
The good news? Foundations have the ability to control the narrative and tell their own story of impact by joining Foundation Center’s eReporting program. As part of the Get on the Map campaign, SECF is partnering with the United Philanthropy Forum to encourage funders to share their grants data using Foundation Center's eReporting standard. By committing to Get on the Map, you’ll join a growing group of more than 800 foundations across the country that are already sharing their data with Foundation Center. That includes more than 60 SECF member organizations, such as The Duke Endowment, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, and the Mary Black Foundation.
What are the benefits of sharing your data? You’ll receive an interactive map that visualizes your foundation’s grantmaking (see a sample here). Your foundation’s data will also be included in our regional giving map, available exclusively to SECF members.
By providing your data, you’re also benefitting the sector as a whole. You’ll help inform SECF’s research and provide a more complete picture of how Southern grantmakers are transforming people and communities across the region. Your foundation’s giving will be reflected in the Southern Trends Report, Foundation Maps, and other dynamic Foundation Center resources. Your data will inform other foundations’ grantmaking as your peers look for gaps in funding, seek out potential partners, and determine where and how to target their investments.
Best of all? Sharing your grants data is as easy as 1-2-3:
1) Register for an Updater account. (Already have an account? Log in here.)
2) Export a complete list of your most recent grants data in a spreadsheet using the eReporting template.
3) Once logged into Updater, submit your data in the “Upload Grants” section.
If you’re not yet sharing your grants data, we hope that you’ll consider joining your fellow SECF members and Get on the Map. Your data, through tools like the Southern Trends Report, can help provide a clearer picture of who’s funding what, where, and how.
Together, we can tell the complete story of Southern Philanthropy.
For more details on how your organization can Get on the Map, visit our website or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen Sherman is SECF’s research and data manager.