This module will equip you to make better informed decisions on who to approach how. We will look at how and why Foundations are formed and then guide you on setting appropriate research aims, and train you to use a wide variety of research tools and efficiently record the most important information.
We will concentrate on Foundations and consider them in a global context. The processes of setting research aims and the core principles of a research toolkit are relevant to all types of high value donors (governments, companies and wealthy individuals). We are re-running this Module in November 2020.
1.1 Understanding Grantmakers
You’ll have your eyes opened as to how and why Foundations are created.
- Understanding how and why Foundations are created.
- Understanding the evolution of a Foundation.
- Ability to identify the decision makers and their processes (including how these change over time).
We’ll look at the motives for setting up Foundations and how these can influence the decision making for generations. We’ll see how Foundations evolve over time with different power balances, decision makers and processes for finding partners. Above all, you will learn how you can never make assumptions, or stop researching – as there is always change around the corner.
This session will be run as an interactive play with the participants writing the script and playing the main characters. You won’t forget this experience; it will open your eyes.
1.2 Understanding the Audited Accounts of a UK Foundation
Learn how to extract the essential information from a free and honest source of detail on every Foundation in the UK.
- Ability to translate the Statement of Financial Activities and the Balance Sheet into meaningful data.
- Ability to interpret the Trustees’ reports and the notes to the accounts.
Often funders’ websites tell you what they would like you to know, not necessarily the truth. Yet the audited accounts are full of plain honesty. Being able to read these accounts will help you to make accurate decisions on whether to approach a Foundation and make estimates of your real chances of success.
We will gently take you through the key terms so that you can make full use of these incredibly valuable and free resources.
Presenters: Bill Bruty and Khadija Ga’al
Date and Time: 11.00am -12.30pm, Wednesday 18 November 2020
1.3 Understanding the 990 Tax Return of a US Foundation
Every US Foundation has to file a 990 tax return, which can be freely accessed online. This session will explain the mechanics of these documents.
- Understanding of where they make their money and how much they are giving away.
- Understanding of how staff lists reveal their priorities.
- Ability to read their grant lists to reveal their real policies.
Several US Foundations are among the top 20 funders in the UK and they dominate the global funding landscape. Their accounts are revealing and freely available. This session will guide you carefully through these complex documents. As examples, we’ll use well-known funders, such as the Obama and Ford Foundations, as well as lesser-known ones – so you will gain an insight into the full breadth of US Foundations.
Presenters: Bill Bruty and Khadija Ga’al
Date and Time: 3.30-5.00pm, Wednesday 18th November 2020
1.4 Setting Research Aims
Decide what you need to know and how it will help you raise more money.
- Understanding the 12 key research questions.
- Ability to convert research into action.
- Ability to devise a record keeping system for funder research.
We’ll share a 12-question research template that will equip you to build up a complete picture of your funders and prospects. You’ll be able to gather information on their financial circumstances, the patterns in their philanthropy; their grant selection processes and the characters of the decision makers.
You’ll come away with a comprehensive template that you can use for all of your funders.
1.5 Mastering the Research Tools
Building your core research toolkit with minimal outlay.
- Familiarity with at least three essential research sources.
- Understanding of what can be achieved by researching funders.
- Ability to undertake a basic analysis of the audited accounts of a UK trust.
We’ll go on a hunt for the different types of trust – ‘tiggers’ and ‘zombies’ – and explore an extensive range of research sources. We’ll conclude with recommendations for a core toolkit of research sources which will become part of your standard grantseeking practice.