What We Do

A Better Way to Give Where You Live

There are thousands of nonprofits in the Greater Washington region. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed when looking for nonprofits working on the issues that matter most to you and in the communities you care most about.

We at Spur Local, formerly the Catalogue for Philanthropy, have created a simpler way to connect with critical nonprofits in your neighborhood. On this website, you can search for nonprofits by issue area, location, communities served, and more. You can even get hyperlocal with your support by looking for nonprofits around you on this map.

Furthermore, giving to a nonprofit through Spur Local means that your donation goes directly to them without any administrative fees, which we do not charge.

How We Do it

All our nonprofit partners are highly trusted—not only by the Spur Local team, but more importantly by the 170+ residents who live or work in our region and volunteer to choose these nonprofits.

In January-February of each year, some 200 nonprofits with 501(c)3 status that are based in DC or nearby Maryland or Virginia counties and that operate on budgets below $4 million apply to join our network.

After assembling our team of volunteers, the review process in March-April is three-fold:

  • A program review ensures that nonprofit applications are assessed based on the need that each organization exists to meet, the quality of the programs it creates to meet those needs, its leadership and staffing, and the evidence of the organization’s impact. Most applications receive 5-8 reviews, with some receiving more than that.
  • A financial review ensures that a nonprofit finalist will be financially viable during their inclusion in the Spur Local network. This review—conducted by Spur Local staff alongside another team of expert financial reviewers—assesses financial health with the understanding that nonprofits apply to join our network in different financial positions. Among other things, our team seeks to understand an organization’s cash position and its ability to pay its bills and employees, its history of surpluses and deficits, its mix of revenue and expenses and how it invests resources, and its fiscal transparency.
  • Finally, all organizations are site visited if they are a new applicant or an applicant that has not been site visited in three years. These site visits are conducted by both volunteer reviewers and Spur Local staff, with any negative site visits requiring an additional phone call by our team.

In May, guided by the feedback of our volunteer team, Spur Local staff creates the final, balanced list of great nonprofits in all categories, from the arts to human services to the environment to education. These nonprofits then enter a four-year partnership with us that includes access to our capacity building resources, a feature in The Catalog—a Spur Local publication—and more.

Throughout this whole process, Spur Local remains 100% free. We do not charge nonprofits to apply or be featured.

At no cost, we also provide nonprofit staff with peer cohorts, 80+ live trainings annually, and a digital library of 200+ webinars and tools across a wide range of topics—development and stewardship, marketing and communications, volunteer management, and more—that are thoughtfully tailored to the needs of community-based nonprofits. Our capacity building resources allow nonprofit partners to continue building on their strengths while forming partnerships with each other.