Q: What is the purpose of the Catalogue?
A: The purpose of the Catalogue is to connect caring citizens with worthy community causes. Individual nonprofits -- 68 to 70 each year, with budgets of $3 million or less -- are featured in the print Catalogue in order to educate and inspire donors, and help to create a culture of giving in the metropolitan Washington region. Each selected nonprofit is also featured on the CFP website for an additional three years.
Q: Who are the sponsors and why are they supporting the project?
A: Current sponsors of the Catalogue include, among others, the Harman Family Foundation, Meyer Foundation, J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, Philip L. Graham Fund, Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Booz Allen Hamilton, CGI, and Raffa, and a group of family foundations and individuals. They support the Catalogue as a service to the donor community and because they believe in helping smaller nonprofits.
Q: When is the deadline to submit proposals and when will we hear the results of our application?
A: Online applications are generally due in mid February unless unusual circumstances (bad weather!) pertain. Check the RFP: An Explanation and the Catalogue's home page for specific dates.
Q: How are the featured organizations selected?
A: Seasoned grant-makers and other professionals in the field review all proposals. The current committee includes over 100 individuals who read across a wide range of subjects. They rank and comment on proposals, and the combination of their ranking and their detailed responses fuels the final decisions. The accounting and auditing firm Raffa reviews all financial materials. Diversity across types of programs, fields of interest (Nature, Culture, Human Services, Education and their respective subfields), location, and constituency are also central to our aim of creating a broadly attractive and engaging publication and website.
Q: To what address and in what form should we submit our application?
A: Proposals (including narrative and financial sections) are submitted online at our website HERE.
Q: Our budget is more than $3 million. Can we still apply?
A: Usually not. The fiscal limitation exists because one of our purposes is to showcase smaller charities that often don't have the staff or budget effectively to reach the public on their own. Please note: we do not count in-kind contributions towards the $3 million budget cut off. If your organization is borderline, or if, for some reason, you are unsure about your eligibility, call us at 202-955-6538 to discuss your situation. An exception to this rule is made for organizations previously featured in the Catalogue that are now applying to be re-featured. If accepted, these "growth nonprofits" will be featured on the web with a growth icon, indicating that they have a budget above $3 million.
Q: We are an independent "project" of a larger organization with a budget over $3 million (ie, an after-school arts program at a large human services organization). May we apply?
A: Usually not. Our goal is to feature smaller organizations that lack the resources and visibility of larger ones. The exceptions to this rule are 1) the independent nonprofit whose fiscal agent carries the 501(c)(3) designation because it performs financial and administrative functions for a variety of unrelated nonprofits. These otherwise independent nonprofits may be eligible and should explain their situation. 2) the locally headquartered chapter of a national organization -- as long as it can document its own income and expenses, and has enough independent status to fulfill our requirements of participation. See eligibility requirements for details.
Q: We are a national organization with a DC address. May we apply?
A: We focus on organizations that serve the local population (or, as noted below, are international in focus). If you are national AND have very significant local programs, then you may be eligible to apply.
Q: May our organization apply if we are located in Greater Washington but provide services internationally?
A: Yes. International organizations headquartered in Greater Washington who by definition serve populations around the world ARE eligible.
Q: May our organization apply if we are headquartered outside of the geographical area you describe but we provide services within it?
A: Unfortunately not.
Q: We are an independent fundraising arm of a larger organization. We have our own 501(c)(3). Are we eligible?
A: Generally, no. The Catalogue focuses on smaller organizations that lack resources for significant fundraising staff. The only exceptions to this would be organizations that have a direct relationship to the grants that they make so that they are not only raising funds but also executing programs.
Q: If we are selected for inclusion in the Catalogue, will we be able to review and approve the final text and photographs for our presentation?
A: You will be invited to review the text we create for you. We are always eager to correct errors and update crucial information. Decisions about photography and artwork in the print Catalogue are ours, but we often invite active participation. Nonprofits always have a hand in selecting an image for their place on our website.
Q: Are there other benefits we should consider in weighing our decision about whether to apply?
A: If you are featured in the Catalogue, you will likely have access to a far broader audience and higher level of fundraising than most nonprofits can afford on their own. If you then receive inquiries or donations, you may gain prime prospects for future support; your success in cultivating those prospects will of course be up to you. It is also worth noting that "donor appeal" is a very subjective matter, and the Catalogue cannot predict who will be successful with donors and who will not. Catalogue charities do have the opportunity to announce that they have been selected from a competitive field, and to use our growing collection of online tools to publicize the honor. Some nonprofits report to us that access to these tools, and the stamp of approval that the Catalogue provides, have been just as important to them as appearing in the print Catalogue itself. Increasingly, family foundations turn to the Catalogue to select charities among whom they wish to circulate requests for proposals, and other foundations report to us that they use the Catalogue to screen applicants. So there are many interesting uses beyond direct fundraising -- even some you may never know about but that are still relevant. In addition, we periodically sponsor or co-sponsor programs to which Catalogue nonprofits have access.
Q: How much money have you helped to raise since you published your first Catalogue in 2003?
A: Over $19 million.