I just finished Tony Hsieh’s highly-recommended book Delivering Happiness, and it’s gotten me thinking about resources for fundraisers/researchers that provide a WOW factor: sources that deliver beyond expectations.
For me, that would be a metasite, or web page that has lots of links and resources of help to users. Here are my top picks in three categories. What are your favorites?
Best Overall Collaborative Metasite
First up I recommend SupportingAdvancement, a Mall of America-sized site with resources for every department in a fundraising office. The site has free templates, report formats, white papers, and training resources useful to everyone, as well as links to research-specific sites and much more. It’s updated daily and thrives on the generosity of its contributors of content and site sponsors. I could go on, but really, you have to see it to believe it.
Best Metasite Created as a Division-Wide Resource (update: link sadly no longer valid because they liked it so much they turned it into an internal-only resource)(!)
This next site is a resource created by the research team at The University of California San Diego for the entire development department. It’s called the Development Office Toolkit and they created it using Google Sites (free!) and linked it to the university’s servers. The site is chock-a-block with information for the whole development office: news of upcoming training classes, pdfs of internal (yet public) reports, how-tos, templates, university event calendars and lots more.
For prospect research specifically, there are pages on ethics and confidentiality policies, information about prospect management and links to lots of research resources, including some niche sources like BloodHorse for finding thoroughbred horse owners.
This is a fantastic example of an internal resource that isn’t just a research department resource, but one created with the needs of the entire division in mind. And since they used Google Sites to make the resource, you can too! It’s a great example for others to follow. Bravo!
Best Metasite For Research-Specific Information
And last but definitely not least, Northwestern University has kept up a comprehensive Research Bookmarks list of several hundred links since the early 1990s, and it is consistently fantastic. Updated monthly from recommendations within the NU research department and from the prospect research community at large, the list is particularly strong with links to international resources including hard-to-find offshore real estate listings. It’s been on my bookmarks list for years and it should be on yours, too, if it isn’t already.
If you have other metasites that you’d like to add to this list, comment below! Let’s crowd-source this!