The Catalogue For Philanthropy Apply: FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Catalogue?
The purpose of the Catalogue is to connect caring citizens with worthy community causes. Individual nonprofits -- approximately 75 each year -- with budgets of $4 million or less -- are featured in the print Catalogue and on the website 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 Catalogue website for an additional three years. Since 2003, the Catalogue has raised over $40 million for its nonprofit partners.
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How did the Catalogue get started?
The Catalogue was founded in 2003 by philanthropist Barbara Harman. Looking to find ways to give more locally and to more grassroots organization, Barbara found the Catalogue for Philanthropy in 2003. The goal was to lift up the best small nonprofits to the community to drive support for, and awareness of, their work.
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Our budget is more than $4 million. May we apply?
If you are not currently a partner of the Catalogue, you may not apply to the Catalogue if your annual cash budget exceeds $4 million. This allows us to focus on smaller, grassroots nonprofits that do not have the staff or budget to reach out to the public effectively. If you have questions about this budget limitation or if it applies to you, please call us at 202-248-5034 to discuss further.

If you are a current Catalogue nonprofit partner who has grown beyond the $4 million budget threshold, you may apply through a separate application. If accepted, you will be featured online but not in the print Catalogue. Otherwise, the partnership will be the same as any other Catalogue partner.
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We are an independent "project" of a larger organization with a budget over $4 million (e.g., an after-school arts program at a large human services organization). We don't have a 501(c)(3) designation. May we apply?
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 a) has its local headquarters inside our geographic footprint; b) fundraises for itself; c) has its own, distinct revenue and expenses budget; d) is allowed to earmark donations for its chapter; e) is permitted independence in handling finances and marketing to potential donors; and f) has a local board of directors or advisors.
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We are a national organization with a DC address. May we apply?
We focus on organizations that serve the local population. If you are national, headquartered locally, AND have very significant local programs, then you may be eligible to apply. Over 50% of those you serve should be in the DMV area.
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May our organization apply if we are located in Greater Washington but provide services internationally?
No, the Catalogue only includes organizations providing the majority of their services locally. If you are headquartered locally but provide a majority of your services overseas, you will unfortunately not be eligible to apply.
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May our organization apply if we are headquartered outside of the geographical area you describe but we provide services within it?
No: you must have an address within our geographic area in order to be eligible. If you are unsure about your eligibility, call us at 202-248-5034 to discuss your situation.
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We are an independent fundraising arm of a larger organization. We have our own 501(c)(3). Are we eligible?
If you are strictly a fundraising arm, then no. The Catalogue focuses on smaller organizations that lack resources for significant fundraising staff. Exceptions to this, however, would be nonprofits that fundraise but are also involved directly in programming.
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Are there other benefits we should consider in weighing our decision about whether to apply?
The Catalogue has been quite successful in raising the visibility of its network of charities, visibility and recognition on which you can build. If you are featured in the Catalogue, you will likely have access to a far broader audience 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 be up to you -- though we offer many (free) workshops of donor cultivation and stewardship that you can attend. Catalogue charities also have the opportunity to announce that they have been selected from a competitive field, and to use our growing collection of in-person workshops and online tools. 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.
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To what address and in what form should we submit our application?
Proposals (including narrative and financial sections) are submitted online at our website. You can access the online form by clicking here.
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What information should we gather before we start?
You will want a copy of any previous grant applications for reference, as well as financial information from your past three fiscal years. More detailed information is available in our Application Instructions.
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We donít have an audit. What should we submit instead?
Financial statements prepared by an external party are preferred. These can take the form of a review or compilation. If you do not have externally prepared statements, you may submit internal financial statements. Please be sure to include all requested schedules.
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Why aren't my old login credentials working?
We are using a new, upgraded system for applications this year. As a result, if you have not applied to the Catalogue since 2018, you will need to create a new account. For questions or to request a copy of a previous year's application, please email Elyse at enelson@cfp-dc.org.
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When is the deadline to submit proposals and when will we hear the results of our application?
Online applications are due no later than Wednesday, February 12th, 2020 at 5:00 PM. Applicants are notified of the results of the first round of selection by early April and final decisions will be announced in mid-May.
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How are the featured organizations selected?
Seasoned grant-makers and other professionals in the field review all proposals. The current committee includes over 150 individuals who read across a wide range of subjects. They rank and comment on proposals, and their rankings and detailed responses fuel the final decisions. Pro bono accountants review 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.
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I have not been contacted about a site visit. Does that mean my application will not be approved?
You will only be contacted to schedule a site visit if your application advances to the final selection round AND no one on our review team has visited you within the last three years. If you have been notified that your application is still under review but you are not contacted about a site visit, do not worry. Your application is still receiving equal consideration alongside organizations that have visits scheduled.
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We do not have a physical location for a reviewer to visit. How will this affect the review process?
If we need to complete a site visit with you but you do not have a physical location, we will reach out to schedule a meeting with your top staff at a mutually convenient location, such as a coffee shop. During the meeting, the site visitor will ask any questions about your organization and programming that may have come up during the review.
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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?
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 do invite active participation. Nonprofits always have a hand in selecting an image for their place on our website.
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