Mockingbird's Guide to Helpful Websites

We utilize the Internet so much on a day to day basis that we sometimes take its immensity and helpfulness for granted – that is, until our WiFi cuts out, and we rush to the nearest Starbucks to reconnect and normalize our lives again. The vastness of the World Wide Web can be overwhelming, and while it’s sometimes difficult to sift through the sheer amount of information you can glean from an hour’s worth of research, the web can also connect you to useful tips, helpful data, and even potential employees, mentors, or donors. We’ve compiled a list of valuable websites to help you navigate the Web’s plethora of resources.

Information: Charity Navigator provides an extensive listing of nonprofits; they are helpfully arranged both alphabetically and by cause. You can use this website to look into similar nonprofits and peek at their programs and financials. Examine successful nonprofits to get a deeper understanding of their achievements, and check your own data against the site’s accountability and transparency index. GuideStar provides in-depth analysis of nonprofits, including their budgets, financials, programs, and results. Again, you can use this site to compare your nonprofit to other similar organizations. You can use this free site to gain access to Form 990 data and other important IRS documentation, all of which can come in handy when preparing your organization’s taxes.

Fundraising via Grants: GrantStation seeks to connect nonprofits with potential funding sources. Through this website, you can search private grants, federal deadlines, state funding agencies, and even international grantmakers. Use this site to find the grants that are the best fit for your organization. GrantStation also provides online learning labs, helpful grant writing tips, and funder profiles. A paid membership is required to access most of the site’s information, but if GrantStation can help you discover new fundraising opportunities, the fees might just be worth it.

Crowdfunding: Kickstarter generally focuses on creative projects, though nonprofits can also use the site to garner donations from individuals. However, Kickstarter cannot be used directly for charities; any project on the site must create something tangible that can be shared with others. Fees are reasonable, but it’s an all-or- nothing proposal; if you don’t meet your fundraising goals, you get nothing, though in that case, the fees are waived. About 65% of projects are fully funded within their preapproved timeline. GoFundMe tends to take a more personal approach to fundraising; many of its projects are individuals seeking money for unexpected healthcare costs or other life events. Nonprofits are welcome to use GoFundMe; unlike Kickstarter, there is no clause stating that projects must provide something in exchange for funds. Fees are reasonable, and there is no all-or- nothing requirement. Indiegogo does not specialize in any one type of project, which can sometimes make it more difficult or daunting to navigate. The site has a diverse base of funders, though projects tend to raise less here than on Kickstarter or GoFundMe. When you create your entry, you can decide whether you’d like to go all-or- nothing with your funds. Either way, you’ll have to pay a fee. Kiva is a different kind of fundraising website; instead of donations, users provide microloans (a minimum of $25) to borrowers in need. These loans are then repaid within a designated time period. Kiva borrowers repay loans at a rate of 97.1%. While Kiva originated as a way to help entrepreneurs in foreign countries, it now serves the United States, as well. To apply as a borrower in the US, you must either create social impact or be financially excluded from other means of funding. Kiva does not charge interest on loans or take a fee.

Did we neglect to mention a useful website you love? Let us know your favorites in the comments below!

Jan SchwaidComment