Apply to the Spur Local network
Application Guidelines & Instructions
Being part of our network means you’ll be recognized as a critical, high-impact, community-based nonprofit; something that means so much to supporters, both existing and new. While we do not guarantee a specific financial benefit, our track record shows that when nonprofits engage in a committed partnership with us, they receive both financial and other returns. (Spur Local has helped raise over $55 million since 2003.)
Benefits of a Spur Local Partnership
What we'll do:
- Collaborate with you on a powerful story about your work and your impact, to use in our annual print catalog, and in your marketing, fundraising and other materials;
- Promote your story through our direct mail efforts, media partnerships (e.g., City Paper), our Giving Tuesday campaign, a personalized webpage on our website, features in our blog, social media promotion, and more;
- Give you access to our digital resource library, with access to 200+ tools, templates, webinars, and more;
- Invite you to professional development workshops, webinars, and collaboration events. These trainings, which are free to our partners, include our orientation workshop for new nonprofits, as well as workshops and collaborative sessions on development, communications, program evaluation, volunteer management, and board development;
- Continue this partnership for four years.
There is no financial obligation of any kind associated with applying to or being part of the Spur Local network. Leading institutions and generous individuals in the Washington region support Spur Local as a service to the community.
What you'll do:
- Work with Spur Local staff to create your catalog feature;
- Meet the rest of the Spur Local network and learn how to make the most of your partnership by attending our orientation workshop and our annual event, Community Changemakers;
- Be available to participate in media opportunities and donor education events when appropriate;
- Help us track our impact, by reporting Spur Local-inspired donations made to you throughout your partnership;
- Bring your Spur Local webpage to life by uploading information about your events, recent press hits, volunteer opportunities, and impact throughout the year;
- Spread the word by using Spur Local's co-branded materials, especially the seal, on your homepage, stationery, newsletters, and email signatures.
In order to apply for the 2024 Spur Local class, organizations must:
- Be a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization
- Have a cash operating budget between $100,000 and $4 million (current partners that have grown beyond our $4 million limit may reapply but, if successful, will be featured on the web only)
- Serve the people and communities of the greater Washington region (District of Columbia, Montgomery County, Prince George's County, Charles County, Frederick County; Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, City of Alexandria, City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church) & and have headquarters or main offices locally
- NOT have been featured in the 2021, 2022, or 2023 print catalog
- Agree to adhere to our Non-Discrimination Policy which requires all of our nonprofit partners to affirm their commitment to core values of non-discrimination consistent with ours.
For more information on the eligibility of local chapters of national organizations, professional associations, membership organizations, etc., please see our FAQ.
Review Process & Timeline
The application opens on December 11th, 2023 and closes at 5:00 pm on February 13th, 2024. Each year, more than 200 nonprofit organizations apply to Spur Local, with approximately 75 being selected. Once applications are processed, over 150 community advocates from foundations, corporate giving programs, peer nonprofits, and the philanthropic advisory community are matched with applicants in the reviewers’ fields of interest. Our review process (February–April) consists of three parts:
- Program Review (February–March 2024): Reviewers score applications based on their assessment of the need 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 to 8 reviews, some more than that.
- Round 1 Notification (late March 2024): In late March, we will send an update regarding the status of your application. Organizations that do not advance to the final selection rounds will have an opportunity to request feedback. All other organizations will undergo further programmatic and financial review before selection decisions are finalized.
- Financial Review (April 2024): A team of financial reviewers assesses the financial soundness of potential finalists. Among other things, the team looks for reasonable year-to-year projections of expenses and revenue, appropriate ratios of administrative to program costs (though there is no absolute cut-off), and fiscal transparency.
- Site Visits (April 2024): All reviewers are asked if they have site visited an applicant organization recently. Any finalist that has not been visited by our review team will be visited by a representative from Spur Local.
- Final Selection (May 2024): In May, organizations that have been selected to join the 2024 class will be contacted and asked to sign our Requirements of Participation (see sample here). Organizations that are not selected will have an opportunity to request feedback. The 2024 nonprofit class will be publicly announced in May.
Our goal is to create a balanced list of great nonprofits in all fields: we don’t want all of our nonprofits to serve one category – for example all arts organizations or all programs that serve the elderly. Final decisions are made by a selection committee and are strongly guided by the rankings and comments of our volunteer community advocates who review applications.
After the list is announced, we will work with selected organizations to create their catalog features, wish lists, photos and more from May to July. Our print catalog is released by November 1, just in advance of the giving season.
Questions: Before you email or call, please read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). If you don't find the answers you are looking for, call us at 202-838-3015 x5, or email us at email@example.com.