How Reading Blogs Can Help You to Better Understand Foundations

Though there are plenty of ways to squander your precious time online, I'm standing up for blogs.

Reading blogs is not a waste of time.

Reading blogs can make you a better fundraiser -- and specifically, can help you to better understand the foundations from which you are seeking grants.

According to the Council on Foundations, "Grantmakers often create blogs to share perspective on issue areas, the grantmaking process, or to promote their grantees’ work.

Delete the word "often," and I agree.

I'd guess that less than 1 percent of all U.S. foundations blog. (If there's solid research out there about how and at what rate foundations are blogging, please send it my way and I'll post the information.)

Why don't more foundations blog? I think it can be boiled down to three T's. Blogging requires time, tech-savvy and at least some degree of transparency. Foundations, especially those that don't have professional staff, tend to be short on all three of these T's.

But let's praise the foundations that do have blogs!

A foundation's blog can be a grantseeker's best friend. Blogs reveal great information about the foundations' giving interests and motivations.

Case in point: the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation's Dodge Blog. I live in New Jersey, and The Dodge Foundation is an important leader in my state's philanthropy. I love this blog because it helps me keep up with the Foundation's evolving interests, and introduces me to the work and best ideas of nonprofits statewide.

Timesaver's Tip: Pull out your list of grantmaking prospects -- the foundations that you'd like to submit proposals to over the upcoming year. For each, do a quick scan of their website and a google search to determine if the foundation has a blog. When you find a match, add the blog to your RSS reader. That way, you'll always know when a new post is added.