Spur Local Apply: FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Spur Local?
The purpose of Spur Local, formerly the Catalogue for Philanthropy, is to support critical local nonprofits and engage the community to work alongside them, leading to increased equity and justice in our region. Local nonprofits with budgets of $4 million or less are included in our network and gain access to awareness raising and capacity building tools. Each included nonprofit is featured in the print and digital catalogs in the first year of the four year partnership. Since 2003, Spur Local has raised over $55 million for its nonprofit partners and provided capacity building and collaboration opportunities to more than 20,000 nonprofit attendees.
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How did Spur Local get started?
Spur Local was founded by philanthropist Barbara Harman and the Harman family. Looking to find ways to give more locally and to more grassroots organization, Spur Local was created in 2003 as the Catalogue for Philanthropy. The goal was to lift up critical, local 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 Spur Local, you may not apply 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 202-939-3459 x5 to discuss further.

If you are a current Spur Local nonprofit partner who has grown beyond the $4 million budget threshold, you may apply through a separate application. If accepted, you will be featured on the website only. Otherwise, the partnership will be the same as any other Spur Local 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, Spur Local 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 202-939-3459 x5 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. Spur Local 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?
Spur Local 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 as part of the Spur Local network, you will likely have access to a far broader audience than you do currently. 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. Spur Local partners 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 seal of approval that Spur Local provides, have been just as important to them as appearing in the Catalog, a Spur Local publication, itself. Increasingly, family foundations turn to Spur Local to select nonprofits among whom they wish to circulate requests for proposals, and other foundations report to us that they use Spur Local 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 recent financial information. 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.
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Why aren't my old login credentials working?
We upgraded our system for applications in 2018. As a result, if you have not applied to Spur Local 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 Chiara at cfrechette@spurlocal.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 Tuesday, February 14th, 2023 at 5:00 PM. Applications go through a rigorous community-led review process, after which final decisions will be announced in mid-May.
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How are the featured organizations selected?
Community advocates with varied backgrounds review all applications. The current volunteer team includes over 170 individuals. They review and comment on applications, and their responses drive the final decisions. Pro bono accountants support the financial review as well. 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 balanced network.
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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 recently. 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 or schedule a virtual meeting. 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 Catalog, a Spur Local publication, will we be able to review and approve the final text for our description?
You will be involved in all steps of the process and have final approval over any tied to your organization. We are always eager to correct errors and update crucial information. Nonprofits will also be able to offer feedback when selecting an image for their place on our website.
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