Monday, September 24, 2007

The "Where?" In Grant Writing...

You may ask, "I'm doing the grant writing now! Where do I do the following...?!"

Researching who will give your organization a grant can happen online, on a CD ROM, for free in a public library that houses The Foundation Center's Cooperating Collection, in your office looking over files of past grant applications to learn what past funders may still fund your organization, talking with other grant writers (yes, it is OK to do that; see my posts Yes, Grant Writers Should Schmooze Amongst Themselves! Discuss! and This Week A Group of Grant Writers Networked Among Themselves... ), or in your public library or at your desk with The Foundation Databook for your state.

Announce the grants that you receive to your organization (the board, staff, volunteers, clientele, and donors) in your organization's newsletter, to the local press, and other organization that you are currently applying for a grant to.

Call potential grant donors, if they say that phone calls are OK, at the phone number that they list in their grant giving guidelines. The address to send the grant application should be in the giving guidelines, too. (See my post, About Giving Guidelines if these are a mystery).

Meet with your Executive Director or programs staff/volunteers at a nearby coffee shop, in your conference room, or in their office to ask what is going to need funding, what will likely be best funded by a grant (not everything is - see my posts, What Does Not Get Funded Well By Grants? and What Campaigns, Program, and Items Get Grants? ), and to determine when the new item, project, program, etc. will need to have received the grant(s) to determine your work timeline.

Grant writers work where they can concentrate, write, re-write, think, call or talk to colleagues, access the Internet, lay out files and books, etc.

Your colleagues talk with you about what they're going to need grants for, to ask the progress on a grant application that is underway or under review, etc. through a clear, easy, and thorough process that you set up and teach them about. (See my post, Coordinating Office Colleagues' Grant Needs)

The board of directors learn about the current work and progress of your grant work through regular reports at their board meetings. Give your executive director (or whomever reports to them on the staff's work regularly) a regular standard grant work report.

The grant donor learns about the work that your organization did with their grant when you submit to them (whether they request one or not) and end of grant report. (See my post, Reporting to Grant Donor After End of Project ).

Cash Awards for Practical Invention That Improves Lives and Sustainability

From The Foundation Center...

Lemelson-MIT Program Seeks Nominees for Prize for Invention and Award for Sustainability

Deadline: November 2, 2007

The Lemelson-MIT Program ( ) is accepting nominations for the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, a cash award for invention in the United States, and for the $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability, which supports individuals whose inventions enhance economic opportunities and societal well-being in developing and/or developed countries while protecting and restoring the natural environment.

The Lemelson-MIT Prize recognizes individuals who turn their ideas into inventions that improve the world. The prize is awarded to outstanding mid-career inventors who have developed a patented product or process of significant value to society, which could be or has been adopted for practical use. Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and owners of two U.S. patents, one of which is a product or process that provides a significant benefit (potential or realized) to society. Candidates must be inventors in one (or more) of the following categories: medicine and health care, computers and telecommunications, consumer products, energy and environment, or industrial products. The Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability is presented to inventors whose products or processes are viable and sustainable, and have high potential to improve the quality of life for future generations. Candidates must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or foreign nationals currently working legally in the United States who have created a product, process, or material; made a technology more affordable; redesigned a system; or otherwise demonstrated remarkable technological inventiveness in addressing local or global sustainability in the U.S. Nominees should be working in an area that ultimately improves the quality of air, water, or soil; or pertains to health, energy, agriculture, shelter, biodiversity, or ecosystem management. Candidates may be individuals or two collaborating inventors, and they must be nominated by one of their peers.

More information about the awards, as well as nomination forms, are available at the Lemelson-MIT Web site.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Come Blog About Philanthropy With Us For The October 2007 Giving Carnival!

WE WANT YOU! If you are interested in philanthropy, please join us in the October 2007 Giving Carnival group blog session! We'd love to get your two cents (I know...bad...).

For the October, 2007 Giving Carnival (group blog session) I am considering that it is often stated that 'relationships are everything' in philanthropy. The topic for this Giving Carnival is... Are relationships "everything" in philanthropy, today? Here are some questions to get you thinking: If philanthropic relationships are not everything, what is critical to philanthropy's modern success? Who do relationships in philanthropy form between today, compared to the past? Where is the innovation, in developing relationships in philanthropy? How do modern relationships in philanthropy begin; and how are they maintained? Who or what do they matter for? What are philanthropic relationships' effects on the causes they are supposed to serve? Is their oversight of relationships in philanthropy, and if so, what are the checks and balances on them? Are there times that relations should be broken, and if so, in what situations? Etc. etc. You do not have to follow my thread of questions. Feel free to respond in your own format. Get your response to me by October 15, 2007 to be included in the group session.

You don't need a blog to be involved! If you don't have a blog, just post your response to the October 2007 Giving Carnival topic as a "Comment", below, on this blog post; or email me your response at aspencer at thegrantplant dot com, and I'll post it on the Giving Carnival response post, for you. Otherwise, please blog about whether relationships are "everything" in philanthropy, today, and email me the link to your post. I'll post your link, along with everyone else's!

On October 15th, later in the day, I'll compile all of the links and email responses that I receive, and create a post listing all of them. Get your responses to me by Monday, October 15th.

Be sure to check back on October 16th to read others' responses. Let's get a dialogue going and get some thoughts and ideas moving.

In September 2007, the Giving Carnival generated 22 posts! Join us and please let your colleagues, coworkers, clients, and your favorite non profit organization know about the October 2007 Giving Carnival, and ask them to join us in sharing thoughts.

If you are a donor, foundation programs manager, philanthropy advisor, board member, non profit development staffer, political bundler, foundations association executive, volunteer, consulting fundraiser to non profits, or just someone interested in philanthropy - we want you.

Specifically, the Giving Carnival group blog session is meant to be open to anyone, and always (from month to month all around the blogesphere) about 'philanthropy', generally. In other words, the group session topic should be a topic that would be of interest to people across the philanthropy sector spectrum; from professional fundraisers, to donors, to advisers, to foundation managers, etc. The goal of the Giving Carnival group session is to grow and encourage the 'philanthropy' related blogesphere community. Keeping the invitation open to everyone and the topic general invites the most people to get involved as possible.

Would you like to host the Giving Carnival on your blog, November, 2007? Just let me know at: aspencer at thegrantplant dot com. It is required that you have a blog to host the next session. You can keep the Giving Carnival going creating the next session question/topic, and adding to the invitation list. It's a great opportunity for your blog to receive more exposure.

The Giving Carnival group blog session was created by Sean Stannard-Stockton, author of the blog, Tactical Philanthropy. Sean is also the principal and Director of Tactical Philanthropy at Ensemble Capital Management, and the author of the monthly column "On Philanthropy" for the Financial Times; among other author credits in books, publications, on radio, and more.

Gayle Roberts, author of the Fundraising for Nonprofits blog, and consulting professional fundraiser, invited me to her Giving Carnival of September, 2007. This how and when I got involved. Prior to Gayle's hosting it, The Give Well Blog hosted it in August 2007.

I invite you to join in. Please respond to me by October 15th!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

U.S. Congress and Senate Work Together Passing Fed College Debt Forgiveness for Non Profit Employees!!

The recent American non profit sector's hiring whoas are about to be lessened.

If President Bush signs H.R. 2699 into law, an American who works for a non profit for ten years or more, after college, and has federal education loans will receive federal education loan debt forgiveness. This would be in effect for those with federal education loans dated October 1, 2007, and after. [Correction: Anyone who has paid 120 times, after October 1, 2007; towards their federal education loan is eligible, under this law. There is no requirement that the loan be dated 10/1/07 or after.].

In a move to reduce federal education lending costs, on September 7th, the United States Congress voted for H.R. 2699 College Cost Reduction Act of 2007.

Representative George Miller (D-California) proposed an original draft of the bill approximately a year ago. Since then the House and the Senate each proposed separate versions of the bill. President Bush has not yet signed the bill but Representative Miller said on C-SPAN's coverage of the U.S. House on the September 7, 2007th "Capital News" segment, that it has been indicated to him that President does intend to sign the bill into law. YouTube footage here

It passed in the Senate 79 to 12 in bipartisanship on September 7th.

The bill was created by Representative Miller to reduce federal subsidies payments to non federal loan programs, and instead move that federal money into the Pell Grants (federal) education loan program. Students who qualify for and receive Pell Grants are considered some of the more needy students in the United States. Federal money that would have otherwise been paid as subsidies to education loan businesses (private and non profit) will now be allocated (as of the 2008 United States Federal Budget) to Pell Grant recipients in increments of $350, and then $100 every year, after; reducing the Pell Grant program's cost.

Federal education debt forgiveness will be offered to those who provide public service work for ten years or more, and those serving in the United States Armed Forces.

In "Congress Passes Bill to Forgive Student-Loan Debt for Some Charity Workers" Suzanne Perry wrote for The Chronicle of Philanthropy that......"“Public service” is defined to include employees of nonprofit legal-advocacy groups and organizations recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as tax-exempt charities. It also covers government employees, public-school teachers, law-enforcement officials, and public-health workers.

..."The Nonprofit Sector Workforce Coalition — composed of more than 50 nonprofit groups, foundations, associations, and academic centers — argued that the provision would help attract workers to relatively low-paid nonprofit careers.

..."The loan-forgiveness program would be available to former students who participate in specific repayment plans outlined in the bill that take income into account. It would apply only to loans made directly by the federal government, although borrowers could re-consolidate other loans into federal direct loans to qualify for the benefit. The plan would apply only to loan payments made after October 1, 2007. " [September 10, 2007; News Updates email]

Needless to say, this is a progressive potential hiring recruitment tool for the non profit sector! The proposed bill indicates that Americans who work in the non profit sector are also serving their nation at the highest level like those who sign up for the Armed Forces and are offered Federal education debt forgiveness, to be recruited.

Sign that bill, President Bush!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Received Press After You've Mailed A Few Grant Requests? Here's What To Do...

You've received some positive press? Great!!

Public relations is an ongoing process that should be governed by an individualized, planned out, and ratified organizational public relations plan and/or policy because, public relations is CRITICAL to successful non profit organizations. Why? See my post, "Why is Marketing Important to Grant Writing?"

If you are not controlling your organization's image or trying to tell your local community leaders, such as potential board members, potential donors, potential clientele, and others about who your organization is, what it does, its successes, and why your organization is important; you're missing opportunities. You are also leaving money on the table, including grants.

Writing excellent grant proposals for relevant, needed, and thought out programs is a form of public relations. For every grant proposal submitted to a potential donor, even if your organization is not funded during this grant cycle; you have given someone a bit of information on your organization and why it is worthy of support. You've raised name recognition and when you return to that grant donor with another grant proposal (when their guidelines say that you can, next), they will probably remember your organization (if they don't, this is your fault and a great reason to consider developing an organizational public relations plan).

So...if your organization, Friends for Little Ones just submitted three grant proposals for a new program that is starting next year, AND your organization was just featured in a local newspaper article for having helped Mrs. Smith's little four year old boy begin to socialize more comfortably for the first time in his is what you do...

I never advocate sending unrequested mail (snail mail, email, solicitations, newsletters, etc.) to any potential grant donor (or any other kind of donor) unless they want it. As I always write, there are exceptions to the rule. Most potential donors want to know (especially if you're currently requesting a grant for the current giving cycle) any new news with your organization.

1. Make legible, easy to read (no teenie tiny small photocopies) copies of the newspaper (or whatever the source is) article; one copy for each potential grant donor that you've submitted a grant request to (or will submit a grant request to soon).

2. If it is not on the clipping, legibly hand write the name of the media source (i.e. The Washington Post), the date of the issue, the article's author, and what type of media the article was featured on. For instance, if the article came from The Washington Post's website and not their paper, simply write "website article" and include the website address.

3. Assume that the recipients are busy folks (like you, they are) and won't have time to read the entire article. On each copy of the article, highlight for them the three key sentences of the article (and make sure the highlight is legible). We want to help them in any way possible to decide to grant to us. Positive news is a great boost. (Yes, only three sentences in the whole article, and yes, only sentences - not whole paragraphs). Keep this correspondence short for them.

4. No matter what the article says, if it's positive mail it to everyone whom you've applied to recently (use snail mail or email, depending on what the grant donor has indicated they prefer by how they asked you to submit your grant proposal).

5. Include a simple SHORT note stating that 'your organization applied to them for X grant, on Y date, and that your organization was recently featured in Z media; you've enclosed the article (or whatever) for their consideration with your application. Thank you.' (Always say 'thank you' to potential donors). This is all that you mail to them.

6. If the article is negative media, have a meeting among your key volunteers and staff. Discuss what your public relations strategy will be, and be proactive. Contact the potential grant donors to whom you've recently applied and talk to the program manager in charge of your grant application. Be honest, ask them if they need anything from your organization (give the situation), tell them that you're investigating if your organization is, etc. Be proactive. Just because you've received bad press, do not assume that you've lost every grant you've got applications out for. Control the impression of who your organization is, no matter what recent press says, by demonstrating your openness, concern, professionalism, and appreciation of local/national (whatever) interest in your organization.

I recommend these steps only when you've received press after you've submitted one or more grant proposals recently. If something positive has happened in your organization, recently, that relates to the grant proposal that you've submitted (i.e. you've received a grant for the program that you're applying for, there's a new recent scientific study that supports the program proposal that you submitted, there's new leadership at the helm of your org, etc.) let the potential grant donor know. Media articles, changes, received proposed program budget revenue, and even if there's a loss to your program budget income - tell the potential grant donor. Always tell the potential donor what is going on (even if you perceive it as bad) because they may, for instance, believe in your project so much that if a grant that was promised is now revoked, they may cover the lost grant and the grant you're applying for from them. Really. Besides, being proactive, honest, and timely is professional. Hoping that the potential donor won't learn about the bad news is a good way to possibly lose a grant if they promise one and hear the bad news, themselves.

(If your agency does have great recent positive news that the media doesn't know about - contact various media's writers who covers your kind of industry or cause, and LET THEM KNOW. Never assume that your news isn't news-worthy. Tell the media and let them decide what is or isn't news-worthy).

I do not encourage grant applicants to constantly contact potential grant donors, after applying, with information that isn't pertinent to what they're applying for the grant for. I do not encourage unnecessary contact or communication. If you have a question about the grant, the grant application process, or something pertinent; call them. If, though, one of your staff members won the annual organizational employee of the year award; while that's great for your staffer, the potential grant donor doesn't need to hear about it. Use your discretion and be tactful.

Toot your horn, because as you know, if you don't, who will (and if others are tooting your horn, who knows what they're saying)?

Quality of Life Grants for Non Profits Working with the Spinal Cord Injured, Their Loved Ones, and Care Givers

From The Foundation Center...

Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Extend Deadline for Quality of Life Grants

Program Deadline: October 1, 2007

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation ( ) Quality of Life Grants Program offers grants to nonprofit organizations that address the needs of persons living with paralysis (particularly spinal cord injury), their families, and caregivers.

Funding is awarded in thirteen categories: accessibility, advocacy, arts, assistive technology, children, counseling, education, employment, independent living, practical services, sports and recreation, therapeutic riding, and health promotion. Except for the health promotion category, the primary focus of the Quality of Life grants is paralysis caused by spinal cord injury. To qualify for funding, a nonprofit organization does not have to exclusively serve people with spinal cord injuries; however, at least a portion of the population served must have spinal cord injuries. The health promotion category provides funding to nonprofit organizations that address paralysis caused by spinal cord injuries and/or other injuries, diseases, and birth conditions, including (but not limited to) stroke, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, etc. Health promotion grants are intended for programmatic activities and not solely for the purchase of equipment for use by individuals. Health promotion grants also cannot fund advocacy, food, and cannot be allocated for direct care services for individuals.

Applicants must provide proof of their nonprofit 501(c)(3) status. Applications are accepted from organizations based outside of the United States, although priority is given to those with an inter- national scope (i.e., projects that serve people living in more than one country). Grants are not made to individuals. Individuals seeking information on resources or financial assistance should contact the Paralysis Resource Center ( ), a program of CDRF. Funding is awarded in amounts of up to $25,000 per grant. As a general rule, grants are not awarded for operating costs nor are they awarded to start-up organizations.

Applications deadlines are normally March 1 and September 1, annually. For the second cycle in 2007, however, the foundation has announced a deadline of October 1. Visit the foundation's Web site for complete program guidelines.

RFP Link:

Grants Available for American Public and Private Schools and/or Districts That Teach Character Education

From The Foundation Center...

Character Education Partnership Accepting Applications for National Schools of Character Awards

Deadline: December 3, 2007

Every year, the Character Education Partnership ( ) names ten public and private schools and districts (K-12) as National Schools of Character for their outstanding work in character education. The purpose of the awards program is to honor these exemplars, showcase their work, and help them to inspire and lead others.

With support from the John Templeton Foundation ( ), 2008 NSOC award recipients will receive a $20,000 grant: $10,000 to enhance their program and $10,000 to provide outreach to other educators. Once selected as a National School or District of Character, winners will develop an approved plan for conducting outreach activities, to include providing staff development or mentoring for another school or district.

To be eligible, a school must have been engaged in character education for a minimum of three full years, starting no later than December 2004 for the 2008 awards. Districts need to have been engaged in character education for a minimum of four full years, starting no later than December 2003. Schools must have a minimum of 175 students to apply. Smaller administrative units that maintain a separate identity within a large district may apply in the district category (e.g., a school pyramid or cluster).

Visit the NSOC page on the CEP Web site for complete program information. RFP Link:

Capital Improvement Grants Available to Tourism Non Profits Conserving, Protecting, or Restoring Cultural, Historic, or Naturaly Significant Sites

From The Foundation Center...

Tourism Cares Offers Worldwide Grant Program

Deadline: October 1, 2007 (Letters of Inquiry Packets)

Tourism Cares ( ), a nonprofit charity supported by the tourism industry, administers the Worldwide Grant Program to support worthy tourism-related non- profit organizations working to preserve, conserve, and restore the world's natural, cultural, and historic treasures.

The organization's primary consideration is to fund projects and programs whose goal is capital improvements that serve to protect, restore, or conserve sites of exceptional cultural, historic, or natural significance; or the education of local host communities and the traveling public about conservation and preservation of sites of exceptional cultural, historical, or natural significance.

The 2007 Worldwide Grant Program goals for grantmaking call for a balanced distribution to U.S. and non-U.S. recipients. Based on merit and availability of funds, grants of up to $100,000 each will be considered. To be eligible, U.S.-based organizations must have tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) status; non-U.S.-based organizations must have status equivalent to the U.S. 501(c)(3).

Visit the Tourism Cares Web site for complete program information. RFP Link:

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Grants for Research, Collaboration, Or Public Awareness for Key U.S. Dance, Jazz, Presenting, Or Theater Fields

From The Foundation Center...

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's Arts Program Announces National Projects Fund

Deadline: Open

As part of a new initiative to help strengthen the national performing arts sector, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's ( ) Arts Program will support select national projects that strengthen the health of the dance, jazz, presenting, and/or theater fields.

During a two-year pilot phase, the National Projects Fund will award a total of up to $1 million in grants to support key national projects in the dance, jazz, presenting, and/or theater fields. Grants will range from $60,000 to $200,000 each, and cannot exceed 40 percent of a project's total cost. National projects engage a broad national constituency, occur once (or periodically) rather than annually, and have the potential to significantly impact a field.

Types of projects eligible for support include national research, national public awareness activities, cross-discipline collaborations (including national meetings or conventions), and other national activities. Single nonprofit organizations and consortia are eligible to apply. Organizations receiving core support from DDCF are not eligible to request additional support from the National Projects Fund for single-discipline activities. Pilot programs that aspire to be a national model are not eligible to apply, nor are national dance, jazz, or theater commissions, productions, or tours. Arts Program staff will review Letters of Inquiry on a rolling basis.

Visit the DDCF Web site for complete program guidelines. RFP Link:

Long Term Grants for Programs Developing Queer Youth Leadership Or Programs that Empower the Community

From The Foundation Center...

Queer Youth Fund Accepting Letters of Intent

Deadline: October 2, 2007 (Letters of Intent)

The Queer Youth Fund is a donor-initiated grantmaking program housed at the Liberty Hill Foundation ( ). A group of committed donors developed the fund to provide large multiyear grants to groups that address the multitude of issues queer youth face as they acknowledge and celebrate their sexuality, identity, and seek to become empowered leaders in their communities.

The Queer Youth Fund makes multiyear grants to grassroots, local, state, and national nonprofit organizations working to improve the quality of life among gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth. The fund awards grants to innovative and effective leadership development programs or organizing projects that empower GLBTQQ youth to improve societal conditions affecting GLBTQQ youth and that make a long-term difference to their movement.

For purposes of the program, youth are defined as 25 years old or younger. Up to four grants of up to $100,000 each, payable over three to five years, will be made to different 501(c)(3) organizations (or groups with fiscal sponsors) with specific work that matches the fund's guidelines. To be eligible, applicant organizations must have a total budget for their youth work of $750,000 or less. The Queer Youth Fund is now accepting Letters of Intent for its 2007-08 grant cycle.

Guidelines and information on previous grantees are available at the Liberty Hill Foundation Web site. RFP Link: