Sunday, August 30, 2009

Senator Ted Kennedy's Gifts to Those He Cared About Are Available to Us Nonprofits, To Improve Our Agencies, Too

With the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy there have been many memorials, this week. No matter what you think of Ted Kennedy, because they are a family that values active public service, and as they are people who sincerely mean well for the community at large, there are lessons in the memorials for the nonprofit sector.

Like so many I was inspired by his son, Ted's, eulogy. Perhaps the most moving memory that he shared was that of his father, after the loss of Ted Jr.'s own leg, sledded with him saying, after Ted Jr. lost his confidence and wanted to give up; 'I know you can do it'... 'I know you could do anything'. Having a parent behind you is a gift, but of course not all of us grew up with this support and affirmation. Being able to provide this affirmation and belief in oneself, to yourself, but also giving affirmation to the ones in your life that you believe in is the larger lesson, here. The benefit of the affirmation would be nice but the example that Kennedy set, specifically, what he gave his son, is now a challenge before each of us, and it's a challenge that we can take up with tremendous success both in our personal lives, but also through the work of our agencies in our communities.

Maria Schriver spoke on Meet the Press, today, about how both her uncle, Teddy, and her mother, Eunice left her with the lesson (among other lessons) that in this day and age of 'everything must be fast' or 'we must receive a quick return' both her mother (Eunice's work for the equal rights of those with intellectual disabilities) and her uncle (Ted Kennedy's work to provide good health care to all) fought over the course of all of their years for what they believed in. Despite barriers, difficulties, critical press, and more adversity during each of their efforts, they each persevered undaunted for years and years. Even the most jaded person can appreciate this point. Every effort can be difficult and usually faces at least some adversity. True belief in the idea, a commitment to the work to be done, and knowing (not just liking, but knowing) the goal is the work of each and every nonprofit.

Shriver said that her mother Eunice always asked, her, as she grew up and as she began her career and community work, 'what's the idea?' and 'you have to have an idea'. This is incredibly pertinent to nonprofit sector organizational development, mission development, program development, and even fundraising - that it occurred to me just how deeply ingrained community work must be in their family's values, but also day to day lives.

Of course, many of the nonprofits around the world that provide support, counsel, assistance or a lifeline to others (people, families, animals, the elderly, etc.) risk volunteer and staff burn out, every day, each day, because it is exhausting for anyone to repeatedly learn of the horrors others live through, while maintaining the capacity to give to those needing help without being, themselves, crushed eventually (mentally, emotionally, physically, etc.). Shriver said of her uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy, that he had such a tremendous capacity for others' difficulties and was compassionate with those who were needing help or could not help themselves because of pains and personal tragedies that he, himself, lived through. He knew what it was like to be treated badly, or to be the victim of tragedy, without recourse. She said he was an imperfect man. She spoke of his tremendous faith as being a great pillar for him, personally, during the various tragedies that he had to survive. His son spoke, in his eulogy, of another of his father's lessons (gifts) to him: turn tragedies into something that is good. While I do not think for a moment that something that may sound like a simple platitude can relieve anyone of their compassion burnout (such as care givers experience, eventually) - I do think there is another challenge in this lesson, for any of us willing to take it up. The tragedy is being turned into something good each time any victim is helped out of harm's way.

The country lost a tremendous patriot, this week. His legacy is his accomplishments for the 'common person', but the lessons he left for his family are there for us, in our sector, to learn from, too. We, in the nonprofit sector, can use the examples he left and the lessons he shared to improve our organizations' human resources management, how we treat ourselves and others, and to strengthen our resolve to deliver on our mission statements.

Grants for Elementary or Middle School Science Teachers

From The Foundation Center...

Deadline: January 18, 2010

Toyota TAPESTRY Program Accepting Entries for the 20th Annual Science Grant Competition

The Toyota TAPESTRY Grants for Science Teachers program, one of the largest science teacher grant programs in the United States, is now accepting entries for the 2009-2010 competition. Sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. and administered by the National Science Teachers Association, the program offers grants of up to $10,000 each to K-12 teachers for innovative science projects that enhance science education in their school and/or district over a one-year period.

Fifty large grants and a minimum of 20 mini-grants totaling $550,000 will be awarded this year. Individual science teachers or a team of up to five teachers can submit proposals in one of three categories: physical science application; environmental science education; and integrating literacy and science. A judging panel convened by the NSTA will select the award-winning projects based on several criteria, including their innovative approach in teaching science and ability to create a stimulating and hands-on learning environment.

Applicants must either be an elementary teacher who teaches science in the classroom or a middle or high school science teacher. Applicants must be residents of one of the 50 states or a resident of Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; or the U.S. territories including American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

For more information about the Toyota TAPESTRY Grants for Science Teachers program or to learn how to apply, visit the NSTA Web site.

Contact:
Link to Complete RFP

Sunday, August 23, 2009

How To Approach Grant Donors That Are Not Accepting Grant Applications and Get Their Attention

Wanting to expand your grant raising horizons but run into many potential grant donors that indicate they may give to your nonprofit, only to find in the fine print, later, that they only give to pre-selected organizations (or they do not accept unsolicited grant proposals, or they are not accepting grant applications at this time)? Fear not! Yes, they may seem implacable but the reality is there is a way to get your organization in front of most any grant donor even if they are not accepting grant applications.

If, as you conduct research into which grant donors would potentially be more likely to give to your nonprofit (this process is called 'prospecting') you run into a few potential donors whose giving guidelines state three important indicators that they are likely to give to your nonprofit: they fund causes such as the one(s) your nonprofit works on, they fund the types of programs or projects that you are writing the grant proposal to fund, and they fund nonprofits serving the geographic region that yours' is going to serve through your proposed project or program. When a potential donor, (you determine through prospecting) has given recently (within a year or so) to organizations doing similar work as yours' is, funding programs like you are aiming to fund with grants - they are providing through their recent giving pattern even more indication that they are likely to give to your organization. These are the foundations your organization should apply to - otherwise, you are shooting time, resources, energy, and hope into the abyss and not focusing your grant seeking work where you should - by applying only to grant donors who demonstrate that they are likely to give to your agency for the work its proposing to do (and where it will do it).

Especially today, in this economy, it is not unusual to find more than a few foundations who appear like they'd be likely to give grants to your agency - only to see in fine print (usually in their giving guidelines) that they are not accepting grant applications right now (or are not accepting unsolicited applications). It can be very frustrating.

Your first thought may be, 'well, they would probably appreciate granting to us, because we would become partners in the work that they are looking to fund, in order to make the changes in the community that our particular nonprofit is proposing to make!' The frustration, here, is that you apparently can't even get a proposal before their eyes for them to see this for themselves! Or...is this the case...

While it is always best practice to truly follow and do (or don't do) whatever a grant donor's giving guidelines asserts it prefers (or doesn't want); you can do a few things to get your agency's name; its goals; and its successes, potential, integrity, and high qualifications in front of any grant donor whether they are accepting any eligible agency's grant application, during this giving cycle, or not.

Bear in mind that in all interactions, every nonprofit should conduct all of its work (fundraising, programs promoting, volunteer raising, etc.) in a professional, reasonable, fair, open, and honest manner. As you, other staff, volunteers, or leadership from your agency interact with the public in any way (on the phone, in web or written content, face to face, etc.) each and all representatives of the nonprofit should know basic customer service skills and be able to conduct them (and provide a training in this - public facing is a critical part of any nonprofit's work but surprisingly not everyone knows these basic 'must have' skills to interact with the world beyond the office). Everyone representing the agency should be polite, courteous, professional without being pushy, confident about the organization's capabilities and its mission, and should know how to approach anyone - say a quick line or two about the nonprofit (also called an elevator speech) - hand out a business card or agency brochure and then thank the person and leave well enough alone. Keep in mind, too, that approaching anyone in a professional and affable manner simply to introduce yourself and your agency (and its important work in the community) is 'how business gets done' in any sector, including the nonprofit sector. It's not invasive or rude to do so, as long as it isn't in the middle of the person speaking, or as they are dashing out the door in a hurry, or some other already occupied or busy situation. Just be thoughtful, clear, but polite in your interactions and your agency will begin a series of new connections in the community.

Having said this, the following are ways that any nonprofit can still get its name, goals, successes, and great potential in front of even the most stalwart grant donors who pre-select which nonprofits can apply for their grants...

__ Find out (through networking with colleagues or researching the regional newspaper archives) where the grant donor's board members present, what professional affiliation conferences they attend, or what associations they are active members in and make sure that one of your organization's leadership attends one or two of these opportunities and makes professional, friendly, clear, and concise contact with their organization's leader(s). You could approach them, say hello, state that you are familiar with their work via X Foundation in the community, and that you wanted to be sure they were aware of your agency's work (and then provide them with the quick but clear elevator speech). Hand them your card, get theirs' if it's appropriate, and follow up with them in a few days either through e-mail or a phone call. Again, do not hound anyone but simply say something like, 'it was a pleasure to meet you at the Champions of the Environment meeting this past Wednesday,' and attach a one page, clear, and concise letter or outline that states what your agency is working on now, what it's current goals are, its recent successes, its talent pool and potential for great success, and how they can follow up with your organization (usually suggesting that they speak ('peer to peer') with a leader of the agency).

__ Conduct a marketing campaign that states the same information as the suggested attachment in the follow up e-mail, as described in the point made in the paragraph, above (begins "Find out (through networking..."). The power of marketing is that your agency gets its name, successes, and goals before everyone in the community that the marketing is conducted in. This means that the untapped donors, who may have never heard of your organization, the yet not yet recruited volunteers, future board members, and potential grant donors who do not accept unsolicited grant proposals learn everything about your agency that you state in your marketing campaign. Marketing campaigns, when conducted well, return on the investment in the campaign usually many fold. They are a strategic, smart, modern, and effective way to recruit new talent and blood but to also raise more and new donors.

__ Speak to professional colleagues working at other nonprofits, or ask your own board members, or ask your donor base or volunteer base and find someone who has a relationship with a leader working for the grant donor and ask if they would provide an introduction for you (or a key leader in your agency). Keep asking around - you'd be surprised at the connections that exist in your own organization that could become very fruitful leads. You will eventually find one, I bet.

__ Call the foundation's office and respectfully ask if you may submit a one page letter of introduction to your nonprofit for their programs staff to review for consideration. Some foundations that do not accept unsolicited grant proposals accept letters of introduction in order to be sure that they know what nonprofits exist that they could potentially work with in the community. Remember, they are looking for successful nonprofits partners to give to and if they don't know of your organization but would appreciate knowing about it and its work - this furthers their foundation's mission, too. It's a win win for both agencies but also for the community.

In all fundraising there are potential donors who have established pre-existing relationships with other nonprofits. This is how the community gets the benefit of the various nonprofits that serve them. There isn't a need to look at these existing beneficiary nonprofits as competitors or better than your agency. The key is to understand that the donor's goal is simply to really create effective, sustainable, and real change in the community. When your nonprofit demonstrates to any and all potential donors (including potential grant donors) that it will meet a real unmet need in an efficient and honest manner, and has the talent and ability to succeed at this - then you have truly put your nonprofit at 'the head of the line' for any donor's consideration. This is the key.

Grants for Nonprofits, Youth Groups, or Schools Working With Youth Doing Student-Led Service Learning Project

From The Foundation Center...

Deadline: October 2, 2009

Applications Invited for State Farm's Youth Advisory Board Service-Learning Grants Program

The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is a group of thirty diverse youth that helps create and oversee a State Farm-funded grantmaking initiative for student-led service learning projects in the United States as well as Alberta, New Brunswick, and Ontario, Canada.

Grants are available for projects that address the issues of environmental responsibility, natural and societal disaster preparedness, driver safety, financial education, and accessing higher education/closing the achievement gap.

All nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations as well as Canadian charitable organizations, educational institutions, and governmental entities are eligible to receive grant funding. The primary applicant should be either an educator who currently teaches in a public K-12, public charter, or higher education institution; or a school-based service-learning coordinator whose primary role is to coordinate service-learning projects in a public, charter, or higher education institution. Nonprofit organizations are eligible if they are able to demonstrate how they plan to actively interact with students in public K-12 schools.

Grants will range from $25,000 to $100,000 each. The number of grants to be awarded will depend on the number and quality of requests received. However, at least one service-learning project will be funded in each of the thirteen State Farm zones, which include the three provinces in Canada.

Visit the Youth Advisory Board Web site for complete program guidelines and online application.

Contact:
Link to Complete RFP

Sunday, August 16, 2009

If A Grant Donor Allows Phone Calls, Call Each Donor Your Agency Is Applying for a Grant From

If the grant donors that your organization has researched and determined would be likely grant donors to your group state in their giving guidelines that they welcome phone calls - take the opportunity to call them before submitting your grant application as a step in the grant application process for that particular grant donor.

Each grant donor is different. Some allow or even prefer if organizations who are going to apply to them call first. Others do not want any phone calls. Make sure that for each organization that your agency is going to apply to, you have researched each grant donor's giving guidelines and you know each grant application recipient's preferences, requirements to apply, and other pertinent application process details.

Before you apply for a grant, plan to call the grant donor (again - only if they allow phone calls). Take time, before calling, to prepare. Never feel, when speaking to any potential donor, like you must memorize anything or like 'if I don't get this "right" I'm going to mess up our getting this grant'. That is simply not true and you'll want to practice replacing catastrophic thinking (or worry) like that with self-supporting talk such as 'this is simply a phone call to initiate an application process and the grant donor welcomes these - so they've conduct thousands of them and understand the pressure a nonprofit is under when applying for a grant' because it's true and they do. Take any pressure off of yourself (and your agency) that you can. How? Tell yourself some truths that clarify how this process really goes. When a nonprofit applies for a grant from any grant donor - that grant donor knows that it's going to support the work that is being done in the community as best it can because it wants to. The grant donor also regrets (sincerely) that it can't offer more funds to more nonprofits but as a grant donor it has likely determined how to best help the community (in the interest of also helping to provide real positive results in our communities via the nonprofits they grant to). When they decline a grant request, that grant applicant nonprofit should phone (after receiving word that their app was declined if the donor allows phone calls) and politely and in an open fashion call the grant donor and ask if there are any improvements or changes that you could make to your application to improve your agency's chances in receiving a grant. Then make those changes are made to the declined grant application, and then apply again when the grant donor allows nonprofits whose applications have been declined to reapply again next.

To prepare with a phone call with a grant donor - be sure that you know what your agency is applying for. Be sure to know what program or project your nonprofit wants funding from this particular donor for. Also be sure that you know what amount of money you'll be requesting. Have some other details about the project jotted down on note paper in front of you during the call such as any community partners your agency is going to provide this program with, what the overhead costs are, who will be served (demographics), who will provide the program (staff and their credentials and experience), what the time line of the project is, what the anticipated outcomes will be, and what the evaluation method and plan is, etc. You won't always be asked for any or all of these details but you'll be asked for some of them and it's good to have it handy right in front of you during the call so that you sound organized and knowledgeable and your agency looks like it's thought out its program, knows the details, and is professional and prepared. Leave a good impression as best you can. When you call, state your organization's name, your name and job title, and explain that you're wanting to have a conversation with someone there about a pending grant application. If your organization has received any kind of support from the grant donor organization in the past, have that information handy too. Be sure to let them know that on the phone. Have a few questions prepared with them such as are any of their (the grant donor's) board members have a personal interest in the kind of work that your agency does or is proposing to do in the grant application. If there is, ask if the person who your are speaking with will let them know that your agency is doing X program or Y work in the community and is going to apply for a grant on (and give the date that you will submit your application). If that board member is passionate about what your organization is doing or going to do and they are made aware of your application coming soon - they can watch for it and even become an advocate for the application as it moves through their grant application review process. Also ask if there is anything not listed in their giving guidelines that the people who review the grant applications like or prefer about the application, itself. If they share any tips with you - take advantage of the insider information and follow through and do what they suggest.

It is imperative that you take good notes as you conduct the phone conversation. Be sure to jot down the date and time that you phoned, that you conducted the phone call, note who you spoke with (and if it's more than one person - note whom), and note everything that you share with them about your agency and the proposed program in the grant application, and also (of course) jot down all of the tips and answers to your questions that you receive. Make sure (and this is really important) that you file a copy of your notes in with the grant donor's file in the grant writer's office, for posterity. Through natural attrition, if nothing else, no one works for a nonprofit for forever. It will be handy for anyone in the grant writing office to have quick easy access to the notes from the conversation with the grant donor as they sit down to write the grant proposal (application) both now and even twenty years from now. If a grant donor gave to an organization even twenty years ago and it's applying to them again, now, it's handy to be able to reference that donation and the past relationship. This establishes continuity in the existence of a relationship but also demonstrates how grateful and organized your agency is.

Be sure not to take up too much of any one's time at the grant donor's office. If they are happy to talk with you or have questions, themselves, then of course remain on the phone in the conversation with them. Also, don't ask for any guarantees or for any unethical or questionable assistance, insider information, or promises. This only reflects on you and your nonprofit poorly and sends up a red flag. Instead, have confidence in your organization's potential, its talent pool, and its previous successes in the community and know that your application is worthy of serious consideration and being funded by them and all other potential donors. After submitting your application follow their process as it is outlined in their giving guidelines. Do not call or e-mail the grant donor's office asking where your application is in their pipeline. Do not hound them about whether your agency will receive the grant. Instead, be sure that you know when they will announce grant recipients and wait until a week or so (at the earliest) to hear from them if your agency received a grant.

Having an initial conversation with any potential major donor (including grant donors) helps nonprofits not only improve their chances to receive a grant from this donor; it can also often lead to other suggestions to increase funding for a project. For instance, grant donors speak to so many other entities (nonprofits, businesses, and governments) doing work in your organization's area that they can often make good recommendations to applicant nonprofits as to who to partner with, or what other entities may offer some powerful resources to provide a given program or project, or more. The conversation is intimidating to everyone who phones them - so do not field alone in your anxiety. It's O.K. and normal to feel it. Make the call and be open to a new relationship with a potential long term donor.

Award for Works Addressing Racism and Diversity

From The Foundation Center...

Deadline: December 31, 2009

Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards to Honor Works for Addressing Racism and Diversity

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards recognize books that have made important contributions to the understanding of racism and/or the appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures. The annual awards are administered by the Cleveland Foundation.

There are two awards, one for a work of fiction or poetry and one for a work of nonfiction, biography, or scholarly research.

Only books written in English and published in the preceding calendar year are eligible. Plays and screenplays are not eligible, nor are works in progress. Manuscripts and self-published works are not eligible, and no grants are made for completing or publishing manuscripts. Electronic publications are not eligible for consideration.

Submissions will be accepted September 1 through December 31, 2009. Visit the book awards Web site for complete program details.

Contact:
Link to Complete RFP

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Free Upcoming Recovery Act Grants Webinars

From the federal government's federal grants database, grants.gov, this morning...

"Grants.gov and Recovery Act Webinar Series

"Grants.gov will be hosting a three-part webinar series on August 13, 18 and 20, on Recovery Act Money and Grants.gov.

"In addition, on August 12, a webinar on finding federal Recovery Act funding for contracting and grant opportunities will be presented by Grants.gov and FedBizOpps.gov.

"To register for these webinars and for more details, please visit: http://www.grants.gov/applicants/recovery_webinar.jsp.

Regards,
Grants.gov"

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Nonprofits, A New Way to Raise Money ViaTwitter

Social networking website gurus, Experience Project, on this past Thursday August 6th launched a brand new Twitter campaign called TwitCause designed to raise money for nonprofits through the Twitter website and its users (TwitCause is not really a Twitter application such as TweetDeck or Twitter On Facebook are - it's more of a proposition for Twitter users to join in on their effort to raise donations for nonprofits).

If you are not a Twitter user - Twitter is a networking site that offers free accounts to anyone who wishes to join (like My Space or Facebook) except that interaction between those who find (or "Follow") someone, or each other on Twitter are single written posts limited to 140 typed characters, at a time. Tweets written by everyone you follow then show up, as they are posted, on your Twitter account page. Similarly, everyone who is following you on Twitter receives all of the Tweets that you post, as you post them. Anyone can post (or Tweet) as often as they'd like. Also different, there isn't as much emphasis on knowing those you follow, such as exists with Facebook or My Space. You may follow people, companies, organizations, famous people, products, etc. on Twitter.

Twit Cause by Experience Project works by asking Twitter account holders to follow Twit Cause which is Twitter account name "@TwitCause". Then, each week, those who are following Twit Cause can log onto Twit Cause's own website (the link is in the first paragraph, above) and vote on one of the four (new) nonprofits they have listed there. Once you select the nonprofit that you are voting for it creates a post in your Twitter account stating that you are nominating the nonprofit you selected to be featured that week. Whichever nonprofit receives the most nominations is the next Twit Cause! This is revealed each Thursday to their followers. They then ask that their followers re-Tweet (or share the message with their followers' followers) the Tweet (message) revealing that week's selected cause. The idea is this will raise how many people know about the 'winning' nonprofit (people can then choose to follow that nonprofit on Twitter) and hopefully help them to raise more. Each week's most popular (voted) nonprofit gets a fundraising widget that anyone who wishes to donate to that week's nonprofit can click to give through (and most nonprofits, today, have websites of their own where anyone wishing to give can donate through, too). Also, businesses and brands that have Twitter accounts can choose to become sponsors of winning nonprofits (which is another way this campaign is going to raise money for these nonprofits).

If you are a nonprofit wishing to get to be voted on to become one of TwitCause's featured nonprofits, it must have a Twitter account (which is free) and then to quote their own site, "Simply send us a suggestion by tweeting. Just make sure to include the Twitter user name (preceded by the @ symbol) for the nonprofit you are nominating.

"If you follow this pattern you can be sure we'll notice the tweet: "I'm nominating @CharityName to be featured on @TwitCause. Please re-tweet to support me!""

I do have a few questions that I could not find answers for on TwitCause's site. I am wondering if 100% of the money that they raise through the widget on their home page goes to the nonprofit? If not - what is the breakdown and where does 100% of the raised money go? Also, I wonder if the only entities that can nominate themselves to be a TwitCause are legal nonprofits (those who have received their official 501(c)(3), (4), (5), etc. designations, already, from the IRS). It isn't clear which nonprofits are eligible and which are not. Too, how are nonprofits selected to be considered by TwitCause's followers? How long does TwitCause actively raise funds for that week's selected nonprofit? Can TwitCause followers find out how much each nonprofit raised through TwitCause? I do not question TwitCause's intentions or honesty, but as with any professional fundraising, up front and easily visible full disclosure is a really good sign of ethical, professional, honest fundraising. If they share this information clearly on their site and on their Twitter account page, eventually, it will clarify their intentions, integrity, and increase how much they raise, week to week.

As anyone who works in Internet marketing, social networking, or social networking commerce is fond of saying nowadays, 'social networking is great; it's just not clear how to make money from it'. TwitCause may have initiated a new model for all of us (nonprofits and for-profits) to observe and note their success rate and viability as they grow. As a professional fundraiser, I caution that it is tough to just put an organization's name before someone who is not familiar with the organization, and then ask for a donation and actually raise one. Donors really donate to a nonprofit because they personally care about the cause the organization works towards; know that the nonprofit they're giving to is honest, successful at its work for the community, its programs are real solutions that have not been done already, and because the nonprofit's potential is great. Can a Twitter follower garner enough information from the TwitCause campaign to donate comfortably to a 'selected' nonprofit? Also, it is easier for a nonprofit to then raise another donation from a donor that connects with it because the donor can be confident that their dollar has done something in the community for the better. Why wouldn't the confident donor give to the organization again, that they can confirm spent their dollar as they claimed they would and did real (successful) good in the community in the fashion the nonprofit said it would? So, I guess my final question, in the best interests of nonprofits, to TwitCause is: will the donors who give to nonprofits through their campaign become repeat donors for those nonprofits they give to, again and again? If not - a one time donation is still a donation and any nonprofit is glad to receive a donation - but professional best practices, today, encourage nonprofits to maximize their resources and raise more money, year to year, through methods that are proven, and that encourage and formulate a relationship between the donor and nonprofit (not just raise a quick buck and then move onto the next person). Still, and all, any entity new to any endeavor is really learning as it goes, so goes it with them, and as they get up and running I hope that they provide more disclosure and consider all current professional fundraising best practices and how they can improve their campaign model. In the end, I give TwitCause credit for doing something to raise money for nonprofits

If you are a Twitter account holder, yourself, and have tried but can not find the Twit Cause account by searching for the account name using Twitter's search tool, then go to Google and in the search bar enter "site:twitter.com @TwitCause" and then click "Enter" and the first result listed will be their account back in Twitter. Having checked "Stay Logged In" the last time you signed into Twitter, you can click on this first Google result, and then click "Follow" on their Twitter account page to follow them.

If your nonprofit is selected to be a featured TwitCause beneficiary would you log back onto this blog, after, and let us know what your organization's experience was with this fundraising method?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Federal Recovery Act Grants Information and Assistance

I just received the following information from the Federal grants database, this morning, about the Federal Recovery Act funds...

"Recovery Act and Grants.gov

"A new feature was unveiled on Grants.gov to help users find and apply for The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant opportunities.

"The launch of the ARRA or Recovery Act feature on the homepage of Grants.gov will direct users to Recovery Act opportunities, other Recovery Act resources, upcoming Webinars and links to www.whitehouse.gov/recovery and www.recovery.gov.

"Grants.gov System Unavailable

"Due to the implementation of Build 2009-04 the Grants.gov system and website will be unavailable Saturday, August 8, 2009 through Sunday, August 9, 2009. The system is scheduled to be back online at 11:59 p.m. EDT August 9, 2009. The system updates for this build will be available once the build is successfully deployed on the Site Features and Enhancements page.

"We appreciate your patience. If you have any questions or issues while the system is unavailable, please email support@grants.gov and the Contact Center will address your inquiry during business hours (Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., EDT).

"Succeed Newsletter Summer 2009

"To view the Grants.gov Summer 2009 Newsletter please click here: http://www.grants.gov//help/newsletter.jsp

"Regards,

Grants.gov"

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Suggested Money Saving and Money Raising Methods...

Some more suggestions for for your nonprofit to both save money and raise some new money...

__ In whatever method you use to regularly reach out to your donor base, volunteers, and clientele or the beneficiaries of your organization's work (e.g. a newsletter, organization's website, regular e-mail blast, etc.) include a list of all new (or gently or unused) items that your agency needs (e.g. office equipment such as maybe a fax machine, laptop, walkers or wheelchairs, etc.); and also ask for other office supplies such as stamps, coupons for items that your organization regularly purchases for itself or the beneficiaries of its work (e.g. tea, coffee, toilet paper, or coupons for specific dog food brands if you operate an animal welfare organizations), etc. Receiving new or unused items, as a nonprofit, is also a form of donation called an in kind donation. Just as when a donor gives money, a nonprofit should thank the in kind donor and provide them, in the thank you letter, with the fair market (which is their legal tax deductible) value of the item given.

__ Call on other nonprofits in your neighborhood or region and gather a few organizations together as a sort of co-op. If, for instance one of your organizations is needing a new copy machine, perhaps another one of yours' does, too and all of you could approach Office Max, Staples, or Xerox (as a cohesive group or co-op) and ask them if they could provide all agencies with a good discount deal on new machines (meaning, the others who do not yet need a new copy machine will have the good offer either standing when they need a new machine or may be able to negotiate a better one if you can provide them with a competitive offer from one of their retail competitors). This co-op could also buy other supplies that any nonprofit needs, in bulk together, such as paper, printing services, fuel, etc.

__ If you aren't already, begin writing an annual appeal letter to send to your donor base and those in the geographic region that your agency serves who are not yet donors but demonstrate an interest in the cause your agency serves (an annual appeal letter campaign is a fundraising method that should be repeated once, the same time, annually). Most organizations are ramping up on their annual appeal letters about now as it is best to get those letters in the mail and to the donor by Thanksgiving. Why by Thanksgiving? Many people look, at the end of the calendar year, for donations to give to create a larger tax deduction for themselves for that year (as taxes will be due in April of the coming new year). Since so many nonprofits send letters to the public at the end of the calendar year, getting your organization's letter in to donors before they receive others' (such as prior to the holidays) is smart.

__ Be sure that your organization is listed in employers' employee giving program lists in the geographic region that your nonprofit serves. For instance, if your nonprofit serves the greater downtown Portland, Oregon region - I would research if the major corporations, the larger retailers in the area, and any other major employers offer their employees an opportunity to donate, regularly, via their paychecks through an employee giving program. For each of these larger employers I would find out how to get my nonprofit listed in the booklet that employees use to choose the beneficiary nonprofit(s) of their donations and get it listed sooner than later! Usually, the company's Human Resources Department will have a form for nonprofits to fill out and return to be included.

__ If it qualifies, a nonprofit may be allowed to become what is called a United Way Umbrella Agency in those regions where the area United Way offers such a program. The Umbrella Agency is usually a direct service or Information and Referrals nonprofit that provides real solutions to the community and can prove that it does (through service stats, etc.). The United Way provides direct funds to their Umbrella Agencies and includes them in the pool of resources it offers to the local community. It is a win-win situation for those nonprofits that qualify. To determine whether your agency qualifies, contact your local United Way and ask about its Umbrella Agency program.

__ Register your nonprofit to be included in the list of nonprofits that a seller may choose (if they wish to) submit some portion of their sales made with eBay (www.missionfish.org is eBay's charity arm) amazon.com and other online retailer hubs. For amazon.com's program, log into their site and then go to "Tools for Nonprofits" under "Corporate Responsibility". The link ishttp://www.amazon.com/b/ref=amb_link_84598971_3?ie=UTF8&node=13786401&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-6&pf_rd_r=1M3EG0SFTACX6HRC34MZ&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=484745631&pf_rd_i=13786321 and go to "Amazon Payments" for this program. Also note, amazon offers nonprofits the ability to create wishlists and the only key is that your agency then inform your donors and volunteers, etc. (on your website and in your newsletter, etc.) that your organization has a wish list on amazon.com, what it will be used for, and the link where they can go to purchase items for your group. To explain the donation programs, if, for instance, a seller on eBay chooses to provide 30% of their sales to your nonprofit, after the sale is complete (which your organization is not involved in) your nonprofit then receives the 30% of the designated sales as a donation check.

We hope that these suggestions are helpful and if combined with a good public relations or marketing campaign (getting the word out about your organization, its work, its successes, and its potential, including these new campaigns) the money raised (or saved) will increase, over time.

For more ideas read Your Nonprofit Needs Money During This Economic Pinch?

Grants for Improved Elder Quality of Life Public Policies, Law, Research and Scholarship Or Programs

From The Foundation Center...

Deadline: September 30, 2009

Borchard Foundation Center on Law & Aging Invites Proposals for Academic Research Grant Program

The Borchard Foundation Center on Law & Aging supports research and scholarship toward the development of new or improved public policies, laws, and programs that will enhance quality of life for the elderly (including those who are poor or otherwise isolated by lack of education, language, culture, disability, or other barriers).

The center annually awards up to four grants of $20,000 each for individual or collaborative research projects that analyze and recommend changes in one or more existing public policies, laws, or programs relating to the elderly, or that anticipate the need for and recommend new approaches to elder issues necessitated by changes in demographics, advances in science and technology, changes in health care, or other developments.

The research grant program is open to all interested and qualified legal, health sciences, social sciences, and gerontology scholars and professionals. Organizations, whether profit or nonprofit, are not eligible to apply, although they may administer the grant. However, two or more individuals in the same institution or different institutions may submit a collaborative proposal.

Visit the Borchard Foundation Center Web site for the complete Request for Proposals.

Contact:
Link to Complete RFP