Room40 The Map - User Guide and FAQs

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FAQ for The Map of Opportunity: A Practical Guide to Philanthropy in the U.S.


What is The Map of Opportunity?

The Map of Opportunity is a data-driven approach to helping nonprofits set better revenue targets and raise more money. It is a 180-page report presenting original data and analysis on the distribution of Philanthropy across the U.S. It includes “Market Overviews” with detailed information on the top 50 philanthropic markets, from NY, NY to Providence, RI. The data is paired with “How-to” guides demonstrating how to use the data to create a common understanding of philanthropy in your market(s), assess your long term philanthropic potential, and set revenue targets for the coming year.


What problem does it solve? What questions does it answer?

Raising money – from corporations, foundations and individuals – is critical to most nonprofits’ success. Without it, they don’t have the money to do their important work. Setting revenue targets is too often more art than science. As a result, they are often set too high forcing tough decisions late in the year when the shortfall becomes clear; or too low, leaving money on the table that could have supported more programming, growth, or investment. Making good decisions about revenue targets depends on a common understanding of the philanthropic market and data. Too often, both are lacking. The Map solves this problem by providing data on available philanthropy (how big is the pie and where is the money?), the performance of their peers (how much do other organizations raise?), and a methodology for setting a revenue target that is within reach (what can I expect to raise next year?).


What is included in “Philanthropy”? 

Philanthropy includes giving by corporations, foundations and individuals. The Map shows the metropolitan statistical areas from which philanthropy originates.


Does this data exist anywhere else?

Nope! This is original data and analysis by The Room40 Group, in partnership with GuideStar.


What are the sections of The Map?

The sections of The Map are:

  • Orientation to the Nonprofit Sector, putting philanthropy into context of all the revenue in the sector
  • The Map of Opportunity, showing the distribution of philanthropy across the U.S. and specifically the top 50 markets
  • A Sample Market Overview, showing the detailed data that is provided for each of the top 50 markets
  • Insight to Action, presenting a fictional nonprofit using the data and approach to do three critical things:
  1. Orient leadership to your markets
  2. Assess your market potential
  3. Set your annual revenue targets
  4. Conclusion, tying it all together
  • Appendix A: Market Overviews, presenting two pages of data for each of the top 50 markets
  • Appendix B: Primary data sources, sharing the sources behind The Map
  • Appendix C: Overview of Methodology, sharing our approach to the analysis
  • Appendix D: Glossary, to help with a common understanding of terms
  • Appendix E: Appropriate usage, to help you use The Map in all the right ways…. and none of the wrong ones.


If you’re interested in more information about each section, download the “Executive Summary and “Sneak Peek”” for the introduction and the first page or two of each of the main sections (the first 4 bullets above).


What if my city isn't in The Map?

  • If you purchase The Map, Room40 would be happy to provide the information for your city.  Get in touch with them directly for more information:
  • If you city IS in The Map already, but you're interested in cities that are not in The Map, Room40 will provide the information for additional cities for a nominal fee.  Get in touch with them directly for more information:


What is included in the “Market Overviews”?

Each market overview includes five sections as follows:

  • The total philanthropy in the market and its rank among the top 50 markets
  • A map showing the counties included in the market
  • Philanthropy by source (Corporate, Foundation, Individual) and by county
  • Lists of the top 10: Corporations by sales, Foundations by giving, Zip codes by giving
  • A list of counties showing philanthropy in the county, total and by source (Corporate, Foundation, Individual)


If you’re interested in more information about the Market Overviews, download the “Executive Summary and “Sneak Peek”” for a sample Market Overview


Wait, I already know my philanthropic market really well. I’ve been doing this for years. Why do I need The Map? 

  • The Map puts data to your hard-earned understanding of your market. Our hope is that you look at the data and say, “Yup, that makes sense.” So where’s the value?
  1. Use the data in The Map to help teach others about your market – your Board Chair, a new hire, or colleagues in other regions. It is an objective piece of your story, which is the scaffolding on which you load your stories and experience.
  2. Use the data to understand how your market is different from peers in other cities – and what that means for how well their approaches might work in your market
  3. Hiring someone who has raised money elsewhere? Use The Map to understand the fundraising context they have been in – and how your market is similar or different


  • The Map helps you assess your performance relative to peers

               We’ll show you how to assess how much your peers are raising, which should inform your long-term revenue goals.


  • The Map helps you put together your data, past performance, our data and analysis to set better revenue targets.
  1. Fundraising targets are often defended in the same ways year after year. It’s some combination of “this is what we raised last year, this is what we need, here’s why we think we can raise this much more (or less)”.
  2. Next year you’ll be able to go further: this is what others have raised, here’s how we compare, which means our potential is $$. Based on that, our past performance and our needs, our target for next year is…” Now, won’t that feel refreshing?


If I buy this report, will it show me how to use the data in my organization?

Yes! The Insight to Action sections are written so that you follow the steps and use this data and approach in your own organization.


Once I use the data and approach in The Map in my organization, can I tell you about it?

Yes! Please do. We’d love to hear how you use it and the results you achieve. Write to us at:


If I want help using the data and approach in The Map with my organization, will you help me?

Yes! We recognize that all organizations may not have the time, experience, expertise, desire to apply this approach themselves. We’d be happy to help – either a lot or a little – to meet your needs and budget. Get in touch and we’ll see how we can help.


Who collected this data, analyzed it and created this report?

  • A consulting and advisory group, The Room40 Group works with the leadership of nonprofits to help their organizations improve, grow and change. Recognizing the real resource constraints of nonprofits and the value of learning from others, we formed The Room40 Group to help nonprofit organizations make better decisions, faster, informed by data and the experiences of their peers.


  • The Room40 Group is led by Anna Fincke, Ben Mahnke and George Chu, experienced nonprofit executives, consultants and Board members.


  • The Room40 Group shares GuideStar’s commitment to data innovation and data distribution resulting in nonprofits making high-quality, data-informed decisions. The Map presents insights and analysis made possible by combining GuideStar data with data from other sources. We are honored to partner with GuideStar to create valuable tools, informed by data, for the nonprofit sector.


What is the methodology behind the analysis?

  • The Map of Opportunity is a data-driven approach to helping nonprofits learn from each other. We aggregate philanthropic market and fundraising data across sources and nonprofits to enable you to make better decisions, faster. Estimates of philanthropic market size in the Market Overviews rely primarily upon publicly available data collated, synthesized, and analyzed by The Room40 Group. We estimate each market size using multiple methods to improve the accuracy and validity of the results.


  • A more detailed description of the methodology and sources is included in the Appendix of the report.


What year of data is the analysis based on?

The most complete year of data across sources is 2013. We will update The Map in future years as data for more recent years becomes more complete.


If I really like The Map, what else might I be interested in?

Check out to sign up for our newsletter and see what we’re up to.


What is the difference between an individual user and an organizational user?

  • An individual user is a single-site organization, or an organization with multiple sites in a single metro area, or an individual interested in the sector, or similar.
  • An organizational user is a multi-site organization planning to use The Map for multiple philanthropic regions, or a consultant to the sector, or similar.
  • It’s honor system. We won’t track you down and check if you bought the right one. So, make the right choice for your organization. We trust you!


Am I allowed to share this with a colleague in my organization?

If you purchased an organizational version, yes! If you purchased an individual version, please only share it with people working directly with you to use The Map for a single city. 


Who should I talk to if I want to buy multiple copies?

Submit a support request.


Where can I find the report I just purchased?

  • First you will need to make sure that you verified your registered email address.  If you cannot locate the verification email it may have been diverted to a Junk or Spam folder.  Please check those folders and then verify your email address. 


  •  Click on the drop-down arrow right next to your name in the top right hand corner of your screen and then click on My Account and under the Downloadable Products you should now see Publications.



  • Click on the download option unzipped or zipped whichever you prefer. You will only have 30 days from the date of purchase to download The Map of Opportunity Report before it will expire.


The Map is good, but I can think of a way it could be even better.

We love that! Write to us at and tell us how we can make The Map even better next time. We will thank you from the bottom of our hearts.