Saturday, June 23, 2007

Wow, What A Shock. Another Example of Piss Poor Fundraising...

[The following is based on Ashley Bach's The Seattle Times article, "No Audit at Bellevue Arts Museum Since 2003", dated June 23, 2007. It can be found at:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003759438_bam23e.html?syndication=rss]

It's among about five to ten basics that I repeatedly discuss, in this blog, as critical for non profit organizations to do if they want to be successful fundraisers.

What non profit doesn't want to be an excellent fundraiser?

Well, up until recently, maybe The Bellevue Arts Museum located in Bellevue, Washington; which has been long plagued by some catastrophic difficulties that honestly would have shut most non profits down a bit ago.

My ire has been raised, this morning, so I'm taking my Saturday morning to write this article because you need to consider honestly whether you're setting your organization up for the same errors. To get to the point, if you want to raise money now and tomorrow - you must be ethically managing the organization and overseeing its operations, health, and vitality.

Even more to the point: if you want to raise funds, do not neglect to do an annual independent, professional, financial audit. I don't care if you're not required to (yet) by law. Do it.

Why? The recent leadership at The Bellevue Arts Museum can tell you why. I must admit, the most entertaining thing about the article was at the end. Bellevue Arts Museum Board President, Keith Baldwin, is paraphrased as stating:

"Museum officials said they expect to get the $300,000 back from their insurance company and are exploring restitution options as well.

"In the short term, the museum can use new donors and a new line of credit to make up the hole left by the stolen money and the money that hasn't arrived from the city of Bellevue, Baldwin said."

Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha, HA! Are you kidding?!! I'm not giving your organization a dime. Would you?

It doesn't sound to me like he's fully understood, yet, why he, as a Board member, let alone the President; should a) know his legal fiscal responsibilities to the non profit that he volunteers to oversee, b) understand modern professional fundraising paradigms and reasons for them, and c) expect that donors will be leery of giving to an organization that has repeatedly demonstrated that it neither operates efficiently, nor that its leaderships deems it necessary to take the time to learn the latest in professional non profit leadership and fundraising.

Here's the summation of the story. A Bellevue Arts Museum staffer was embezzling their money. Her antics were sniffed out only after another staffer thought something odd, and the organization conducted an audit, which they hadn't been doing for four years. The board repeatedly voted to not do an outside agency (independent) annual financial audit, claiming (this is rich) that they didn't have the money for it. Well, they really don't have money, now, for anything at all. Guess it would have been worth spending the money to audit annually all of those years, looking back now?!

The Board President explains the experience as 'a dishonest bookkeeper took money, he's learned his lesson, and they need money today'.

That's his take. Here's the rest of the world's perception of the whole thing:

1. BECAUSE the organization had not conducted an independent, professional, financial audit annually the potential embezzler became an actual embezzler and stole funds.

2. BECAUSE the Board was not educated as to the proper management of non profit agencies and their resources, and BECAUSE the Board did not choose to educate themselves about their responsibilities; the embezzler was able to steal money.

3. BECAUSE the Board voted not to spend money on an annual audit for four years - the embezzler was able to take a large sum of money over a good amount of time. The sum stolen IS important, as apparently, the museum is hoping to get it back, NOW. Why they didn't protect it when they had it...who knows?!

4. BECAUSE a staff member, a colleague of the thief thought something was off the mark; only then was an independent financial audit conducted and the stolen money was discovered. The discovery was not because of strong management or oversight on the part of the volunteer leadership. The theft was discovered because of an honest employee who does not bear the same fiscal oversight and management responsibilities as a Board member. Where was the Board?!

5. Now we're supposed to donate because the President says he needs money?! What frick'n non profit doesn't need money?! Just to hold out your hand and hope for donations is NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

I've written, here, repeatedly also all about how today's donors are more savvy than ever. They're not just a smarter bunch. It's that more donors don't want to just hand money over to non profit organizations anymore. They want to see that their money is being spent as it was promised that it would be, that it is effecting change/good, and that the organization is managing their donation and all resources efficiently, transparently, and in a healthy manner. This trend is going to spread and increase across donors of all kinds (foundations, major donors, municipalities, corporate, in kind, etc.). See my post A Shift In Giving: Proactive Philanthropists Instead of Passive Donors

Why am I so angry? I am certain that the good people of Bellevue, Washington would like to have an excellent arts museum in their community. I am sure that the museum's Art Director does his/her best to present some informative, mind-opening, and exceptional art. I am also sure that there are more than a few donors who want to support art, locally. I am angry for all of these reasons because it sounds to me, from The Seattle Times article, that the Board President wants everyone to know that the 'bad guy' has been found out, but everything is OK, now.

As Han Solo says during the Princess Lea rescue in "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope", "Had a slight weapons malfunction, but every thing's perfectly alright now. We're fine, we're all fine, here, now, thank you. How are you?"

Nope. You, me, and their Board President need to understand that just because we volunteer or work for a non profit organization, we don't get some 'free pass' to check out, or hope for the best. It is a business. It is not for profit, so we need alliances in our communities because we need resources. We do not just deserve these resources, though, as non profit agencies. WE bear the responsibility of developing strong ties in our communities and that is only done by our properly managing our resources, assets, time, and everything that is in trusted in us to oversee in our organizations. We then also report and provide any information asked of us by potential donors, potential volunteers, governments, banks, and other partners in our work. The only way that we can do any of this correctly is if we know what the heck is going on internally in our organizations. WE non profit staff, volunteers, and donors are responsible for them.

We do not get to just put our hand out, as non profits, and say 'please give us the money we need because we are not capable of managing our organization and its resources well'. THIS fundraising 'approach' is any organization's kiss of death, ultimately.

So, yes, I have a bee in my bonnet this Saturday morning.

The Bellevue Arts Museum's website is at: http://www.bellevuearts.org/

Monday, June 18, 2007

This Past Week A Group of Grant Writers Networked Among Themselves, Saved Each Other Some Grief, AND Received An Apology!

I belong to a non profit professonals' list serve. This week I watched an interesting discussion thread. Even this very morning, as I write, there is still traffic being generated from one post, posted last week.

In the post that started the discussion, an international and well known non profit agency advertised a grant writers position that they are hiring for at a local office.

The job offer email provided all of the usual information: who and where the non profit agency is located, what scope of work that the position is responsible for, the mission statement of the organization, what their employment policy is, when the deadline for submitting resumes and writing samples is, how to submit your application, and what the hiring process will be.

Mostly, people are posting questions relevant to the non profit world, posting events, posting networking opportunities, posting job offers, and the like on this group list serve.

But, after this particular large and well known organization posted their grant writer position, a local professional grant writer shared with the list serve that she had applied for and interviewed for the same job a few years ago and had a poor experience. She wanted the local community to know that she was qualified for the position, yet treated unprofessionally, and was never even notified as to whether she received the job or not. What a colleague! She gave us all the 'heads up'.

What really intrigued me was that many other professional grant writers in the region responded to her, continuing the discussion thread. They mostly thought that it was very brave of her to be forthright with the local professional grant writing community; to be willing to share her bad experience. Many professionals felt informed on a level that only inter-colleague networking can provide. Actually, the grant writer who shared her negative experience wasn't risking anything, as she was not unprofessional or slanderous in her post. She was likely never going to work for this organization, now, and probably has all of the work she needs. Why not share what happened with others, so that they can at least know what happened to another grant writer seeking the same job?

Perhaps the best thing about the whole thread was that a staff member of the organization in question's local office responded. Here's what she wrote,

"With your permission, I've passed your feedback on to the director of our department. She shares your belief that our predecessors' handling of the hiring process three years ago was regrettably unprofessional and discourteous to you, and offers you her apologies. I will also be speaking with our current human resources department to make sure that things are running more smoothly in responding to applicants. We hope to interest in the position, and being welcoming and thorough is essential in that process!"

This staff member, unlike the previous manager, was responsive, grateful, wanting to right the situation, and this person's negative experience was noted to avoid it happening again. This is how you handle, respond, and mitigate negative public relations. And, this is how they will hire, and continue to hire, great candidates in the future. This staffer's staved off good applicants' fears about applying.

To quote a June 17th response to this thread:
"Organizations of all stripes – radical, conservative, faith-based, large, small – behave sometimes in ways that are not aligned with their stated values and mission. So why do we hold back from dealing with these challenges? Perhaps it’s because the risks of making change don’t seem worth it, personally, organizationally, and for the sake of the community. Perhaps we will talk ourselves into being satisfied with less. I am a part of the sector to make the community fundamentally more humane and caring. But making deep and lasting change seems a whole lot more complicated than waiving a slogan or being righteously indignant. I have to be willing to make relationships with people who don’t think like me and I have to willing to risk not knowing what to do. "

I agree. Well said.

The author of this response suggests, "...a great book about adaptive leadership – it’s called “Leadership on the Line,” by Ron Heifetz and Martin Linsky. Heifetz and Linsky elaborate about the pragmatic and tactical considerations of helping their organizations and the people in them come to terms with changes in behavior, belief and values. They talk with great candor about the very real dangers of working in alignment with your values and life purpose, while not being made road kill by the intrinsic conservative forces of organizations. I recommend it to everyone."

Grant writers, and everyone who values the excellent work that they do for our communities, as I've said before here, do well to share information in and among themselves. Grant writers networking amongst themselves changed a bad local situation, in this case.

[Read my post explaining why grant writers should network at: http://thegrantplant.blogspot.com/2007/05/yes-grant-writers-should-schmooze.html ]

Grant Money for State-Based-Orgs Working On Comprehensive Finance Reform

From The Foundation Center...

Piper Fund Offers Support for Campaign Finance Reform Projects

Deadline: July 16, 2007

The Piper Fund, a project of the Proteus Fund ( http://proteusfund.org/ ), was established to help meet the needs of the growing movement for campaign finance reform in America. Each year, the fund invites state-based organizations working toward comprehensive campaign finance reform to apply for funding.

The fund focuses its resources on efforts to establish public financing of campaigns and other mechanisms that provide an alternative to reliance on special interest campaign contributions and allow new voices and communities to compete in the electoral arena.

Funding will support research documenting the flow of money in the political system, public education, and projects to improve campaign disclosure laws and regulations.

Piper also occasionally considers unique projects that may provide important lessons for the reform community, such as strategies designed to engage new constituencies in reform efforts or explore experimental tactics.

Funding will be provided to organizations with 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status, or programs with an eligible fiscal sponsor. Entry-level grants are offered in the range of $10,000 to $50,000 each.

Visit the Piper Fund Web site for complete program information. (Please note: As Piper will be further evaluating these guidelines at a meeting in the middle of June, applicants should check back the week of June 25, 2007, to see if any additional information/criteria has been added.)

RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10007671/proteusfund

75 Scholarships Available to Non Profit Leadership

From The Foundation Center... [I posted this announcement before, but want to support it, so here it is, again.]

American Management Association and Leader to Leader Institute Announce New Scholarship Program for Nonprofit Leaders

Deadline: November 15, 2007

The American Management Association ( http://www.amanet.org/ ) and the Leader to Leader Institute ( http://leadertoleader.org/ ) have established the AMA Scholarship Program to assist social sector nonprofit organizations in developing "the strong leaders today who will lead the organizations of the future."

AMA has allocated funding for seventy-five scholarships to be administered by the Leader to Leader Institute. Scholarship benefits include one management education and professional development seminar offered by AMA; one year of individual member benefits, including access to members-only Web site, subscriptions to e-newsletters and journals, and discount pricing on all other AMA products and services; and a one-year membership with the Leader to Leader Institute, including subscription to Leader to Leader Journal and discounts on the institute's publications and services.

The AMA Scholarship Program is available to a range of non- profit organizations representing the social sector across the United States. To be eligible, a candidate must be an employee of a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization or operate under the fiscal sponsorship of a 501(c)(3); have a minimum of three years of work experience in the social sector; and receive nomination by the Executive Director/CEO of their sponsoring organization (if candidate is the ED/CEO, then nomination by the board).

Visit the Leader to Leader Institute Web site for complete program information. RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10007670/leadertoleader

Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research Promotes BioTech and Pharma Companies' Parkinson's Research: Not Restricted to US Companies Only

From The Foundation Center...

Michael J. Fox Foundation Invites Biotechnology/Pharmaceutical Companies to Apply for Therapeutics Development

Initiative Deadline: July 17, 2007; and January 24, 2008 (Pre-proposals)

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research ( http://www.michaeljfox.org/ ) has announced its 2007-08 Therapeutics Development Initiative, which is designed to promote industry investment in pre-clinical research for Parkinson's disease.

Through the initiative the foundation will commit up to $5 million in total funding to drive translational Parkinson's Disease research that otherwise would be likely stall. The initiative aims to expand current industry investment in PD, and bring new players to the table, by adding MJFF capital to biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies' own in an effort to absorb some portion of the risk of investment in novel PD therapeutics.

Applications may be submitted by U.S. and non-U.S. biotechnology/ pharmaceutical companies or other for-profit entities, either publicly or privately held. MJFF will commit up to $5 million in total funding for the initiative and intends to fund multiple proposals. There is no set budget limit, but the project period will not exceed two years.

The program will have two grant cycles, the first in autumn 2007 and the second in spring 2008.

For more information or to apply for funding, visit the MJFF Web site. RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10007669/michaeljfox

Home Depot to Assist in Affordable Housing Projects That Address Environmental and Community Needs

From The Foundation Center...

Home Depot Foundation Accepting Letters of Inquiry for Affordable Housing Projects

Deadline: July 1, 2007 (Letters of Inquiry)

The Home Depot Foundation ( http://www.homedepotfoundation.org/ ) is dedicated to creating healthy, livable communities through the integration of affordable housing built responsibly and the preservation and restoration of community trees.

The foundation makes grants to 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charities in the United States and to charitable organizations in Canada. To better support its mission, the foundation awards most of its grants by directly soliciting proposals from high-performing nonprofit organizations with the demonstrated ability to create strong partnerships, impact multiple communities, and leverage grant resources.

In order to identify potential future nonprofit partners or respond to unique community revitalization opportunities, a limited amount of funding is set aside to be awarded through a competitive process.

Preference is given to proposals that include community engagement that result in the production, preservation, or financing of housing units for low to moderate-income families that address as many of the following considerations as possible: resource efficiency in design, construction, and operations; mitigation of the depletion of natural resources, including timber and water; inclusion of landscaping features such as trees and shrubs that minimize demand for water and synthetic chemicals and reduce the heat-island effect; reduction of maintenance costs using innovative and durable materials; incorporation of more environmentally friendly building materials; site planning with minimal environmental impact; energy-efficiency and use of renewable energy; indoor air quality improvement, including moisture control and proper ventilation; and smart site planning and land use.

The foundation awards grants to eligible nonprofits three times a year.

The next deadline for Letters of Inquiry is July 1, 2007.

Complete program information, an FAQ, and an eligibility test are available at the foundation's Web site. RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10007662/homedepotfoundation

Thursday, June 14, 2007

How Often Do You Hear This?! IRS Wants Your Input On Your New Required Tax Document! New IRS Tax Form 990 Wants Your Two Cents!

As promised, folks...

I've reported on this expected IRS tax form change in this blog. Here it is. Note that you have a grace period to recommend changes to the new IRS tax document, share concerns about it, and advise or question before this form becomes requisite. Read the linked article (link below) to see the proposed new 990 form, and to find out how to make your suggestions or concerns know.

This effects a lot of us at non profits. To quote the article: "Charities with annual revenue of $25,000 or more are required to file the Form 990 with the IRS and must give copies to donors and other people who ask for it."

The article from The Chronicle of Philanthropy is called, "IRS Unveils New Non Profit Tax Form". Read the article at:

http://philanthropy.com/news/updates/2528/irs-offers-up-retooled-nonprofit-tax-form

Monday, June 11, 2007

Why Some Grant Writers Suck...

If you are a consulting grant writer you must work for your clients as if you are a staff member. What does that mean? When someone is a hired staff member, they are working for that organization, daily; meeting certain work requirements and providing an expected quality in their work; they know the business, industry, and their company as required (by their employer and the task required of them); and they are committed and invested.

If you are a consultant, you may be reading this and thinking 'I do work for my clients as if I'm one of their staff employees'.

I'm asking whether you really do, though.

Top 10 Ways to Successfully Consult or Hire a Grant Writing Consultant... Grant writing consultants, like non profit organizations' staff members, must:

10. Listen (to hear, not just to respond).

9. Communicate often, honestly, and proactively and not just as required.

8. Have an open door policy to not just management, but also the volunteers and staff who have funding needs (not just listen in a top down management model). Organizations are whole entities. Management is not all-knowing. If you receive funding requests from staff or volunteers 'beneath' management, simply bring the information to the management or board member that is your contact. Explain that another need for grant funding in their organization has been brought to your attention.

7. Know the organization's mission backwards, forwards, and sideways. Buy into the mission's goal. IF you can not, recommend that they hire someone else to write grant proposals for them.

6. Understand the organization's work, its field, the latest in the industry and its research, and know who the others are doing the same or similar work in the field (i.e. collaborators, 'competitors', etc.) and what they do.

5. Know who funds your organization and who would fund them, but has not, yet.

4. Be very successful at what you do for your organization. No organization retains employees who do not do their job and do it well.

3. Work in as efficient and cost effective ways as possible.

2. Be honest. If an organization is not ready, yet, to apply for grant money - tell them so. Explain why and consult with them how to get in a position to successfully apply for and receive grant money. Or, if accounting does not add up in budgets or financials - tell at least three different organization leaders. If they do not want to fix the situation or do not agree with you - listen to yourself and move onto another healthy/honest client. See whether your organization is ready to look for grant money. Yes, your organization needs to be ready to go after grants - TO BE SUCCESSFUL at it. Read http://thegrantplant.blogspot.com/2004/05/soliciting-grant-money-101.html

1. If you aren't good at writing, research, reading, organization, meeting deadlines, communicating, listening, working with others, or reporting - don't write grant proposals. If you work for a non profit organization and need a grant writer but are not 'that guy/gal' - then, hire one. If you are looking for good work - move onto another field.

Read these other posts:

Hiring a grant writer:

http://thegrantplant.blogspot.com/2004/07/what-are-steps-to-hiring-grant-writer.html

http://thegrantplant.blogspot.com/2007/02/grant-writers-on-commission.html

http://thegrantplant.blogspot.com/2007/01/how-do-we-afford-grant-writing.html

Becoming a consulting grant writer:

http://thegrantplant.blogspot.com/2006/12/grant-writing-work-jobs-and.html

Enter Peter F. Drucker Award Competition for Non Profit Innovation in Successful Programs

From The Foundation Center...

Entries Invited for Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation

Deadline: August 13, 2007

The Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation is given each November to three U.S. nonprofit organizations in recognition of an innovative, existing program that has made a difference in the lives of the people it serves.

Peter Drucker's definition of innovation -- "change that creates a new dimension of performance" -- is key to consideration for the award.

The Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University administers the award. The award is accompanied by a first-place prize of $35,000 and two runners-up prizes of $7,500 and $5,000. The cash prizes are unrestricted and designed to celebrate and further the work of innovative nonprofit organizations in the United States.

Applications must be submitted by the organization responsible for the program; third-party nominations will not be accepted. The organization must be a registered, U.S.-domiciled, 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity serving a U.S. population, and the program must be fully operational at the time of application submission.

Complete program information and entry instructions are available at the Drucker School Web site. RFP Link: http://www.cgu.edu/pages/2420.asp

Scholarships for Non Profit Leaders

From The Foundation Center...

American Management Association and Leader to Leader Institute Announce New Scholarship Program for Nonprofit Leaders

Deadline: November 15, 2007

The American Management Association ( http://www.amanet.org/ ) and the Leader to Leader Institute ( http://www.leadertoleader.org/ ) have established the AMA Scholarship Program to assist social sector nonprofit organizations in developing "the strong leaders today who will lead the organizations of the future."

AMA has allocated funding for seventy-five scholarships to be administered by the Leader to Leader Institute. Scholarship benefits include one management education and professional development seminar offered by AMA; one year of individual member benefits, including access to members-only Web site, subscriptions to e-newsletters and journals, and discount pricing on all other AMA products and services; and a one-year membership with the Leader to Leader Institute, including subscription to Leader to Leader Journal and discounts on the institute's publications and services.

The AMA Scholarship Program is available to a range of non- profit organizations representing the social sector across the United States. To be eligible, a candidate must be an employee of nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization or operate under the fiscal sponsorship of a 501(c)(3); have a minimum of three years of work experience in the social sector; and receive nomination by the Executive Director/CEO of their sponsoring organization (if candidate is the ED/CEO, then nomination by the board).

Visit the Leader to Leader Institute Web site for complete program information. RFP Link: http://www.leadertoleader.org/collaboration/ama/index.html

Alzheimer's Fronto-Temporal Dementia Testing Research Grants Available

From The Foundation Center...

Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation Seeks Research Proposals Targeting Fronto-Temporal Dementia

Deadline: Open

The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation ( http://alzdiscovery.org/ ) is a public charity dedicated to rapidly accelerating the discovery and development of drugs to prevent, treat, and cure Alzheimer's disease and cognitive aging.

Research investigating the pathologic mechanisms of neurodegeneration in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and related disorders has advanced recently, creating new potential targets for drug discovery. ADDF seeks to accelerate and support drug discovery for FTD and related dementias through this Request for Proposals.

Examples of programs appropriate for this RFP include, but are not limited to, identification and in vitro testing of potentially disease modifying lead compounds; development and testing of novel high throughput screening assays; medicinal chemistry on lead compounds; testing of lead compounds in a relevant animal model for preclinical proof of concept; ADME, toxicology, pharmacokinetics, or pharmacodynamics on lead compounds; development and testing of targeted gene delivery strategies; and development of biomarkers to accelerate drug development and early diagnosis.

Note: This RFP does not support applications for basic research funding.

ADDF will provide individual grants of up to $250,000 total costs for one year. Collaborations between investigators with experience in neurobiology and drug discovery disciplines such as medicinal chemistry and drug delivery are encouraged to apply. Applications may be submitted by nonprofit academic institutions and for-profit biotechnology companies, both public and private, national and international.

Visit the ADDF Web site for additional information on this funding opportunity. RFP Link: http://www.alzdiscovery.org/

Monday, June 04, 2007

As Casselman Points Out; Social Enterprise Fundraising Is Not All Kittens, Chocolates, and Roses

Ben Casselman's "Why 'Social Enterprises' Rarely Works" (June 1, 2007; The Wall Street Journal Online, http://www.wsj.com/) summarizes what many of us non profit professionals whispered among ourselves, after our attempts; it is tough to operate a for profit business, when one is also running a non profit organization, too. His piece is located at:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118066523448221042-search.html?KEYWORDS=social+enterprise&COLLECTION=wsjie/6month

The social enterprise paradigm is a newer concept in American non profit fundraising. The basic social enterprise premise is that a non profit can also conduct for profit business as a source of revenues for its programs and operations. For instance, a woman's shelter may start a second hand clothing store as a method to raise funds for its shelter programs.

Many non profits liked the sound of the concept, once it arrived in fundraising literature and discussion, because it sounded like a consistent, potentially very successful revenue stream. It is interesting to ask whether perhaps this speaks to the non profit sector's impression of itself? Perhaps there is a thought among non profit managers (who are not confident in their fundraising success) that the for profit world is inherently financially successful?

As Casselman points out, few considered that a for profit business (like a non profit business) is not truly self-sustaining when it's run by a non profit. Creating a new business is hard work and after its established, it's ongoing. In other words, many for profit enterprises require loans to get businesses up and running and in striving to be a self-sufficient for profit business - the focus on the mission is lost. The social enterprises often taking precious time and resources from the non profit parent organization's work. Being overly focused on the new business, the non profit may miss key needs in the community or solutions. This happened to the featured non profit in the article; they did not see the forest for the trees.

It is tough work to run a business AND run a non profit organization. A non profit really may go from running one organization to running two, but on one organization's staff, volunteer base, revenue, and resources!

Social enterprise-ism caught on so well because, as Casselman explains of the 1980's and '90's, "...as cutbacks in government grants and a downturn in private funding pushed many organizations to seek ways to generate revenue. Prominent grant-making organizations such as Pew Charitable Trusts and Kauffman Foundation began asking recipients develop plans to sustain themselves. Many nonprofits saw social enterprise as a way to become both more efficient and more independent."

Organizations were creating new organizations hoping to up revenue and gain the support of potential grant donors.

If nothing else, lessons have been learned. There have been success stories, as Casselman describes, but if a non profit is considering social enterprise - they must research who has been successful and how they've become successful at it. I suspect they might find that the cost/benefit ratio only works for organizations at a specific size and beyond (large), and ones that are tying their mission directly to the work of the for profit business (in other words, the program work winds up making money).

We fundraisers are always listening for new fundraising (and friend-raising) methods. Us grant writers, specifically, are equally eager to be certain that the organizations that we write grant proposals for remain of interest to our past and potential grant donors. In aiming to be more self sufficient, as Pew and Kauffman Foundations encouraged, some of us went too far down the wrong road (at the expense of our missions). That's OK as long as we're willing to admit our mistakes, as non profit agencies, and get back to being mission-focused. Ultimately, as you and I know, no donor (grant donor or other) will continue to support us if we do not meet the need in our community that our mission statements address. This is first, and foremost.

Septemeber 1, 2009 Addition to This Post:
See The Foundation Center's article Social Business Wins Big Investment for a social enterprise success story! The points made, in this post, speak to what social venture investors are described as looking to fund, in this linked article.

For Journalists and Media Pros; Better Reporting On Trauma; The Dart Center Ochberg Fellowship

From The Foundation Center...

Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma Invites Applications for Ochberg Fellowships

Deadline: July 20, 2007

The Dart Center Ochberg Fellowship has been established by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies ( http://www.istss.org/ ) and the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma ( http://www.dartcenter.org/ ) in order to build a cohort of journalists better prepared to report responsibly and credibly on violence and traumatic events -- on crime, family violence,
natural disasters and accidents, war, and genocide.

The Dart Center provides six or more expense-paid fellowships to mid-career journalists who want to apply knowledge of emotional trauma to improving coverage of violent events.

Fellowships are open to print and broadcast reporters, photographers, editors, and producers with at least five years of journalism experience. Fellows will attend a two-day seminar on the role emotional trauma plays in coverage of violent events, then will have access to all events and speakers in the annual conference of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

The 2007 Seminar will take place November 12-17, 2007, in Baltimore, Maryland. Visit the Dart Center Web site for complete program information.

RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10007534/dartcenter

Robert Wood Johnson Offers Multi-Sciences Collaboration Research for Health, 2 Year Scholar Appointments

From The Foundation Center...

Applications Invited for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars

Deadline: October 12, 2007

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ( http://www.rwjf.org/ ) Health & Society Scholars program is designed to build the nation's capacity for research, leadership, and policy change to address the broad range of factors that affect health.

The program is based on the principle that progress in the field of population health depends on collaboration and exchange among the social, behavioral, biological, and health sciences. Its goal is to improve health by training scholars to rigorously investigate the connections among genetic, behavioral, environmental, economic, and social determinants of health; and to develop, evaluate, and disseminate knowledge and interventions based on integration of these determinants.

The program is intended to produce leaders who will change the questions asked, the methods employed to analyze problems, and the range of solutions designed to reduce population health disparities and improve the health of all Americans.

To be eligible, scholars must have completed their doctoral training by the time of entry into the program (August or September 2008) in one of a variety of fields, including, but not limited, to the behavioral and social sciences, the biological and natural sciences, health professions, public policy, public health, history, and ethics; have significant research experience; have clearly connected their research interests to substantive population health concerns; and be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its territories.

Up to eighteen scholars will be selected for two-year appointments to begin in the fall of 2008. Scholars receive an annual stipend of $83,000 in year one and $86,000 in year two.

Visit the RWJF Web site for complete program guidelines. Applications will be accepted online beginning July 13, 2007.

RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10007530/rwjf

Grants to Benefit Migratory Birds and Their Habitats

From The Foundation Center...

Applications Invited for ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Migratory Bird Program

Deadline: September 1, 2007 (Pre-proposals)

The ConocoPhillips ( http://www.conocophillips.com/ ) SPIRIT of Conservation Migratory Bird Program provides funding through a competitive application process for projects that benefit migratory birds and their habitats.

Priority will be given to projects that protect or improve management of habitats for migratory birds; result in restoration of habitat through tree or other plantings; benefit declining, threatened, or endangered species at the state or federal level; produce measurable benefits to these species that enhance their recovery; and provide opportunities for employee participation and volunteerism.

Priority will be given to projects in regions where ConocoPhillips has an operating presence, including the following regions in North America: Western Canada; Gulf of Mexico states, including Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama; Prairie states, including Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming; and Delaware Bay.

International projects will be considered for specific geographic areas. The program has $600,000 available in total annual funding.

The minimum grant size is $25,000. Awards will typically be a mixture of private funds from ConocoPhillips and federal funds from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation ( http://www.nfwf.org/ ).

All grant awards require a minimum 1:1 match of cash or contributed goods and services, of which at least 50 percent should be from non-federal sources.

Complete program guidelines and application materials are avail- able at the NFWF Web site.

RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10007528/nfwf