Be Careful With FoundationSearch Guarantee
FoundationSearch has a database and other services that can be very helpful, especially to large nonprofits. Yet FoundationSearch reviews and the experience of our nonprofit PEERS with FoundationSearch show that all nonprofits must be careful to adhere to all terms and conditions of the FoundationSearch money back guarantee.
Several dozen small nonprofits have had their application for a refund rejected for a variety of reasons. Ours was almost rejected, though we are very happy they eventually refunded our fee.
As Executive Director of the nonprofit PEERS and manager of WantToKnow.info, I was excited to use the services of FoundationSearch to secure some grants after a careful review of their material and discussions with a helpful representative. We have a small budget ($70,000), but the FoundationSearch money back guarantee made it appear that there was very little risk. We applied to 113 foundations. Sadly, we received no grants, but did secure the required six rejection letters. Yet were were almost denied our refund for several reasons.
Based on our experience, should you decide to avail yourself of the useful services of FoundationSearch, it is important for you to know that even if you get only one $100 grant, that negates your possibility of a refund. And if you get no grants from the use of FoundationSearch services, but you get one grant from a foundation which is a long-standing supporter of your organization during the term of your money back guarantee, that will count against you and you will not be refunded your fee.
Make sure to note in your calendar the date six months after the date of your invoice to check if you have received any grants. If you fail to secure any grants in the first six months, you MUST apply for a refund before the end of your seventh month. That's a small, 30-day window in which you must take action in order to get your refund.
Note that the FoundationSearch contract we signed was ambiguous, stating in one place the refund application must be received in their office seven months from the date of the invoice, and in another seven months from the date of membership. Be careful also to schedule your "initial consultation" to take place within six weeks of the date of your membership. And you must have all six letters of refusal signed and dated before the end of the six months.
Read your contract carefully, take notes, and don't be overly optimistic that you will be successful in getting grants, as we were. If you are unlucky like us, yet careful to fulfill the points mentioned above and the stated contract requirements, FoundationSearch will likely refund your money. It has done so with several dozen nonprofits, including ours. Good luck with raising funds for your cause!