Get Other Nonprofits' Advice on Fiscal Agents (and More)

Get Other Nonprofits' Advice on Fiscal Agents (and More)

Capaciteria service lets nonprofits rate and review various online resources

By: TechSoup Staff

March 22, 2007

Budding social benefit organizations often turn to fiscal sponsors or agents to help get a leg up on grants and donations to fund special projects. But finding good sponsors and agents is all too often a word-of-mouth, who-do-you-know process. A new open directory from Capaciteria seeks to alleviate this problem by cataloging available sponsors and agents and allowing nonprofits to rate them.

The Capaciteria Web site is a collection of online resources that cover a diverse array of topics, from finding useful legal advice to hiring a seasoned grantwriter. However, Capaciteria adds a community element by allowing its members to rate how useful they think a certain link, service, or product is, potentially saving other nonprofits the time (or money) of pursuing a resource that won't help them accomplish their goals. Capaciteria members can also suggest links that they believe will benefit the site's community.

Capaciteria organizes resources into 10 high-level "super categories" that include Information and Communications Technologies; Human Resources and Personnel; and Fundraising, Grants Management, and Philanthropy. Each super category is then further broken down into a number of more specific categories and subcategories, which can help simplify the process of finding what you're looking for.

In the Fiscal Sponsorship/Fiscal Agent Resources section, you can browse through fiscal sponsor subcategories according to your organization's cause. For example, if you run an after-school program for at-risk teenagers, you'd click the Youth Project Fiscal Sponsors subcategory to find links to available fiscal sponsors.

As another example, let's say your organization needs to research upgrading its accounting software package. If you enter the Accounting and Financial Management super category, you'll find a category called Accounting and Financial Software. Though this category contains no subcategories, it does contain a list of diverse, yet relevant links to sites that review accounting software, sites that cover accounting software news, and vendors that manufacture accounting software.

No matter which subcategory you're browsing, each link will feature a brief description of the resource, which was either written by Capaciteria's Web master or the member who submitted the link. Next to the link's title, you'll see from one to five orange stars, which indicate the average ranking it has been given by Capaciteria's members (one being the lowest ranking and five being the highest). If you see grey rather than orange stars, it means that either the item has not been ranked by the community or has not had the minimum number of votes necessary for its ranking to appear. For more information on how Capaciteria's ranking system works, visit the site's FAQ.

If you want further advice on a link's usefulness beyond its numerical ranking, look beneath its description to see whether any members have written a review. Also, Capaciteria's site owners indicate links that they particularly like with an Editor's Pick icon, which resembles a gold crown.

Capaciteria offers additional community features such as discussion forums and the ability to add other members as friends and send them private messages. Note that while anonymous users can browse Capaciteria's directory of links, you'll need to become a member if you want to use many of the aforementioned features; rate and review resources; or add new listings. Registration to the site is free and requires only a username, password, first name, and valid email address.

Faith (for Content):