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9 of Candid’s best kept secrets, revealed!

Young woman wearing headphones and typing on a laptop computer. Yellow squiggly lines indicate information flowing from the computer.

Working for Candid gave me a unique bird’s-eye view of the philanthropy and nonprofit sectors. I loved being able to find commonalities and derive themes across geographic borders, issue areas, and roles. Perhaps the most fun was when I could connect someone to a resource, person, or idea that unlocked new thinking or possibility. Usually, the connection wouldn’t be novel, just something useful hiding in plain sight. With that in mind, it’s time to shout 9 of Candid’s best kept secrets from the rooftops; take them and run with them!

  1. There’s an awesome e-book library that’s accessible to all. It’s stocked with important reads (both text and audio) that you don’t want to miss. Even if you only like hard copy books, you should use the books in this collection as the basis for your reading list. And, can’t argue with the price. (It’s free.)
  2. You can discover facts on important, timely issues. The linked collection of knowledge on race and policing, for example, has helped me learn about this intersection without media bias. The papers in the collection are all outputs by social sector organizations, and they have collectively informed conversations I engage in. And a fun tidbit: in our branding brainstorms from when Foundation Center and GuideStar were joining forces, a tagline option I particularly liked was “facts for a change.” Through IssueLab and other product offerings, Candid prioritizes sharing information in a straightforward, honest manner, which feels to me to be particularly valuable when leveraging information to create change.
  3. It’s easier than you thought to know who’s who. One of my favorite features of Foundation Directory Online (the prospect research tool that I’ll use often in my new role) is the integration with LinkedIn, allowing people to more easily find connections with leaders at foundations. Not only do I love this because it promotes transparency, but it also helps fundraisers think more intentionally and creatively about centering human relationships in their process. Nearly every grant I’ve won has been because an authentic relationship was in place first, so this best kept secret helps people get on the right track.
  4. Organizations are in fact hiring right now, and you can get in on it. Philanthropy News Digest has a terrific job list, and you can get daily emails. I’ve gotten them for years so I could share opportunities with people in my network. It’s also how I first heard about my new gig! One #protip: don’t let location be a barrier right now. Workplaces are increasingly flexing on their appetite for remote positions, so it never hurts to know what’s out there and apply for a position that is otherwise a good fit.
  5. You could cancel grant applications if you wanted to. Funders, this one is for you. Nonprofit profiles by GuideStar have a lot of really good information in them. If you care about relieving burden on nonprofits and advancing equity, check out profiles (especially those with a seal of transparency) and cut the customized application form. Then, call five peer funders and ask them to do it too. Trust me, you will not be putting development staff out of their jobs, but you’ll allow organizations and their staff to focus their time in new ways.
  6. Data nerds can nerd out. Not only does Candid share its data through its products and insights, but it readily invites you into its taxonomy. The taxonomy is expansive and nuanced, and is available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license. Thoughtful taxonomies create shared language and allow for information to be stored and shared in smart ways.
  7. Foundations are sharing more than you think. I’m biased, but GrantCraft is of great value to anyone who wants to hear reflections from funders. Through blog posts, guides, and other resources, this is a hub for understanding approaches to funding and accessing commentary on lessons learned. For those doing prospect research, this might be especially valuable to add context to how you might approach and connect with foundations. I loved leading work on this platform and considered my participatory grantmaking work a capstone of sorts. (It had my favorite P’s—incredible Partners, real talk about Power, and Practical wisdom paired with some Philosophy.) And, the capacity building guide would offer some juicy and useful bedtime reading to all.
  8. You can go back to school without high tuition fees. Candid Learning classes are excellent and cover a range of topics core to nonprofiteers. Some courses are deep-dive, multi-week offerings, and others are a quick hour. They offer both live and recorded formats, and everything right now is online due to the pandemic. I particularly appreciate the free programming specifically related to COVID-19 because many organizations are facing greater need and are working to pivot programs and fundraising quickly—these programs offer relevant, immediately actionable knowledge.
  9. Technology and partnerships are both important ways to listen. As Candid has started to do more real time information processing and sharing, listening well has become extra-important. In Candid’s coronavirus efforts, we leveraged both our in-house technology—which digests and codes news and grant information—and conversations with other organizations that were eager to contribute to and learn from the information being shared. The linked post is similarly possible only because of quick use of technology combined with longstanding learning from leaders in racial equity work. #Protip: Even if you don’t have a big technology team, you can use tools like social media to listen online, and schedule conversations regularly to learn offline. (Bonus if you intentionally seek out perspectives that differ from your own).

That’s it for the list, but one bonus secret is that Candid’s online librarian service is the bees knees. So many people know this to be true that I couldn’t include it as a “best kept” secret!

Please don’t let my juicy secret-telling go to waste; put your new knowledge to good use and whisper about it all to your friends, too.

Reprinted from Jeneralist.


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