Sunday, March 30, 2008

Be Strategic, Yes, 'Strategic' When You Write the Grant Proposal

I want you to get the money that the nonprofit that you work for, needs. You are writing that grant proposal for one reason - your nonprofit has a need because, really, your community has a need that your organization is setting out to address. For the sake of your cause, for your nonprofit's constituency, get strategic when you go after grant money.

What do I mean by "get strategic when you go after grant money."? You are putting your organization, its mission statement, your track record, and your organization's ability to succeed before the grant donor. Take each and every opportunity, to make your case why your organization should receive the grant. You may reply, 'Arlene, that is my intention,'. 'Great!', I say back. I'm just saying, let's be sure that you're aware of every opportunity that you (or anyone who applies for a grant) truly has.

How do you "get strategic when you go after grant money."?

__ Do your research. Read my post, How Do I Prepare To Find Foundations Who Will Fund Us? and also read my post, Top Ten Ways to Find A Grant Donor Who Will Give to Your Foundation To my point, get strategic and be sure to only apply to grant donors: who give to organizations who serve the geographic region that your organization serves, who states (in its giving guidelines) that they give towards the cause that your organization works towards, and finally, only apply to organizations who have given recently (within the last two years, at the most), given to projects, programs, or items that are similar or the same as the one you're proposing to receive a grant for. If a grant donor does not maintain one of these attributes, apply to them, but after you've applied to grant donors who retain all three of these attributes.

__ Approach each and every foundation as the separate, unique, and different from one another entities that they are. Do not, for example send them all the same proposal. Differentiate proposals, to each grant donor, accordingly, by formatting, including in the content, attaching, etc. only what they request in their giving guidelines. Don't do what they request that applicants avoid doing (e.g. "no phone calls, please"; "please do not send us DVDs with your proposals", etc. - don't do it). Read my posts, Insert Photos? Fancy Paper? Professional Binding? and How Do We Tighten Up Our Grant Proposal?

__ When writing your grant proposal, do not repeat information, do not use large font sized headers, get good at self-editing, and ask someone who you know writes well to edit your proposal. The space that is taken to write your proposal on is an opportunity for your organization, so take advantage of all of it. Think of the piece of paper or (for grant donors who request that grant applications be submitted on their website) the web page response prompt space as an opportunity to make the case why your organization should get their grant, and then some. Get good at stating a lot of information in one sentence, let alone one paragraph. List, for the potential donor, with what attributes, experience, or abilities makes your organization uniquely situated to successfully alleviate or end the root cause of the cause your nonprofit works for. Do not state the obvious, information that is extraneous to the project or item that you need the grant for, etc. Stay on topic (your organization, the information the grant donor requests, and info about the item or project you're asking for the grant for). Read my post, Top Ten Grant Writing Tips From Foundations

__ Follow through in a timely manner providing everything that was requested of your organization and nothing more. For instance, if a potential donor, in response to your grant application, requests your nonprofit's financial audit from 2005, get it to them, in full, quickly. Every interaction with any potential donor (or past donor) reflects on your nonprofit. Never hand anyone in your organization's community cause to be disappointed, unclear, or even upset with it. Read my posts, What Motivates Giving? , and Yet Another Example of Donors Expecting Results .

__ Be professional and polite in all interaction with the potential grant donor. Get organized before speaking with anyone at the foundation, so that you give them what they want, or get what you need, without waisting their time or burdening them. Make interacting with your nonprofit easy and perhaps even pleasant for them. Read my post Healthy Nonprofits Know That Customer Service Is Required...Relationships Are Everything

When applying for grants, always keep in mind that other nonprofits applying for the grant that you're after, when you apply, are probably doing everything that they can to get it; so you should do everything, and then a couple steps more. Being strategic reduces costs to your organization by saving it time, it forces you to get organized, (read my post, Tracking Grant Writing Work & Organization ) and it ultimately helps your organization get a leg up, over other applicants.

Grants for Technology Projects Reducing Entanglement in Oceans Or Other Research Or Projects Reducing Marine Debris

From The Foundation Center...

Marine Debris Research and Technology Grants Program Invites Proposals

Deadline: May 5, 2008 (Pre-proposals)

The Marine Debris Research and Technology Grants Program, a partnership between the NOAA Marine Debris Program ( http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/ ) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation ( http://www.nfwf.org ), provides grants to organizations working on projects to improve understanding of the impacts of marine debris on marine and coastal resources and to reduce and prevent debris in the marine environment.

The program provides competitive grants to finance innovative proposals that seek to work with marinas, ports, and the fishing industry to significantly reduce the occurrence of debris. Technology proposals related to new innovations in gear development designed to prevent loss or entanglement are a high priority and strongly encouraged. In addition, the program is accepting research proposals that address the biological, social, or economic impact of marine debris on species, habitat, and coastal businesses. Priority activity areas include Alaska, the Hawaiian Islands, Puget Sound, the Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, Southeast Florida (Atlantic), and NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries. Eligible applicants are institutions of higher education, other nonprofits, commercial organizations, and state (including Commissions), local, and tribal governments whose projects have the potential to benefit NOAA trust resources through marine debris research and prevention projects. Approximately $800,000 is available in total funding for calendar year 2008. The majority of grants are anticipated to fall between $20,000 and $200,000 each. Applications smaller than $10,000 will not be considered for support.

Visit the NFWF Web site for complete program guidelines and application procedures. RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/15012104/nfwf

Grants for Independent Film Or Radio Projects Relating Critical Social or Political Issues

From The Foundation Center...


Funding Exchange Announces New Guidelines for Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media

Deadline: May 15, 2008

The Funding Exchange's ( http://www.fex.org/ ) Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media supports media activism and grassroots organizing by funding the pre-production and distribution of social issue film and video projects as well as the production and distribution of radio projects made by local, state, national, or international organizations and individual media producers.

The fund invites applications for projects of all genres that address critical social and political issues, combine intellectual clarity with creative use of the medium, and demonstrate understanding of how the production will be used for progressive social justice organizing.

The fund makes grants to radio projects in all production stages and to film and video projects in the pre-production or distribution stages only. The fund does not support production or post-production costs for film and video projects. The fund does not provide support to project budgets or projects of organizations with annual budgets of more than $500,000.
The maximum grant award is $20,000; most grants range between $5,000 to $15,000.

See the Funding Exchange Web site to download complete program guidelines and an application form. RFP Link:
http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/15012097/fex

Sunday, March 23, 2008

What Are Matching Grants? I'll Explain...

What are matching grants? Are they helpful to nonprofit organizations? How does one go about getting one?

What's the deal? I'll answer...

What are matching grants?

If your organization, let's say, submitted a grant proposal four months ago to We Save Vampires Foundation (WSVF) and your organization, Bloodsuckers Included Today and Everyday (BITE) exists to assist vampires' safety from angry mobs, assist in relocating vampires to locales with less humans and a lot of cloud cover, and work on vampires' rights. Let's say that BITE is only three years old and while WSVF has heard about BITE's important work and mission success rate (the rate at which the mission is being met and constituents or the cause is being served). Let's say, though, that in response to BITE's grant proposal, WSVF responded thus:

"We at WSVF are very interested in BITE and its important work. We see the importance
and need for the program that BITE is initiating and seeking grant money for, Vampires Were
People Once, Too. Simply, we will grant BITE $50,000 for its new program, if BITE can
raise a matching grant of $50,000 within a year's time."

In other words, matching grants are grants that are offered, really, as challenges. If a foundation (or any grant donor) offers its grant with the stipulation that in order to receive it, the recipient organization must raise another grant (or other grants, plural) to match their offer amount, this is a challenge or matching grant. Matching grants are sometimes offered as such in their Request for Proposals (RFP's) when a grant is publicly offered, or they're offered in response to a grant application, after a foundation's considered a request, such as WSVF did, above.

Are matching or challenge grants helpful to nonprofit organizations?

Your organization has not been singled out negatively. Most every nonprofit that raises donations through grants, is offered a challenge grant sooner or later, and then probably again, later.

Yes, in reality, no matter what your initial reaction is to receiving the challenge may have been, matching or challenge grants are good opportunities for nonprofit organizations. I know; you'd much rather have just received the grant money. Here's the thing; you actually have, with the requirement that you double what you just received. I know; getting the grant means you now have to go raise another grant (or more). Think of it this way; the grant donor that's offered a challenge or matching grant has just helped your organization set another fundraising goal that your group has already achieved once. The pressure that comes with knowing that when you raise more money you're already promised a specific amount is very powerful. Your organization can use this promised support as a positive motivation. A challenge or matching grant is a donation coming from a potential future donor (who your organization will want to develop a strong relationship with for potential future support. Perhaps their next grant will not be a matching grant but just support given after an application is submitted). Take advantage of all of your organization's fundraising efforts, so far, and follow through - raise all of the money.

How does an organization acquire a challenge or matching grant?

Let's return to our hypothetical scenario, above. WSVF (the potential grant donor) has promised $50,000 if BITE (the nonprofit applying for a grant for a new program) can raise an additional $50,000 within a year.

The grant application response letter, that BITE received, is quoted, in part, above. The letter will likely state when the $50,000 will be paid to BITE if it does raise the challenge grant of an additional $50,000 to their own. It probably also states why they'd like the additional grant money raised, but it may not. When a nonprofit receives any correspondence from a potential donor, about a donation, and does not understand it fully - definitely contact the donor and ask for clarifications. If the donor prefers contact through email, email them and ask every question that you have. If they don't mind phone calls, or encourage them, call and ask to speak to whomever signed the offer letter. Get clarification as to what the terms of the offer are, when their grant would be paid to your organization if you raise the match challenge, and ask why they're requiring the matching grant, before they'll donate.

Potential grant donors offer challenge grants for many different reasons. Their reason for challenging your organization may be (any one or several of the following):
- The grant donor always asks every grant recipient to match their donation - it's standard operation for them.
- They believe in your organization, its proposed use of the grant, and want to see if others in the community do, as well (which is sometimes referred to as community support, community buy-in, etc.).
- The potential grant donor wants to see your organization's ability to raise money, or specifically raise money for the proposed program, project, or item that you've requested grant money from them for. They think the proposed project, program, or item is a good solution to the issue it will help or solve, in your community.
- They may believe that your budget is short of what will really be necessary to successfully pull off whatever it is that your group wants the grant money for. They believe in the need for what you're proposing and in the good it will do - they just don't want to see it fail once it's underway.
- Etc.
I always remind readers that grant donors talk to one another. Not only are they in the same industry, they are curious about what other grant donors think of your organization. Maybe another foundation has funded your organization before, and they want to know what their experience was. Or, maybe they want to know what others have heard about your organization's reputation, accountability, successes, honesty, transparency, etc.
Once you understand where this potential donor is coming from, step up to the plate. Go back to the other potential grant donors that you've applied to for this program, and send them a very short but clear letter updating them. State that in response to the application you sent to WSVF (per our above example), they've offered a challenge to BITE and that if able to match it, WSVF will grant $50,000. Often other foundations will see even a challenge grant as a lead donation and give the match or part of it. A lead donation is one where once the first large donation is received for a campaign or new program, etc. other donors begin to give because they see someone they respect gave in larger amounts. Community buy-in can be demonstrated to other potential donors by simply receiving a challenge grant.
If your organization only applied for the one grant (and you should never just apply for grants from just one source - diversify and up your odds in getting a grant by applying to at least two potential grant donors for one need), research which other grant donors, who give to organizations serving your region, and who fund your cause and give money to whatever thing you need the grant for (e.g. new building (capital campaign), new program, children's' clothing, etc.). Apply to at least two other potential grant donors, stating clearly that a challenge grant has been offered to your organization, in what amount, and by which foundation (or whomever) in both their proposals and budgets.
Meeting the challenge and raising the matching grant involves submitting more grant proposals and is absolutely doable. It's done all of the time.
Above all, never forget that a challenge grant is not a foundation responding to your application with a clear "no". (And even a clear "no" is not a bad thing - every time you apply for a grant, you're putting information about your organization in front of a future potential donor. Apply to them again, if you receive a "no" now). A challenge grant is an opportunity and shouldn't be looked at as any less.

Grants to Build Greenways

From The Foundation Center...

Conservation Fund Accepting Applications for Kodak American Greenways Awards

Program Deadline: June 15, 2008

The Kodak American Greenways Awards Program, a partnership project of the Eastman Kodak Company ( http://www.kodak.com/ ), the Conservation Fund ( http://www.conservationfund.org/ ), and the National Geographic Society (http://nationalgeographic.com/ ), provides small grants to stimulate the planning and design of greenways in communities throughout America.

Grants may be used for activities such as mapping, ecological assessments, surveying, conferences, and design activities; developing brochures, interpretative displays, audio-visual productions, or public opinion surveys; and hiring consultants, incorporating land trusts, building infrastructure (e.g., a foot bridge or bike path), or other creative projects. In general, grants can be used for all appropriate expenses needed to complete a greenway project, including planning, technical assistance, legal, and other costs.

Grant recipients are selected according to criteria that include the importance of the project to local greenway development efforts; demonstrated community support for the project; extent to which the grant will result in matching funds or other support from public or private sources; the likelihood of tangible results; and capacity of the organization to complete the project.

Awards will primarily go to local, regional, or statewide nonprofit organizations. Although public agencies may also apply, community organizations will receive preference. Most grants will range from $500 to $1,000 each; the maximum individual grant award is $2,500.

Visit the Conservation Fund Web site for complete program information. RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10012012/conservation

Thursday, March 13, 2008

How Foundations Can Assist Grassroots Movements Even Better...

I was asked by co-author, Fred Setterberg, to read and review Grassroots Philanthropy Field Notes of a Maverick Grantmaker by Bill Somerville with Fred Setterberg.  I do not know either gentleman but accepted the request as I enjoy exposure to what people are talking and thinking about in philanthropy.

Somerville asks in Chapter 1, "Why isn't the American philanthropic sector doing a much better job?" He retains nearly 50 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, both as a nonprofit executive director, and as a founder and president of Philanthropic Ventures Foundation in Oakland. As they say in the philanthropic world, 'he's been on both sides'. The book is a quick easy read.

His response to his question is part empathy to the role and work that foundations play and do, and part suggestions based on experience.

As a fundraising professional who has not worked for a foundation, it is an interesting read. The book is a natural discussion and set of suggestions for those of us working for foundations. For those of us working for nonprofits, the book is an interesting peek inside the typical grantmaking machine (bureaucracy, process, politics, and even mindset).

Our grantmaking maverick, Somerville, makes grants by getting out of the office at least 30% of his work week, talking with and listening to people working on a given issue, lessening the paperwork to get the money where it's needed, embracing risk, focusing on ideas instead of problems, and taking initiative.

Getting out of the office is "continuing education as a grantmaker." He funds people, not proposals. "Grant" is a poor term. Philanthropy is investing. "Results is a "who" thing." All of these truths require getting out of the office to talk to people who are not necessarily the local 'star' of the philanthropic sector, but rather very good at working for the cause that they do. Excellent people are the "first requirement for any program that I am seriously considering funding."

Our communities need money quickly. Foundations lumber along, mostly encumbered by the grant cycle and its paperwork. Somerville suggests operational, staffing, grant application, and application review methods that lessen the paperwork and expedite getting the money where it's needed.

Foundations want to proceed cautiously but experience shows that leaps and bounds in any progress' cause occurs when leaders are willing to take risks. Foundations need to take more risks. Grants should be given to creative ideas, potential for high-yield impact, and thorough research and lasting relationships. Foundations may respond that this is what they do. But, Somerville asks, why haven't foundations really dug into universal health care, the erosion of Constitutional rights, or poverty? It is not easy to do so, politically. "Every success was a risk when it started."

Foundations should emphasize what they want to happen and how they will bring it to be, instead of being problem based. Foundations, today, are reactive; funding once an issue has reached critical mass.

Foundations who conduct studies to determine what needs exist in their communities, today, are letting the needs assessment become their work, instead of acting. Foundations, instead, should take initiative by convening the nonprofits working on a given cause.

His book is impassioned and speaks from experience. As a professional who's submitted hundreds of letters of inquiry, proposals, and attempted to approach each foundation as I've understood they want to be dealt with; I agree with what Somerville proposes. Foundations are bogged down by bureaucracy and process. I've often been amazed at the larger grant amounts that are given without anyone from the foundation visiting a nonprofit's office, let alone even talking with a nonprofit executive or board member. The process is the thing.

Somerville makes the point that foundation leaders are often sheltered, retaining job security as their employer has a huge endowment, and loathe to look at their organization with a critical eye. He urges that foundation leaders and staff get out of the office to find out for themselves what the cause really is, where the money is truly needed, ask questions, listen, and observe. He wants foundation staff to be less drone and more intuitive, open, risk takers. I like it.

The grassroots level of the nonprofit sector is full of passion, people trying to learn all of the 'how to's' of running a nonprofit, and they're the front line. They're holding the hand of the woman who just lost her home with her two children in tow. They're picking the litter up off of a once vibrant waterway that has been shunned, locally. Anything that can keep these front line soldiers going, and better yet, actually helping the cause - is worth a try.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Top 10 Resources to Find a Good Grant Writer

[Note: Always check any potential hire's credentials, and check out the resource that you receive a referral for a hire from.]

In order to begin to understand what you should do when hiring a grant writer, read the following two posts:

What Are the Steps to Hiring A Grant Writer?http://thegrantplant.blogspot.com/2004/07/what-are-steps-to-hiring-grant-writer.html

Pricing Grant Writers - What Should We Pay?http://thegrantplant.blogspot.com/2007/07/pricing-grant-writers-what-should-we.html

Top 10 Resources to Find a Good Grant Writer:

10. Talk with colleagues in your local nonprofit sector (or if you live in a small town, talk with your colleagues in the nearby larger town or city) and ask them which grant writer they've worked with that they'd recommend. Ask why they'd recommend them.

9. Look up whether there is a professional grant writers' affiliation in your region (again, look into the larger nearby town if you live in a smaller community). If there is (e.g. Puget Sound Grantwriters Association, Upstate New York Grantwriters Association, etc.) ask if they have a list of consulting grant writers. Usually they won't make referrals, but they will provide a list of members who are consulting.

8. Call a university who has worked with organizations working on the same cause as yours' is, and ask which grant writers they would recommend.

7. Whether your nonprofit is a United Way agency or not, call your local United Way and ask one of their program managers if they can comfortably recommend a grant writer or two who they've worked with.

6. Contact a nearby regional (if not local) nonprofit resource center or organization (e.g. in Sacramento Nonprofit Resource Center, Nonprofit Resource Center of Alabama, Nonprofit Resource Center of Western Virginia, etc.) and ask whether they have a list of member professional grant writers.

5. Call your local community foundation (and if there isn't one near you, call the community foundation in the closest large city to your town). e.g. The Seattle Foundation, Lincoln Community Foundation , or The Rhode Island Foundation, etc.

4. Search the Internet for professional, accomplished grant writers who have referrals, who know your cause, who know grant donors who fund your cause, and who works in your geographic region. How do you find these qualities? Search for them (e.g. "grant writer, arts, Los Angeles"). Also, when you talk with them, ask them about these qualities. Get and follow up with their referrals!! Check everything out!

3. If there is a respected foundation that your organization has partnered with in the past (who your group received a grant from), ask one of their program managers which grant writers they know do excellent work. Foundations see all kinds of grant applications; they know who is good at applying for grants.

2. American Association of Grant Professionals is a great professional national grantwriters affiliation. They offer their member consultants' list. As always, talk to a few potential hires, get references and follow up with them.

1. The most respected/ethical/reputable professional fundraising affiliation the U.S. is the Association of Fundraising Professionals. They provide a list of AFP affiliated professional fundraising consultants. You can search for the service you need (grant writing) by geographic location. When you do contact a potential grantwriter, ask the writers if they have experience seeking grants for whichever cause you work for in the region that your organization serves. I encourage you to call a few of the grant writers, listed there. Always ask for referrals. Cursor down to the bottom of the page to search. The link to their consultants' list is:
http://www.afpnet.org/ConsultantDirectory/Search.cfm?folder_id=940

Every Day An American or Canadian Nonprofit Will Win $500 Worth of Promotion Items

Promotional Products Retailer 4imprint Accepting In-Kind Grant Applications

Deadline: Ongoing

4imprint ( http://www.4imprint.com/ ) is now accepting applications for its 2008 one-by-one charitable giving program. For the third year in a row, the online and catalog promotional pro- ducts retailer will award a $500 in-kind grant every business day of 2008 to a charitable organization in the United States or Canada. In kind items include polo tees, mugs, notebooks, etc. and more.

In 2007, 4imprint awarded in-kind grants totaling $138,000 to nearly three hundred schools and universities, hospitals and health care organizations, children's charities and mentoring organizations, churches, civic groups, and others. In-kind grants were awarded to organizations across North America, in forty-six states, the District of Columbia, and five Canadian provinces.

Applications are due two months before the requested donation is needed. In order to be eligible for a donation, an applicant must be employed by or be a member of the board of directors of a 501(c)(3) organization, school, registered Canadian charity/ society, or religious organization, and must be at least 18 years of age.

Organizations interested in applying for a grant are invited to visit the program's Web site.

RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10011731/onebyone

Grants for Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

From The Foundation Center...

Open Society Institute Seeks Proposals for Substance Abuse Treatment Program

Deadline: May 1, 2008

The Open Society Institute ( http://www.soros.org/ ) is seeking new ideas for its Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap initiative. This groundbreaking $10 million program is designed to provide greater access to high-quality treatment for drug and alcohol addiction to all who need it.

According to a recent national survey, four out of the five Americans who need help for substance abuse problems are unable to get addiction treatment -- either due to lack of health insurance, inadequate insurance, or lack of addiction treatment in their communities.

Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap grant applicants must identify a common geographic area within which they will affect change; partnerships at the state, county, or city level are welcome to apply.

Applicants are asked to demonstrate success and assess their level of readiness on two key strategies: 1) building awareness of the treatment gap among stakeholders; and 2) the implementation of effective strategies for increasing insurance coverage, increasing government appropriations, and/or improving the efficiency and effectiveness of treatment available. Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap will support a wide range of projects and partnerships that meet the program's goals. Eligible applicants are required to show proof of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, government, or quasi-public authority status; and have a scope of responsibility that includes a cohesive governmental jurisdiction (e.g., city, county, state, tribal jurisdiction).

A minimum of six grants will be awarded through this call for proposals. Grants of up to $600,000 each will be awarded for the entirety of the grant period, including overhead costs. A copy of the Request for Proposals outlining eligibility criteria, key dates, and submission requirements is available at the Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap Web site.

RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10011725/opensoc

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Top Ten Ways to Find a Grant Donor Who Will Give to Your Nonprofit

10. Have done your homework - whatever your organization knows it needs grant money for (e.g. new program, ten new wheelchairs, a capital campaign (new building), etc.) be sure to have planned out: the timeline, staff, action items, expected results, research the target audience, understand what the real need in the community is that your new item/program is addressing, etc.

9. Research foundations, corporations, etc. who give grants. Do not print a list of foundations who operate near your town and decide the organizations on the list are who you're nonprofit is applying to for grants. Create a list of foundations who:

Your organization should begin the grant application process by submitting Letters of Inquiry (LOI's) (or initially approach the potential donor how they prefer to be approached, according to their giving guidelines), to the grant donors who meet all three criteria, above.

8. Write an honest, thorough, succinct, easy to read grant proposal and tailor an original (master template) according to each foundation's guidelines' directions. All foundations are different from one another. One foundation will want you to include the list of your organization's Board of Directors, and another won't. They all require different things - read each foundation's giving guidelines.

7. Get organized. Upon receiving responses (and some are always 'we are sorry but...' and 'please go ahead and apply') from foundations to your initial contact; plan out when each application that your organization has been invited to submit is due, or when you want to have it 100% completed by (to get it into the mail, to arrive on time).

6. Prepare and educate any executive director and board members who may meet with foundation (or grant donor) representatives. Sometimes grant donors want to see a site location (when considering giving to a capital campaign, for instance), or interview organization leaders to get a feel for the organization's culture, management style, openness, etc. Get each of your organization's leaders information on the foundation, on the grant that you're applying for, and help them with talking points. They should speak honestly from the heart about why they're with your organization, answer all questions, remain open. No executive director or board member should expect to do a 'perfect' interview. Rather, they are the 'cherry on the sundae' to the organization's reputation, successes, etc. and the grant application. They should try to relax and enjoy the talk, if they can; when a potential donor wants to meet with your organization - it's encouraging and a good sign!

5. Be grateful for the foundations who decline your application. When you receive a grant it's a great feeling. The reason why I say 'be grateful for the declines, too' is that they remain a potential grant donor to your organization now, just as they were when you applied. During your foundation research (prospecting) you determined that they are. So, give it a couple of days and call their program manager (if the foundation accepts calls - look in their giving guidelines to find out) and say 'thank you for reviewing our application, we plan on applying during the next giving cycle that we're allowed to (some foundations only allow an application a year, others don't care how often you apply), could you let me know why our application was not granted or give me some suggestions?' It's OK to do this. It allows you to understand better what they want and at the very least, they've read what your organization does. You always want potential donors to know about your organization and what it does. You've done this much. Apply again.

4. Manage any grant that your group receives. It's a donation from a potential future donor to your organization. Do not spend the grant on anything other than what you stated it would be spent on, in the proposal. Create a way to track the program, project, items, etc. that you received the grant for. Provide clients with a survey asking about the program. Track who receives a new wheelchair, ask the owner for feedback on it - gather stats on the people benefiting from the grant support. Whether the donor asks for it or not, provide the grant donor with an end of grant report (state what their money was spent on, what it helped to achieve, state how you know these data points, and say 'thank you').

3. Communicate with grant donors. If something 'bad' happens (e.g. major funding for the program falls through, the site that you were going to build your org's new building got bought from under your organization, etc.) call up the foundation and tell them. Be proactive, be forthright, and remember that you're trying to get a donation now but you want a good relationship with any potential donor and to do that - you must be honest. You don't want them to find out about the mishap through another source. Besides, I've literally heard more than once, that projects or programs that were in jeopardy were saved by the potential grant donor because they believed in the new program/project so much. They knew that the need existed in our community.

2. Do not send grant donors things like newsletters, annual appeal letters, etc. after they've given to your organization. They don't need extra mail. Keep a relationship up with their program manager but don't annoy them. Develop the donor to give again in the future.

1. Give your organization enough time to be successful. Grant writing is not a quick fix fundraising method. Be sure to plan ahead. Be sure to plan out the timeline. Give yourself at least three months to research and write; and give the foundation 3 - 6 months to decide whether they'll give the grant or not. Expect these time lines. They're pretty common.

Grants for Green Building Research

From The Foundation Center...

U.S. Green Building Council Commits Additional $1 Million to Fund Green Building Research

Deadlines: March 6, 2008 (Pre-proposal Submissions); Grant pre-proposals will be accepted from February 12 through March 6, 2008.

The U.S. Green Building Council ( http://www.usgbc.org/ ), a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation, has doubled its funding commitment for green building research grants to be awarded in 2008 to a total of $2 million.

Of the additional $1 million in grants, $500,000 has been allocated for K-12 school facility research related to occupant impacts. The Green Building Research Fund was created to spur research that will advance sustainable building practices and encourage market transformation. Matching funds from other sources are encouraged in order to maximize the potential of USGBC's contribution toward filling critical research gaps. The research will result in knowledge, policies, technologies, and tools that have an immediate and positive impact on sustainable building development, design, construction, and operation. A portfolio of projects will be selected. Several grants will be awarded in two general ranges: $50,000 to $150,000, and $150,000 to $250,000 (total one-time, non-renewable grant distributed throughout the project timeline). A quarter ($500,000) of the $2 million total is reserved for K-12 school research relating to occupant impacts.

Academic, nonprofit, and other research institutions are the primary recipient audience for the grants. For-profit entities are permitted to apply but are strongly encouraged to partner with academic or nonprofit institutions and must clearly describe public versus private benefits. Grant pre-proposals will be accepted from February 12 through March 6, 2008. Selected applicants will be asked to submit comprehensive proposals for the final phase of the selection process.

Visit the Green Building Council Web site for the Request for Proposals and application procedures.

RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10011608/usgbc

Grants for Model Programs or Collaborators Assiting Children Exposed to Domestic Violence

From The Foundation Center...

Avon Foundation Offers Support to Assist Children Affected by Domestic Violence

Deadline: March 31, 2008

The Avon Foundation ( http://www.avonfoundation.org/ ) launched the Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program in 2004 to support domestic violence awareness, education, direct services, and prevention programs. As part of the Speak Out program, the foundation launched the national Not Seen, Not Heard: Helping Children of Domestic Violence program in 2005 to assist the children of domestic violence.

The Avon Foundation is seeking proposals from nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations that assist children who have been exposed to or are victims of domestic violence. For 2008, the foundation will focus on the following strategic priority: innovative coordinated-response models between domestic violence organizations and organizations that assist child victims of abuse and/or children witnesses of domestic violence.

Proposals will be accepted from domestic violence organizations that have demonstrated experience assisting domestic violence victims and that are developing or expanding a model of collaboration to include agencies that assist child victims of abuse and/or children witnesses to domestic violence in order to provide therapeutic services to the children; offer services to both the children and the non-offending adult caregiver, including family support and parent education; are willing to utilize a licensed provider of counseling and specific modalities of treat- ment and have linkages with at least one other government and one other nonprofit organization; and are willing to serve as a national model.

Grant amounts range from $10,000 to $50,000 each, depending on the size, scope, and impact of the program proposed. Grants are non-renewable. However, an organization may submit a new proposal the following year for continued funding. To be considered for funding, applicants must submit a proposal before April 1, 2008.

Visit the Avon Foundation Web site for complete program information.

RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10011601/avoncompany

Grants for Programs or Collaborators Providing Assistance to Children Exposed to Domestic Violence

From The Foundation Center...



Avon Foundation Offers Support to Assist Children Affected by Domestic Violence



Deadline: March 31, 2008



The Avon Foundation ( http://www.avonfoundation.org/ ) launched the Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program in 2004 to support domestic violence awareness, education, direct services, and prevention programs. As part of the Speak Out program, the foundation launched the national Not Seen, Not Heard: Helping Children of Domestic Violence program in 2005 to assist the children of domestic violence.



The Avon Foundation is seeking proposals from nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations that assist children who have been exposed to or are victims of domestic violence. For 2008, the foundation will focus on the following strategic priority: innovative coordinated-response models between domestic violence organizations and organizations that assist child victims of abuse and/or children witnesses of domestic violence.



Proposals will be accepted from domestic violence organizations that have demonstrated experience assisting domestic violence victims and that are developing or expanding a model of collaboration to include agencies that assist child victims of abuse and/or children witnesses to domestic violence in order to provide therapeutic services to the children; offer services to both the children and the non-offending adult caregiver, including family support and parent education; are willing to utilize a licensed provider of counseling and specific modalities of treat- ment and have linkages with at least one other government and one other nonprofit organization; and are willing to serve as a national model.



Grant amounts range from $10,000 to $50,000 each, depending on the size, scope, and impact of the program proposed. Grants are non-renewable. However, an organization may submit a new proposal the following year for continued funding.



To be considered for funding, applicants must submit a proposal before April 1, 2008. Visit the Avon Foundation Web site for complete program information.



RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10011601/avoncompany