Get Out and Give Back: Catalogue for Philanthropy

by WL Author

Five reasons why small, local nonprofits need to apply.

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By Jane Hess Collins


KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now), a Catalogue for Philanthropy-approved nonprofit, provides recreational opportunities for children and young adults with developmental and physical disabilities at no cost to their families and caregivers. Photo courtesy of KEEN

KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now), a Catalogue for Philanthropy-approved nonprofit, provides recreational opportunities for children and young adults with developmental and physical disabilities at no cost to their families and caregivers. Photo courtesy of KEEN

It’s not exactly free money, but it’s about as close as it gets. Local nonprofits with a budget of under 3 million dollars (about 80 percent of all nonprofits, in other words) have until February 21 to apply to be part of the Catalogue for Philanthropy.

The Catalogue features nearly 350 Washington, DC area charities. About 70 of them are newly accepted each year into the print Catalogue, and the rest are either re-certified (about 50 charities) or remain on the Catalogue website until they must re-apply again in four years. Each charity is selected as part of the Catalogue for Philanthropy after a rigorous review by over 100 volunteers from corporations, institutions, nonprofits, foundations and individuals (disclaimer here: I am one of the reviewers). Once accepted, each nonprofit is featured on the Catalogue’s website, and a user-friendly navigation system allows potential donors to search and learn about them.

Best of all, donations are a click away, and the Catalogue nonprofits get a lot of clicks. Since the Catalogue’s launch in 2003, it has helped raise over $12.5 million for its included charities through online and direct donations.

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Just ask Zachary Shaeffer, director of development for Jubilee Jumpstart. This small nonprofit opened in July, 2009, to provide direct educational services to low-income young children in Washington, DC. Since its inclusion in the Catalogue last November they’ve already received over $2,500 in donations through the Catalogue’s website.

“The Catalogue is a wonderful resource for small and newly opened non-profit organizations like Jubilee JumpStart, which have a small staff devoted to marketing and fundraising, and do not yet have sophisticated marketing and donor outreach strategies,” Shaeffer said. “A listing in the Catalogue attracts donors who would not have heard of us otherwise, and allows us to expand our circle of friends and supporters beyond people who know our board members. Our listing in the Catalogue also adds important information we can include in grant proposals and all publications we send out…and the suggestions offered by the Catalogue staff have been very helpful as we seek to grow our outreach capacity, and build our brand.”

Stacy Erd, executive director of Beacon House, received an unexpected, unsolicited $5,000 contribution from a foundation whose accompanying note indicated they had learned about Beacon House in the Catalogue. Erd estimated that Catalogue-connected donations to Beacon House reached nearly $10,000 in December 2010.

Still not convinced? Here are five great reasons why a small, local nonprofit should apply to be part of the Catalogue for Philanthropy:

1. If selected to be part of the Catalogue, a nonprofit earns the Catalogue’s “seal of approval” that the nonprofit is one of the most highly-rated in the Washington, DC area for merit, distinction and impact. That distinction translates into more donations and volunteers, and a nonprofit will likely have access to a far broader audience and higher level of fundraising than most nonprofits can afford on their own.

2. Support for the Catalogue has an extraordinary multiplier effect. “The Catalogue is the most effective grassroots philanthropy promotion initiative in the region, by reaching out to individual donors and connecting them with organizations where their involvement will make a difference,” according to the Catalogue’s director of partnerships and business development Kathy Jankowski.

3. Giving through the Catalogue has not decreased in the last several years, according to executive director Barbara Harman, despite a decrease in charitable donations nationally.

4. Your nonprofit may be selected to be featured in the Catalogue’s print version, which is mailed to 20,000 high net-worth households and hundreds of family foundations throughout the Washington, DC area.

5. You and your nonprofit staff will have access to the wisdom, events, programs and social networking offered by the Catalogue.

There are many more reasons but it’s time to wrap this story up – you nonprofits have an application to complete.  Click here to apply.

Jane Hess Collins helps and encourages people to give back through her writing, speaking, coaching and workshops.

She also established game nights for at-risk families throughout the country.

You can contact her at



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