Resources and Services for Nonprofits at the Free Library

By Caitlin S. RSS Tue, December 20, 2022

The Free Library offers many unique resources and services, from musical instruments and cake pans to headshots and cooking classes. But did you know that the Free Library also offers free resources and services for nonprofit organizations? 

The Regional Foundation Center (RFC) is a nonprofit resource center located within the Business Resource and Innovation Center (BRIC) at the Parkway Central Library. We have connected nonprofits to crucial resources for almost 50 years. Our librarians curate resources, develop programming, and help with research, and we are invaluable in helping you find the information and data you need for responsible nonprofit management and successful fundraising.

Plus, the RFC is part of Candid’s Funding Information Network (FIN), a network of libraries and nonprofit resource centers across the globe where nonprofits can access free information and assistance. As a FIN partner, RFC staff has access to professional development opportunities, including product and training certification courses, ensuring you are getting high-quality, consistent service. 

So, how can the RFC help you?

Access to Databases 

When most people have a question or need to find information they start with Google; researching nonprofit funding opportunities is no different. But Google will only get you so far in your funding research! Did you know that only about 10% of foundations have websites? That’s where Foundation Directory comes in to help. This powerful tool helps you find the funders most likely to support your organization. Search by subject, population, and geographic focus and get a list of grantmakers that meets your search criteria. From there you can view a grantmaker’s profile and learn about their giving priorities, application process, and contact information. 

Foundation Directory also lets you view lists of past grants funders awarded so you can see exactly the types of organizations and projects they supported in the past. If a funder previously supported a similar organization to yours, there is a good chance they will want to support your organization.

Foundation Directory isn’t the only research database the RFC offers. We also provide remote and/or on-site access to the following nonprofit research tools:

  • Candid Nonprofit Compensation Report 2022: the most comprehensive compensation report available with 140,947 observations from 87,529 nonprofits. Available on site at the RFC.
  • Chronicle of Philanthropy: a news source, in print and online, for charity leaders, fundraisers, grantmakers, and other people involved in the philanthropic enterprise. Available remotely with your Free Library card.
  • DonorSearch: provides accurate and actionable information that identifies prospective major gift donors, annual fund donors, and planned gift donors based on proven philanthropy and wealth analytics. Available on site at the RFC.
  • GuideStar: complete, up-to-date nonprofit data; claim your organization’s profile and tell your nonprofit’s story. Unrestricted, free web resource.
  • SimplyAnalytics: A mapping and data visualization application that makes it easy to create interactive maps and reports using powerful demographic, business, and marketing data. Available remotely with your Free Library card.

Learn more and access remote databases.

Individualized Assistance with Research

If you read through our list of research tools and databases and are feeling overwhelmed, have no fear, a librarian is here to help! The RFC offers virtual and in-person research appointments so you can get the most out of our databases. Each appointment is tailored to the research needs of you and your organization. We can help you: develop a research strategy for Foundation Directory, screen donors using DonorSearch, update your organization’s GuideStar profile, and delve into demographics using SimplyAnalytics - to name a few things! Interested in booking a research appointment? Request an appointment online.

Professional Development and Networking Opportunities

Our workshops are a great way to build your knowledge while connecting with peers in the nonprofit sector. Workshops are offered both virtually and in-person. Some workshops have been recorded and can be accessed through our video library. We offer a Grant Writing series three times a year (January, May, and August) and a Diversify Your Funding series two times a year (March and November). The rest of the schedule is filled with both librarian-led and expert-led workshops on topics ranging from board development to creating an annual appeal to consultations with experts. Check out our events calendar for upcoming events. 

Still not convinced the RFC can help your nonprofit? Don’t take our word for it! Here is what some of our users are saying about our services:

“The RFC staff are knowledgeable, helpful and responsive. We are fortunate to have this resource.”

“Without the RFC I’d be on my own acquiring skills, doing good research, and performing my job less effectively.”

“It's such a wonderful thing to be in an area that has such a robust array of services available in support of nonprofits. I have found the staff at RFC unfailingly friendly, responsive, and very helpful at different junctures in my work.”

“Your Resource Center staff is warm, welcoming and helpful. The space is accessible and attractive. The resources you offer would be prohibitively expensive for our small organization, so we really appreciate the access you provide. You have helped us to survive and grow during a challenging few years dealing with the pandemic. Thank you.”

“Having a wealth of resources at RFC takes the burden off of our organization to pay for each resource individually. The programs they provide also offer convening of like-minded individuals and organizations that foster personal growth and development of relationships.”

“I have recommended RFC to all my new teammates. We have had a lot of new staff added to our team in 2022, and RFC training helps to get them up to speed on foundation research and prospecting databases.”

We hope you are now inspired to connect with the RFC and take advantage of the FREE resources available to nonprofit organizations. Have questions or want more information? Check out our website, sign up for our mailing list, follow us on Twitter, or send us an email!

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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i am intersted in going back to school to learn how to fix computers. could you please have some resources for that.
cecelie Brown - philadelphia pa
Tuesday, May 2, 2023

We are a young non-profit (3.5 years) and we are looking to schedule a series of strategic planning sessions with existing board, advisory board, contractors, and volunteers. Are there any organizations that provide free or low cost facilitation services? I have used VEC in the past, but I was the only person that was available from the organization to take advantage of the services. Thank you in advance.
NICOLE MCGRUDER - Philadelphia, PA
Wednesday, June 5, 2024