Sunday, December 19, 2010

Nonprofit Folks, Fun, Free, Holiday Distractions Follow, Here. We Thank You, Dear Readers!

Each year, now, I post a list of fun free websites for my nonprofit readers because I know a lot of you, during this week of holiday cheer, might get stranded at an airport and have only time on your hands, be bored to death with the televised Christmas parade, or just need a mindless break from the festive cheer; and sometimes, it's nice to be able to access a few distracting entertaining freebies, while Aunt Lil finishes the punch bowl, tells that same story one more time, and parked so close to the back of your car that you aren't able to go anywhere, anyway.

Keep in mind that we have this post on our blog's home page, all week this week, just in case you need to access it from a public or your cousin's computer: remember, Seeking Grant Money Today.

We thank you, our readers, for your attention, comments, questions, and interest this year; and in a small but heartfelt way, we are saying thank you to you with the follow free websites good for at least entertainment and distraction!

Merry Christmas, belated Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kawanzaa, Happy Winter Solstice, best wishes in 2011, Happy holidays, and enjoy!


Fun Games at Bored.com

- I am admitting to you, here, that the game, Papa's Burgeria, there, was a time suck of mine for a bit.

Funny Sports - Top 10 Sports Fails of 2010

Sketchy Santas - Top 10 Fails of 2010

- Now, come on.  This is just some good holiday fun without the hangover, family drama, or over-stuffed feeling.

TMZ

- Sometimes celebrity gossip is just good mindless dirt, whether it turns out to be both true and accurate, or not, later.

Stay safe, and merry, merry!  The Grant Plant, LLC

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How To Make Requesting a Donation Face to Face From A Major Donor Easier

A major donor campaign is a fundraising method where nonprofits develop existing or new donors that consistently give at larger single donation increments compared to the average individual donor.  Usually the campaign is planned and operated by all fundraising staff and volunteers, but the actual work of developing major donors is coordinated by the fundraising or development staff (behind the scenes such as receiving contribution and responding in a timely manner with a thank you) and executives and board members developing these donors personally.  And yes, asking anyone for money for anything, including a nonprofit, can be daunting, awkward, and even something one works to avoid having to do.  So, let me be clear, on average, of all nonprofits' volunteers and staff in the world, I am certain that there are fewer numbers of executive directors and board members who are comfortable with the idea of asking people for large amounts of money.  But (and this is the key) once those same executives and board members are shown how it's done (so that the major donor campaign can be fruitful and successful), once they are educated, trained, and given the opportunity to rehearse; the anxiety level goes way down, as is true of anything new. 

In my post, Getting Major Donors to Contribute Large Regular Donations Can Stabilize Cash Flow I explain what a major donor campaign looks like, how one works, and how your nonprofit can begin one.  In that post, I give you the step by step instructions to get one going.  That post is a good primer or introduction to this post.

Here I am listing my top pieces of advice for a strong and successful major donor campaign:

__ All fundraising, no matter what type of fundraising method (i.e. grant writing, major donor campaign, bequests campaign, capital campaign) is about a given nonprofit initiating, developing, and maintaining relationships with current and potentially new donors.  Every nonprofit should see that direct relationships with its donors as its strongest ability (and potential) to raise money.  Re-read that last sentence.  If a nonprofit farms out most or all of its fundraising, or receives the benefit of another entity, such as a local business, raising funds for it - it may be missing a crucial component to that nonprofit's own ability to raise more, over time, and to grow the amount raised annually, and frankly, it probably is.  The idea that  'relationships are everything' might sound trite or cliche' but it is neither.  On the other hand, no one should be overdoing any interactions between the nonprofit and its donors, either.  The happy medium has been found.  The tried, tested, determined donor care or donor development is how relationships are made and maintained, and then re-done and honed by other nonprofits, and repeated successfully by all kinds of nonprofits all over the world.  These come to be professional nonprofit best practices.  How should a donor be treated so that a relationship is maintained between the nonprofit and them but so that there isn't an undo amount of resources used by the nonprofit to do so, and also so that the donor is comfortable and even appreciative, and the nonprofit receives the benefit of ongoing support from that donor (no small feats)?  Also, what is the method or how is it conducted?  I explain what and how in my post, Your Nonprofit Needs Cash Flow.  That Means Your Nonprofit Needs Your Individual Donors.  Take Great Care of Each One.  It, other posts in this blog, and other excellent nonprofit resources also explain the professional nonprofit donor development best practices that I am referring to.

__ It is easiest to ask others for donations (of any increment but especially larger single donations) when you, "the asker", really believe in the nonprofit, the work its doing, its team, its future capabilities, and that the organization's work will provide for the community a yet undiscovered solution that will produce real and needed outcomes for the organization's beneficiaries.  If the organization is really doing well at what it does and is the organization to provide real solutions it's easiest to ask anyone to support it, including asking a major donor, in a face to face meeting.

__ Remember, when asking a donor for a donation, that you are asking a question and the person being asked can always say 'no'.  'No' is not the end of the world, or the end of the relationship.  Rather, it is one's right and if after asking for a donation the nonprofit is told 'no', it should simply be taken as such.  How the donor indicates they wish to proceed should be respected and then follow through can be made with them, if appropriate, again, at a later time.  Remembering this takes pressure off the asker, because it's not a nonprofit's leader's job to coerce, pull out of thin air, or beg a donation out of anyone (ever).  As is stated in the post, "Your Nonprofit Needs..." mentioned above, a major donor is one who demonstrates an interest in the organization and its work.  The asker relates why the donor's larger increment investment  is needed, why this particular organization is a sound investment and how it will achieve successes with the larger donation.  This information (in any donation request) may or may not be compelling to the donor, but the nonprofit leader, in a major donor ask, has done their job if they have related truthful and compelling facts.  Leaving the discussion (and relationship) so that the donor is comfortable, informed, thanked, and has been asked are the ultimate goals.  We all know that sometimes a person has a reason why they can not give right then (or maybe just not give at that increment right then) and those reasons come and go.  This is O.K.  The key is to engage any and all donors in such a manner that they give now and again later, but if they can't give now - treat them well so that they might give again later.  This is all any fundraiser can do.

__ Being informed about how to go about a face to face larger increment donation request, properly, and then having rehearsed it each help.  Having a well researched perspective donor is helpful, too.  The fundraising department should arm those who are going to meet with potential major donors (i.e. the executive director and board members) with factual and on point set of talking points for the nonprofit representative to have and learn, prior to the meeting, for each perspective major donor.  No one's privacy should be invaded but there is a good amount of information that can be gleaned, for instance, from a nonprofit's own donations records about most donors (i.e. they prefer to give to this campaign, have volunteered in the past (or not), and have a relative who was assisted by this nonprofit (or not).  Once a nonprofit's representative is trained, rehearsed, and informed for each individual they are going to talk with - they feel more at ease.

__ Nowhere is it written that all direct interactions with a potential donor (of any kind) must be one on one.  Do whatever makes everyone involved (e.g. the nonprofit's representatives and the potential donor) comfortable!  If everyone would rather meet during a jog around the local park instead of for a lunch, for instance, - do that.  If the potential donor wishes to include a friend in the meeting - fine.  Why not if that makes them comfortable?  If the nonprofit representative would rather do the ask with another board member present (in a team) that's fine, too, as long as the potential donor is informed and is fine with it (and they usually are).  Take the pressure off wherever and however you can for everyone involved in this process!

__ Know how much you are going to ask each individual potential donor for (based on some real recent giving history and their indicated/demonstrated capability to give in larger increments).  This amount may vary individual major donor to individual major donor and probably will.  For instance, the amount that your organization would ask Bill and Melinda Gates for, in a face to face ask, is likely a different amount from how much you would ask a local business owner for (and one donor and their potential to give is not more important than the other.  Just having supporters who give is the ultimate goal).  Having said this - you aren't out to get as much as you can beyond reason.  If the nonprofit is running a capital campaign and there is a specific amount still un-raised and needed - of course attempt to raise it - but raise it from prospective, if planned, major donors who are really capable of giving at that level and have demonstrated an interest in the organization.  If the amount is very large, split the amount into lesser amounts and ask for specific increments (as needed) based, again, on the individual donor's abilities to give. 

__ Know what you are asking for the money from them for.  If you go into an ask and can't demonstrate why the money is needed and where the money will be spent, why ask for anything at all?  Donors are not money repositories but rather investors or partners who are interested (for usually personal reasons) in the nonprofit's cause or issue, and are invested in the organization because they want to see real, successful, and needed (but yet unmet) outcomes.  Don't abuse their interest.  Be prepared (but not overly so) to demonstrate (in a compelling fashion) how and why the donation is needed.  Make a clear case.  As already stated, being armed with compelling information makes asking for a donation easier for everyone involved.

__ Be grateful.  If they've given before, begin by thanking them and acknowledging their prior support.  If they haven't given to your organization before but are notoriously active in philanthropy or volunteerism in the local community, note that, and thank them (even if it wasn't for your organization - they can be thanked for their concern and involvement in your community).  If they do donate, of course thank them, and follow their wishes if they request anonymity.  Engaging anyone by first thanking them lessens the level of every one's anxiety.

__ Always follow through in a professional and timely manner.  If you meet with a potential donor and they request more information, get it to them.  If they request more time to consider the ask, grant them that.  If they are not ready to give now, but perhaps in six months - thank them and then contact them in six months.  Always grant anyone asked for a donation their rights.  This is how a potential donor feels enabled even if they have not donated to your specific organization, yet.  It is a good way to begin or maintain a relationship even if the first donation has not yet been given.  This leaves everyone in the relationship feeling respected, heard, welcome, and enabled.

__ Rehearse.  It may seem tedious or even unnecessary but the best practices bare out.  It is proven that leaders who practice and rehearse prior to major donor asks do better.  Isn't it always the case with anything that if you practice you do better?  It's true with major donation requests, too.

Grants for Programs Increasing Employment Outcomes for People With Disabilities

From The Foundation Center...

Deadline: February 15, 2011

Kessler Foundation Offers Grants to Increase Employment Outcomes for People With Disabilities


The Kessler Foundation's Signature Employment Grant Program seeks to fund cutting-edge, innovative, and other non-traditional solutions that increase employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

Projects must be collaborative, serve a large geographic area, and include multiple funding partners and stakeholders. In addition, initiatives or projects must have the potential for growth, scalability, or replication.
Any U.S.-based nonprofit organization or other tax-exempt group such as a public/private school, public institution, or government from any state is encouraged to apply.

Applicants may seek a funding amount between $100,000 and $250,000 per year, for maximum project funding of $500,000 over two years.

Visit the Kessler Foundation Web site for complete program information and application instructions.

Monday, December 06, 2010

About Bequests and Its Unique Fundraising, What They Are, & How A Nonprofit Can Begin A Bequests Campaign

Bequests are a specific type of donation whereby the bequeathing donor chooses to include your nonprofit organization in their will, so that upon that donor's death your nonprofit receives whatever the donor has left the organization, which is often but not limited to a portion of that donor's estate (cash, property of value, stocks or other traded assets, etc.).  Raising bequests is, like grant writing, another method of fundraising that is another way to raise larger increment donations.

One of the reputable standards, in the American nonprofit sector, Guidestar, has written a free five piece series of blog posts describing how a bequests campaign works.

There are more benefits for a nonprofit, to raising bequests, besides a seeming one time donation.  While the nonprofit organization develops this specific type of donor (which is done during a specific and unique fundraising campaign, the bequest campaign, the nonprofit's key volunteers and staff already having learned what a bequests campaign is, and how one operates such that it succeeds, fully planned it out, and implemented it); the nonprofit is simultaneously bringing someone one who potentially is interested in supporting the nonprofit (perhaps through regular contributions) during the rest of their lives, considering they are interested in giving a portion of their assets to the nonprofit, upon their death.  That is the ultimate goal of any fundraising: to locate potential donors interested in a specific nonprofit's cause, the specific type of work it does on that cause, and in the given nonprofit, itself; such that they are committed to give again and again (usually by the virtue and success of the specific nonprofit's success rate and potential).

Bequest campaigns are run, during a given fiscal year for example, right along side the rest of the year's fundraising.  So, perhaps an example nonprofit during its fiscal year, this year, will do the following fundraising methods (as planned out and organized) and some will be run concurrently: remittance envelopes included in quarterly postal mailed newsletters (mailed to past donors, all clients, and community partners), website donations, four different special events (i.e. golf tournament, gala dinner with auction, mom and me camp, and a celebrity poker tournament), grant writing, a capital campaign, and a bequests campaign.

Guidestar is one of the best resources that exists, for donors (including the Donor's Bill of Rights, tax records information and donation record keeping information, and a database of registered nonprofits so that donors can research how old, effective, efficient, ethical, etc. a nonprofit is, should they be considering giving to that organization).  Guidestar has written an excellent, free, five part primer on what a bequest campaign is, how they function, and how one can be started at your organization.  The link to the first post in the five part blog post series is:

Make 2010 the Year YOU Start Planned Giving Part 1

You will see that the series of five blog posts are listed on the right hand side of Guidestar's blog web page, to further read the remaining four posts.  Needless to say, your organization can use their information for 2010, but also 2011, and on. 

It's always good, too, to consult with an organization's Certified Public Accountant and governing jurisdictions to be up on the current laws, rules, and required reporting before an organization launches a bequests campaign.  Good luck!

Leadership Awards for American and British Jr. High & High School Level Students Wishing to Improve Their Communities

From The Foundation Center...

[For more information on this award opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this post].

Deadline: January 12, 2011

Bank of America Charitable Foundation Invites Applications for Student Leaders Program


The Bank of America Charitable Foundation is accepting applications for its annual Student Leaders Program, a component of the foundation's signature Neighborhood Excellence initiative. The program is open to eligible high school juniors and seniors in selected market areas who are committed to improving their communities.

Selected student leaders participate in a paid eight-week summer internship with a designated local nonprofit organization where they experience firsthand how they can help shape their communities — now and in the future. To enhance their leadership experience, award recipients also participate in a six-day, all-expense-paid student leadership summit in Washington, D.C., provided by Bank of America. The nonprofit internship and student leadership summit exposes students to leadership aspects in the civic, nonprofit, and business arenas. The program's goal is to nurture and develop the country's next generation of community leaders.

Five student leaders will be selected from each of the forty-five eligible markets. To be considered for the program, applicants must be a junior or senior in high school (U.S. markets) or enrolled in sixth form/college or college of further education (ages 16 to 18) (UK). Applicants also must be legally authorized to work in the U.S. without sponsorship and be a student in good standing at his or her school.

Visit the Bank of America Web site for complete program information and application procedures as well as information on obtaining posters to publicize the program.

Monday, November 29, 2010

How to Use Your Nonprofit's Recent Grant Work to Apply More Often and Receive More Grants

Grow your organization's grant writing, or increase how much it achieves, by building on what has already been done.  Believe it or not, each nonprofit that applies for grants has something to build on to increase how many grant applications go out the door, and (more importantly) how many grants get awarded to your organization.

Grant writing is an endeavor that creates a paper trail.  Whether one keeps all grant documents printed in hard copy files, filed into a filing cabinet, or keeps all grant application documents organized in one's computer; there is a trail of the organization's work.  Most organizations keep some combination of both forms of record keeping.

Those files are more important than just sitting around as back up files in case a potential donor did not receive all of the documents in a grant application you submitted to them a week or so ago.  There's a good amount of helpful information, among those files, for your organization to improve its grant raising work; and they can actually be very powerful for the organization's ability to apply for and raise more.

Look for the following, in your nonprofit's grant application paper trail, and consider what I suggest about each document or sets of files - in order to increase and improve your grant program's results:

__ The calendar where you have marked when a grant should be submitted from your office in order to be on time for each grant donor that you've applied to can help you reflect on how often grant applications have been going out of your office for any interval of time (the last fiscal quarter, the last six months, or the past year).  For any amount of time, you think is a fair sample of the current work effort, take a look at the rate of grant application submissions.  Determine how many applications are submitted for that time period, on average.  Understand why that rate has been the pace.  This exercise is about the organization's fundraising increasing productivity and results.  This is not an exercise intended to result in your badgering your grant writer.  Rather, enable your grant writer and their team.  Determine with them what could be done to truly increase that pace (so that the grant writer and their team are ultimately submitting more grant applications) such that the increased pace is realistic and an improved work process.  Sometimes a grant writer needs a volunteer who can regularly come in and file and do other administrative work to free up more of that writer's time each week.  There are other processes that can be put into place to improve work processes that can be determined, for each unique organization's grant writer's need, based on each different grant writer's needs.  Also, where can the costs of applying for grants be reduced or cut for the organization's benefit, without reducing grant work quality or efficiency?

__ How are the documents written by and ultimately submitted as grant application content developed?  Does the grant writer tailor each application's document per each unique and individual grant donor's own giving guidelines and preferences?  What works for them?  Do they update content in a master grant application draft and then copy and paste from that to formulate each unique individual grant application document, each time your organization applies for a grant?  What is the writing process, generally?  How is that working time-wise, success rate-wise, and intended results-wise for the organization and the grant writer?

__ To whom, in the past year or maybe year and a half to two years, has your organization applied to for grants? Or, put another way, to which grant donors has your organization submitted grant applications?  List them out (noting whether these are the recipients of your applications for the past two years or less (and don't go further out than the past two years because grant donors' programs change and two years ago is generally recent enough for the info to still be relevant)). Now, of those grant donors, how many grants did your nonprofit's apply to those grant donors for?  Finally, and these are really crucial questions, how long has the organization been applying for grants (as a fundraising method)?  Also, how are the grants that your organization applies for selected?  Is there real prospecting work (grant research work) and time being put into figuring out which grant donors to apply to for which grants; or is your organization just sending out grant applications to any and all grant donors?

Regarding answering how long your organization has been conducting grant writing, if your organization has been conducting grant writing for two years or less, but have been doing it according to contemporary, professional, nonprofit best practices, then you're doing fine (no matter what the results have been so far) because it takes time to achieve successes.  A brand new grant program (depending on the organization, the region that the organization's community resides in, that economy, how much the grant writer and organization understands best practices and practices them, etc.) usually takes over two years to roll out successfully into its community such that grant donors in that community know enough about your organization, its name, its work, its mission, its success rate, its reputation, etc. to feel confident granting to your organization.  Put another way - hang in there and keep the 'best practices' work up!  Success is likely coming.

If you answered "yes" to "...or is your organization just sending out grant applications to any and all grant donors?", then you and your organization's grant writer need more training on how to run a more efficient grant program (and that's O.K.  No harm in having to learn, ever.).  The skills you'd learn would increase your rate of success, lessen the costs of running the grant program, and help you understand better what successful and professional grant writing work is and why it is done the way that it is.  This blog is a good (free) start to understanding more.  Click the "How To" Label (lower right side of this blog's web page) for some of our posts to be taught the basics about effective and efficient grant writing.  In those posts read up on the basics about grant writing and what resources are reputable and follow through on what you learn.  Or, click on any Label (which is an index of the topics we cover in this blog) that seems relevant to your current work.  Also, check out our Amazon book store.  It's in the upper right side of this blog's right margin.  We hand select each book, there, based on each book's professional reputation.  There are standards in this professional field, there, discussing grant writing and other (different) fundraising methods, accounting practices, board development, and all other aspects of nonprofit operations.  Finally, see what blogs and links we recommend (to other excellent sites) on the left hand side of this blog's web page, in the left hand margin (under "Recommended Links" and "Blogs That I Recommend").  There is so much reputable, excellent, and free information on the web, today, for nonprofit volunteers and staff to learn from and use to work better, smarter, more efficiently, in order to be more effective. 

For a really good start to understanding what efficient and effective prospecting is (which means seeking grant donors), read:

How Do I Prepare To Find Foundations Who Will Fund Us?

and...

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

__ Prior to submitting applications, does your organization's leadership look for any social or professional connections between your organization's volunteers and staff and the organization's volunteers and staff that your nonprofit applies for grants to?  If it does, what is the follow through process?  Is communication initiated between your organization's connection with theirs'?  If so, when in the application process?  What have the results been?  Can this process be improved?  If your organization doesn't look for connections between it and grant donor organizations, when applying to them - why doesn't it?  It's a powerful way to get your organization's grant application not only noticed by the grant donor (if there is a connection between your organization and theirs').  It's also a good way to get your organization's application seriously considered for funding if not just getting funded.  For more information on this concept, read Leadership's Role in Seeking Grants.

__ Is the organization's team that works with the grant writer (volunteers or staff), the grant writer, and the leadership staying up on the latest in professional nonprofit best practices related to grant writing by reading media considered standards in the profession, attending professional grant writing (or fundraising) conferences, and attending professional continuing education courses (online or in person)?  If not - why not?  Keeping current isn't just about being professional in one's work.  Remaining connected to the latest in the profession can often inform leaders about the latest and newest in effective and efficient (new) grant writing (or other nonprofit operations') methods - and this can save an organization (that implements the current paradigm) time and money (and more).  Also, the resulting networking that comes out of active participation in one's wider professional field is invaluable for learning what's going on, currently, with a grant donor and their interests, for example, from other organizations' representatives who may have just recently applied to the grant donor that you're about to.  This kind of information, for example, can be very powerful for you and your organization to know when applying (if they are looking for a specific kind of program to fund, but didn't list this in their giving guidelines or website because this update to their interests is so recent, for example).

Grants for African American Museums

From The Foundation Center...

[If you are interested in more information on this grant opportunity, click "Contact: Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this post].

Deadline: January 18, 2011

Institute of Museum and Library Services Announces Application Guidelines for Museum Grants for African American History and Culture


The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has announced the availability of guidelines and application forms for its 2011 Museum Grants for African American History and Culture program. The program supports projects that enhance the institutional capacity and sustainability of African American museums in the United States through professional training, technical assistance, internships, outside expertise, and other tools and approaches.

Successful applications will focus on one or more of the following goals: developing or strengthening the knowledge, skills, and other expertise of current staff at African American museums; attracting and retaining professionals with the skills needed to strengthen African American museums; and attracting new staff to African American museum practice and helping them develop the expertise needed to sustain careers in the museum field.

Eligible applicants include museums whose primary focus is African American life, art, history, and/or culture, encompassing the following eras: slavery, reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the civil rights movement, and other notable periods of the African diaspora. Public or private nonprofit organizations whose primary purpose is to support African American museums may also apply. Historically Black Colleges or Universities are also eligible.

Grants will range from $5,000 to $150,000 for a period of up to two years.

The IMLS will hold webinars about the program on November 30 and December 7, 2010. Visit the IMLS Web site for complete program information, application procedures, and details on participating in the webinars.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Our Apologies for Loading Issues & Two Good Thoughts for Thanksgiving

To our subscribers and readers, We apologize.  We are having difficulties with our blog and getting external links to load in it correctly (in Mozilla Firefox browser but perhaps in Microsoft's Internet Explorer and other browsers, as well).  We apologize for the inconvenience and are working on the issue.

In the spirit of being frustrated by our blog issue but then remembering (in between the moans and fears that today is going to be "one of those days") that Thanksgiving is at the end of this week, we located a couple of quotes that brought our perspective back to a...shall we say...more open one. 

Perhaps these will help you, if you're having one of those days, too; and Happy Thanksgiving!

"Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action."
-W.J. Cameron

and

"The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!"

-Henry Ward Beecher

We will fix our blog problem and be back with you shortly!  Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and safe holiday!

Grants for American Public Schools' Music Education Programs

From The Foundation Center...

[For more information on this grant opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this post].

Deadline: Rolling

NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation Announces Wanna Play Fund Grants for Instruments Available to Schools and Community Organizations for Music Education Programs


The nonprofit NAMM Foundation works to advance active, lifelong participation in music making by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs of the international music products industry.
The organization has announced the availability of grants through its Wanna Play Fund to provide instruments to schools and community organizations that are expanding or reinstating music education programs as part of a core curriculum and/or that employ quality music teachers.

Eligible applicants are public schools serving low-income students (percentage of free and reduced lunch data required); community organizations serving low-income students and students with special needs (community demographic information required); and schools and community programs that have made a commitment to hiring and retaining high-quality music teachers and providing standards-based, sequential learning in music.
Online grant applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants will be notified within thirty days of submission whether or not a grant will be awarded.

Complete program information and an online application form are available at the NAMM Foundation Web site.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Top Ten Successful Methods for Any Nonprofit to Use to Survive A Poor Economy

Top Ten Nonprofit Fundraising and Operations Methods to Survive A Bad Economy:

10. Your Nonprofit, No Matter the Size, Can Do These Simple Steps to Increase Funds Raised

9. How to Make the Case for Your Grant Request, In the Grant Proposal

8. Suggested Money Saving, and Money Raising Methods

7. How To Raise Grant Money, Even In This Economy

6. How Any Nonprofit Can Raise More Support, Acquire the Best Talent, Strive, and Grow...

5. After Recruiting Board Members, Help Them Become Effective Quickly

4. Top Ten Tips to Raise Grants In A Down Economy

3.  Raise Some Quick Donations, More Often, Right Now, and Again Later This Year, And Next...

2. How to Use Marketing Afford ably, To Increase A Nonprofit's Numbers of New Donors 

1. Save Your Nonprofit Money, Raise More Money and Succeed - Yes, Now

and a few extra helpful posts, too...

How Nonprofits Will Save More and Raise More: Or, How To Conduct Donor and Donations Analysis


"Focus On the Economic Crisis" Web Page To Keep Us Nonprofits Up To Date

It's A Stressful Time of Year, Especially Now, But Also A Time for A New (Survivable) View

Grants for U.S. Colleges Putting Dating Peer Educators on Campus to Enable Healthy Dating Habits

From The Foundation Center...

[For more information on this grant opportunity, click on "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this post].

Deadline: December 3, 2010

Avon Foundation Seeks Applications for Healthy College Dating Peer Educator Program


The Avon Foundation for Women has released the m.powerment by mark 2010 Request For Proposals (RFP) for the Healthy Relationship Peer Educator Program. The foundation has developed a comprehensive and need-based philanthropic strategy for this program that recognizes the importance of peer-to-peer education about healthy dating relationships among college-age people.

Twenty grants of up to $10,000 will be provided to colleges wishing to establish a network of Dating Peer Educators on their campuses. Funding may be used to cover the cost of a -trainer education program, printed materials and education sessions.

Dating peer educators should be trained to provide preventive education related to dating abuse and violence, sexual assault, harassment, stalking, and the promotion of healthy relationships; and should also be trained to provide local resources and referrals to local community-based DV experts. Student programs should emphasize awareness and prevention through education.

Applications should demonstrate the ability to initiate or expand on the work of the Dating Peer Educator Program and to garner additional support.

Applicants must be U.S.-based colleges or 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.

Complete program information and the online application form are available at the Avon Foundation Web site.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

How Your Nonprofit's Fundraising Can Be Successful in the Coming Fiscal Year

It can be very intimidating for any nonprofit's leadership to anticipate how much a nonprofit will raise in the coming year.

Nonprofit boards, this time of year, are finalizing and ratifying budgets for next fiscal year.  That process entails budgeting for or anticipating income from all revenue streams.  Some nonprofits only do a couple of special event fundraisers and some grant writing, all year long, to raise all of their money; others conduct a year long calendar of many more different types of fundraising methods (perhaps everything from including donor remittance envelopes in quarterly newsletters, to grant writing, to six different special events, to a major donor campaign, etc.).  But how can any nonprofit, from a brand new one, to a long existing organization determine how successful it will be at grant writing, or any fundraising, for that matter?

In an economy like our current economy, it can be a bit challenging to anticipate whether they will successfully raise enough funds to cover all of next year's costs.  Yet, while it is a tenuous economy, there are some things any organization can do to be successful at fundraising of all kinds.

Let's take a look at three different pretend nonprofits to help understand how different nonprofits can best budget for grant writing income.

We have Native Beans, a one year old nonprofit organization dedicated to researching, studying, preserving, and disseminating old species and varieties of beans, their plants, and seeds.  They are partially funded by a collaboration with a nearby university's biology department, and raising the rest of their funds, themselves.  While they are making a good go of getting off the ground, this difficult economy has been a serious challenge for them.  They have never done any grant writing.

Let's say, next, we have Fans for Frankenstein, a nonprofit committed to researching, locating, and monitoring or curating where anything having to do with Mary Shelley's original Frankenstein book or any Frankenstein movie, ever, is.  It is a five year old nonprofit, so it's not terribly old, but its membership and fundraising is growing, as currently there is a interest in classic horror, today.  They just began grant writing, annually, two years ago and while things have been slow going they are just recently beginning to receive some of their first grants ever.


Finally, we have Hospice With Honor, a sixty year old, well established, reputable, well known, and well staffed nonprofit that is very good at communicating with its supporters, marketing its successes and mission in its community, and has an executive director and board who are well trained and use that training to regularly network (discussing the organization and its successes) and who are each active fundraisers (working in coordination with the fundraising office).  Hospice With Honor has an established base of regular individual donors, has conducted mostly all other forms of fundraising, and has an operating budget of $1 million (which means their organization averages $1 million in annual operating expenses, and raises at least $1 million annually, in order to fund its operations).  They have been conducting grant writing, specifically, (one of their many annual revenue streams (or fundraising methods)) for thirty years and are very successful grant raisers.

To begin with, for each of these differently positioned nonprofits, there are a few things that they each or all should already be doing (in order to be raising enough money to successfully operate and grow, each year):

__ Especially in an economy like ours' currently is, but really in any economy, one of the strongest positions a nonprofit can put itself into to hedge against inflation and a difficult economy is to diversify or vary where and how income comes into the organization.  For an explanation of why and how read, Bring In Donations From Many Different Kinds of Sources

__ Monitor and track the results of each of the various different fundraising methods the organization is using all year long, each year (again, in any economy, but especially during a down economy) in order to monitor: if the anticipated rate of return is being met, whether each fundraiser is cost effective, and where the weaker fundraising methods the organization is conducting are so that either improvements can be made, or if necessary, so that the weak link can be dropped and replaced by something more effective.  Remember, too, that on average, in the United States anyway, it takes about three or more years for a brand new fundraising method that is conducted annually to begin to make money for the organization.  And, after that initial 'up front cost' of getting the new fundraiser method started (year 1 through 4), its income (no matter what the fundraising method is) should relatively consistently grow, over time, to be considered successful.

__ The organization that positions itself well by being an excellent organization is going to have an easier time generating new donors while also retaining current donors, successfully growing its individual donor base, because donors will be confident giving and then giving again to an organization that is: mission-focused, ethically operated, well managed and run (efficient), is successful at its work (from real demonstrable findings (actual data) from evaluations after each program and service is conducted), is communicative (and honest) in its community, and more.  For a discussion on why organizations positioned as such raise more money and donors and how this is done read, We Need Money for Our 501(c)(3) etc. Organization - What Is the Grant Seeking Process?  and  Here's A Handy Checklist for Nonprofit for Operations and Fundraising Success...

__ The organization operates as described above, over time, (or according to professional best practices) in order to retain donors, community support, and to continue to be relevant, compelling, successful, and reputable.  For more on this concept, read How to Raise Money, Even In This Economy and Fundraising, Grant Writing, Mission-Success, Community Building; It's All the Same

Where these three example organizations' individual situations will cause them to act differently, in order to budget for the coming year's grant writing income in a realistic manner is the following:

Native Beans is a brand new nonprofit.  It's only getting its own programs and services going, its name is just getting known, and its fundraising has just recently begun.  In every way this organization's leadership's work (in all of its fundraising (grant writing and everything else its doing to raise funds) and also in growing its name and reputation) is networking in the community and marketing (and public relations).  The organization needs to be checking off everything in the "...Handy Checklist..." blog post but also they need to be relating to their community (i.e. wherever their potential donors, volunteers, and (someday) staff live and work).  If a grant donor receives a grant request from Native Beans, but its staff or board has never heard of the organization, there might be some question as to whether they're a sound 'investment' to give a grant to.  Native Beans, though, even being a brand new organization can engender confidence in its potential grant donors (and, in fact, all different types of donors) by conducting only very relevant (current) programs and services, having a strong track record that it can point to (i.e. showing why its work is critical to the community, today, and how successful they are at achieving those benchmarks and goals) and why they are suited to continue to be successful going into the future (operations are strong, reputable and credentialed volunteers and staff are key in the programs and services, etc.).

Fans for Frankenstein is five years old, so far is doing pretty well (given the economy, especially) at both growing its membership and also fundraising, and only began grant writing two years ago but are starting to bring grants in.  First, it takes time to initiate a grant writing program and then for any grant writing program to bring in grants.  When a nonprofit considers and begins grant writing, there is usually an up front expense (again, like starting any other fundraising method), that requires time before it begins to 'pay off'.  This is a perfect reason to plan out, in advance, any fundraising method that is being done for the first time at a nonprofit; and it's a reason why a nonprofit that has leaders who proactively position it (in its administration, management, and operations) from the start, and going forward, to be successful will spend less on its fundraising, overall, compared to a less well managed or planned out organization's operations.  Second, this organization is learning the value in being consistent in letting the communities in which it operates know what its name is, its mission, why its work is needed today, what its programs are, what its achievements have been, and what its current goals are (and how anyone interested in doing so can help or support Fans for Frankenstein).  As they begin to bring grants in, they let all of the other grant donors to whom they've submitted grant applications to but have yet to hear back whether they're receiving a grant, which grants they just received and from which foundations (because donors are made confident, too, by other grant donors deciding recently to give).  They are certain to maintain unobtrusive but responsive and professional proactive relationships with the grant donors that do give to them to maintain the relationship with that donor (increasing the likelihood they will receive another grant again in the future from them).  As stated again and again, in this post and throughout all posts in this blog, they conduct the organization such that it will be in the best possible position to succeed at its mission, grow, and continue to remain reputable (ala...yes...you know... professional best practices).

Our long existing, 'grand parent' of nonprofit operations success of the three examples, Hospice With Honor, is a sixty year old, successful, and reputable nonprofit.  Their leadership is focused on the work of the missions statement, it is a professionally operated organization, and all leadership goes through training each year (which is also weighed in a cost/benefit analysis but pays out in spades compared to its costs, because well trained and prepared leaders (executive director and board members) know how and are more comfortable networking regularly in the community and also fundraising.  The fundraising department has volunteers and staff but their efforts are bolstered by and income is increased by the organization's leaders taking their leadership position's responsibilities (in total) seriously enough (and they are trained well) so that they are committed and do the work (again, we know this by virtue of Hospice With Honor tracking and comparing costs and benefits, each fundraiser including those that only the leadership is responsible for such as the major donor campaign, the bequests campaign, and other large contribution campaigns).  This is an organization that exemplifies why best practices come to be such, knows this, and will continue to pass on to its new volunteers, leaders, executives, and staff over time the organization's value and preference to use best practices to conduct all of its operations.

I'm certain that I can sound like I'm harping, here.  I apologize if I do.  I am emphatic, though, because again, and again, specific professional and ethical behaviors and practices work for all and any nonprofit that conducts them, no matter the organizations' differing age, cause, or mission, etc.  These professional and ethical behaviors and practices (by virtue of their successes for so many different nonprofits) over time get shared and passed onto other nonprofits, those nonprofits try them out (because they worked well for others), and these successful practices bubble to the top of common practices, and become today's (and tomorrow's) "professional nonprofit best practices": because they work for so many different nonprofit organizations.

Award for Individuals, Organizations, & Companies Innovating With Technology to Address Education, Equality, Environmental, Health, Or Economic Development Issues

From The Foundation Center...

[If you are interested in this grant opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this post].

Deadline: March 31, 2011

Nominations Open for Tech Awards 2011


An annual program of the Tech Museum of Innovation, the Tech Awards are designed to inspire global engagement in applying technology to humanity's most pressing problems.

The awards recognize individuals, organizations, and companies from around the world that are utilizing innovative technology solutions to address urgent issues in the areas of education, equality, environment, health, and economic development.

Each year, candidates are nominated and then invited to submit applications. Individuals, for-profit companies, and not-for-profit organizations are eligible. Self-nominations are accepted.

Awards will be presented in five categories: health, education, the environment, economic development, and equality. Three laureates in each category will be honored and one laureate per category will receive $50,000. Laureates will be honored at an annual gala event and inducted into the Tech Awards Network. The goal of the awards network is to create opportunities for learning, networking, and exposure to assist the laureates in furthering their work.

Nominations are accepted year-round. Nominees that meet the eligibility guidelines will be invited to submit a more detailed application.

Visit the Tech Awards Web site for complete program information, including profiles of previous award recipients.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What "Value Added" Can Nonprofits Offer in This Economy to Current and Potential New Donors?

These days, all kinds of businesses, including the nonprofit sector, are having to figure out how to both keep current revenue streams while increasing them.  Many businesses are practicing "value added" which means the customer or in nonprofits' case, the donor, receives a bit more, than they used to, for giving what they have in the past.  Nonprofits can use "value added" to retain donors and acquire new donors and then retain these new supporters, as well.

I'll use the for-profit sector to demonstrate my point.  Let's say that in my local town's for-profit sector, if I've always been a customer of a local restaurant, Pete's Pizzas.  Let's say that Pete wisely saw the economic downturn coming, back in 2006, and began then cutting any unnecessary business costs, tracking which pizzas his customers ordered the most, and then he bought those pizzas' ingredients in bulk, and did other internal business operations to conserve his business' spending.

Pete also wanted to be sure to retain the customers he's had.  So, in addition to cutting costs, tracking where his spending is highest and purchasing in bulk to reduce costs, he also researched and tried out a few different customer benefit programs and ideas to be certain that his long time customers would continue to patronize his business during the tough economy.  Pete tried a customer punch card where anyone who buys a pizza gets a hole punched into their card, until six holes are punched.  When the customer buys the seventh pizza, and presents the fully punched card, it's free.  He also initiated a lunch deal to help his customers spend less on lunch, and keep his customers coming in.  The deal is one large slice of any pizza, a medium soft drink, and a side salad all for $5.99.  The combination of the items in the lunch, if ordered ala carte, would come to $8.75 but the customer saves $2.74 in this lunch deal.  Finally, Pete created a 2 For Tuesday pizza deal.  Any two pizzas, that are ordered together on Tuesdays, will be 'buy one, get one free', where the customer is charged for the more expensive pizza, of the two ordered, and the second (lesser expensive one) is free.

Pete ran the numbers on all of these "value added" programs before he initiated them, to be certain that he would still make money on them, but he also checked, too, that they were good deals for his customers (weighing them: against his former pricing for the same meals, against competitors' valued added programs, and against his business' income needs).  He only implemented the "value added" programs that, after the math was run, demonstrated that he'd still make money and his customers would get some good deals.  It's worked!  Pete is spending less than he did back in 2006 and 2007, saving a bit more monthly than he used to, and has not seen business decline but rather Pete has seen a slight uptick in business since providing customers with the value added offers he has!

In the nonprofit sector, today, it works the same way.

Donors who usually give, let's say $35 a year, in the past (before the economic decline) would most likely simply receive a thank you letter (good as a tax receipt besides providing thanks).  This is fine.

Today, many donors (after giving at common and not particularly high dollar amounts) are getting more than they used to, though, to retain them and demonstrate that the organization knows their contribution at this time (in this economy) is invaluable.  Some nonprofits have adjusted the gift amount level for donors to receive goodies such as totes with the organization's logo, note cards, calendars, and other tchotchkes.

Other nonprofits have increased, in response to donors' support, the detail in communication that explains what a donor's dollar will do this year.  This does not cost anything more (except perhaps one of the volunteers' times in researching and tracking real data).  For example, perhaps when a donor gave to, let's say, the American nonprofit, Save the Starfish, a donor used to be informed, simply, that their contribution would go to: the Wild Starfish Preservation Program, the Starfish Living in Aquariums Support Program, and the Public Education and Outreach Program.  All of this was true.  Three years ago, though, the board of directors at Save the Starfish, being sensitive to donors' hesitation to give as often or as much, wisely decided to be more specific and detailed when explaining to donors where their dollar is going and what it will do.  This is not so much as "value added" (which it is, as it's a clearer report for the donor to understand what exactly their support is going to do for American starfish species), but it could also be thought of "more details added" which is a value to both the donor (who will be connected with the end-result benefit of their contribution) but is also a value to the organizations, too, as the donor wishing to really do some good for starfish will understand exactly what their dollar is going to accomplish, and thus be retained.  Today, in this hypothetical scenario, anyone who gives to Save the Starfish receives a 9x5 inch laminated, water proof, Starfish Field Guide that depicts and describes the 50 most common starfish species that exist along the United States; a thank you letter; and a clear description in that thank you letter where their donation was allocated and what the program it was allocated to will do in explicit terms and numbers.

For example, perhaps now, the Save the Starfish thank you letter to donors states, "...Your contribution of $X will be broken down into thirds.  One third will go to the Wild Starfish Preservation Program, one third to the Starfish Living in Aquariums Support Program, and the final third to the Public Education and Outreach Program.  The Preservation Program funds fifty different Ph.D. researchers across the United States working in three different oceans to document, study, and recommend to local fisheries' management how to best preserve and support these 500 different starfish species and their natural habitat.  The Support Program funds 200 different credentialed aquariums across the United States, a minimum of one in each state (including, Puerto Rico, Guam, Hawaii, and Alaska), funding research on 200 different starfish species' preferences in captivity to ensure a higher quality of life and longevity for future captive starfish.  Finally, the Public Education Program funds 250 different credentialed public schools, universities, and technical schools who educate students about marine biology, ensuring they teach a unit exclusively on star fish for at least two full school days, including the latest findings and theories on starfish species, their natural habitat, and their future welfare.  X number of people will attend the Public Outreach Program between 2011 and 2012.  The annual report for 2011 and 2012, respectively, will include actual numbers of starfish species studied, preserved, and public outreach students attendance; including what was accomplished (in specific data and numbers) as a result of our three programs."

Value added to a donor's experience should not be gimmicky and should not minimize or trivialize an organization's mission statement, its reputation, or its persona in the public.  Any value added for a donor's experience should underscore for the donor (and even the general public who has yet to give) exactly what the donor's support will accomplish, when given to your organization, in regards to the organization's mission statement.   Donors want to see positive change per the recipient organization's mission, and if they can be shown exactly what their gift will do (even including how much of each dollar that the organization raises actually goes to the organization's programs and services in ratio to how much of each dollar is spent on the organization's overhead costs and administration) they not only feel confident about the organization and the results of their contribution, they buy into that organization, and these are the donors most likely to give again, and again - and that's the idea.

Grants for Marine Microbiology and Marine Microbial Ecology Research

From The Foundation Center...

[If you are interested in this grant opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this post].

Deadline: November 8, 2010 (Idea Summary)

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Announces Request for Ideas for Marine Microbiology Initiative


The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation's (GBMF) Marine Microbiology Initiative (MMI) has supported research in marine microbiology and marine microbial ecology since 2004. Building on advances in the field, the initiative is preparing to enter its next phase and is seeking input from the international scientific community to identify the most promising opportunities where a strategic, focused effort over the next five years will help to break open "black boxes" in the field and take understanding of marine microbial communities to a new level.

The goal for the next phase of the initiative is to target research on the specific functional roles of microbial community members, functional relationships within microbial communities, and the environmental parameters that affect both microbial community structure and function.

The foundation has issued a Request for Ideas seeking the research community's most creative ideas to initiate the process. While the emphasis during MMI's second phase will remain on marine systems, submissions of ideas using other microbial systems that would contribute to furthering knowledge in the marine field are welcome.

Submitters must be employed at an institution with a track record of externally funded research, have a demonstrated ability to carry out independent research, and a strong publication record in top-tier peer-reviewed journals. Researchers from any country may submit an idea summary. As the idea summary is not a pre-proposal or proposal, institutional approval is not needed at this stage. Institutional approval will be required, however, if the idea is chosen as a topic to be developed into a full proposal at a later date. Thus, the submitter must have an institutional appointment that permits him or her to submit proposals.

Researchers interested in contributing an RFI for consideration should submit a two-page idea summary by November 8, 2010.

Visit the GBMF Web site for complete program information, the RFI, submission procedures, and an FAQ.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How To Learn What Federal, State, Local, or Tribal Grants Are Available, & How To Apply for Them

You might have heard that applying for a grant offered by a government, any government, is "a different animal" compared to applying for a grant offered by a foundation.  It is true.  Applying for a government grant, especially a federal grant, can be arduous.  Having said this, it shouldn't inhibit any organization ready to apply for grants from researching which grants are available from governments, in addition to researching what foundations offer grants related to the organization and its work.  Grants offered by governments are opportunities to raise funds, as well. 

Often, applying for government grants all year round but especially at the end of the calendar year (which can coincide with the end of the fiscal year for some government agencies), is a also really good way to raise yet another large single donation (a grant), just like applying for a grant from any other type of grant donor (i.e. foundations).  Why is the end of the year an especially good time to apply?  Again, applying for government grants at any time of year is fine, as stated, but sometimes governments will have surplus in budgets that must be spent down or zeroed-out before the year end in order for their accounting to meet previously set annual budget goals, yet nonprofit grant writers are not always actively submitting grant applications during the final quarter of the year because a lot of people assume that (especially during poor economies) government coffers are empty (and sometimes, indeed, they are, of course).  So, some governments in the position of still being flush, during their fourth quarter, and due to the lack of incoming grant applications, sometimes even have to look for nonprofits (or other eligible potential recipients) to ask them to apply for the funds to be certain the money will likely be donated per the requisite due diligence (i.e. their grant application process), by year end (or whenever they are required to be spent down by).  So, don't assume anything when seeking grants, and instead, call someone at the appropriate agency's office (if they allow phone calls about their grants) and ask where their budget is and whether applying for a grant is warranted.  A call like this can lead to a great large and unexpected donation at the end of the year.

I've compiled the best free resources that teach what governments' grants are (again, from the federal and also state, local, and even Tribal governments), where to research what government grants are available, what the process is to apply for them, and more.  See...

The free and user-friendly portal for all federal grants is Grants.gov and the link takes you to their page explaining: what a grant is, what federal grants are available, and how to research and apply for federal grants (see their links in their left hand margin as well as their new free user training, iPortal (discussed at the July 22, 2010 heading).

To learn about and find out what other governments' grants are available, such as the U.S. states' governments' grant offerings and also what those states' local governments' grant offerings are (i.e. boroughs,  townships, parishes, counties, cities, towns, etc.), and finally, also what the Tribes' grant offerings are, go to the free USA.gov site to find your state and nearest cities' governments, click through to them, and learn and research there.

The Foundation Center provides these free additional government grant resources (if you click the link), as well.

My final comment on government grants is this: they can often be, when won, extremely large injections of cash for the recipient nonprofit, but with that comes the responsibility of recording and having official (as stated by the government that donated the grant) documentation to back up where each and every penny of that government grant is spent.  This makes sense.  It is public money awarded to your organization, after all.  It is worth the management effort to oversee grants in this manner (whether given by a government or not) but often the government grant management is a tad more intensive.  It's doable.  Just be aware of this.  As stated, it's likely worth it and a process that should already be in place for good grant stewardship and to maintain good relations with any entity that donates a grant to your organization - but it's good to be aware of the major differences between applying for and managing received grants from foundations compared to governments.

Grants for U.S. Organizations Helping Youth Adopt Healthy Diet and Exercise

From The Foundation Center...

[For more information on this grant opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this post].

Deadline: December 15, 2010

Applications Open for General Mills Foundation 2011 Champions for Healthy Kids Grant Program


The General Mills Foundation, in partnership with the American Dietetic Association Foundation and the President's Council on Physical Fitness, is accepting applications for the 2011 Champions for Healthy Kids grant program.

This national program annually awards fifty grants of $10,000 each to community-based groups that develop creative ways to help youth adopt a balanced diet and physically active lifestyle.

Applicants must be nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) or 509(a) status. Local organizations that work with youth are encouraged to apply. These may include park districts, health departments, government agencies, Native American tribes, municipal organizations, churches, schools, Boys & Girls clubs, etc.

The target audience must be youth between the ages of 2 and 18. Proposals must have at least one nutrition objective and at least one physical activity objective. A registered dietitian or dietetic technician must either be directly involved or serve as an advisor to the program.

Visit the General Mills Web site for complete program guidelines and application.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Seeking Grant Money Today's Top 10 Posts On How Nonprofits Can Get Through This Tough Economy

Top 10 Posts On How Nonprofits Can Survive This Economy

10. What Does A Nonprofit Do That's Facing Being Taxed?
These are strange days, indeed, as John Lennon once sang.  American nonprofits, usually afforded the benefit of not having to collect or pay taxes on their charitable efforts in exchange for the good that they do in our communities, are in some U.S. cities and states facing having to collect and pay taxes on their charitable works, for the first time ever, because of this economy.  Our post, above, discusses some of those organizations' options.  For the background on and more information on this pending taxation, see Some U.S. States Considering Taxing Nonprofits to Make Up For Empty Coffers.

9. It's A Stressful Time of Year for Nonprofits, Especially Now, But Also A Time for A New Survivable View
By virtue of being a part of a community, nonprofits do have resources available to them to weather this economic downturn.

8. Tough Decision Made In the Best Interest of Beneficiaries May Be A Good Solution In This Economy
A survey of all operations options that exist to nonprofits to get through and deal with the economic slowdown.

7. We Nonprofits Must Rise to the Economic Occasion
Specific options for nonprofits to raise more, adjust spending, and even save more in this economy.

6. How To Raise Grant Money, Even in This Economy

5. How To Raise Money Better, In Your Region...Even In Tough Times

4. This Tough Economy Is Not Lost On Donors And A Real World Fundraising Boon In This Economy For Us All
An actual nonprofit's real experience conducting an annual special event fundraiser after the economic downturn, the differences in funds raised (or not), and their suggestions based on the lessons learned from the experience.

3. "Focus On The Economic Crisis" Web Page To Keep Us Nonprofits Up To Date
A good free resource provided by the excellent Foundation Center to keep nonprofit leaders and staff up to date on the latest trends, forecasts, opportunities, and resources during this tough economy.

2. Top Ten Tips to Raise Grants in a Down Economy

1. A Community's Confidence In A Nonprofit Is The Ultimate Key To An Organization's Future
It doesn't matter whether the economy is bad or not, whether a nonprofit is having a difficult time fundraising or not, whether it's a start up organization and brand new, or whether it is over one hundred years old; how a community perceives a given nonprofit (it's performance, mission success, efficiency, effectiveness, and how much it knows (or doesn't) about the organization) is what determines whether it succeeds at fundraising or not - most usually, in any economy.

Grants for Nonprofits or Artists Promoting Social Change, Resisting Oppression, and Empowering Marginalized Communities

From The Foundation Center...

[If you'd like more information on this grant opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this post.]

Deadline: October 25, 2010

Left Tilt Fund Invites Applications for Social Change Work


The San Francisco-based Left Tilt Fund is a philanthropic foundation whose mission is to promote social change, resist oppression, and empower marginalized communities.

The fund supports 501(c)(3) nonprofits and individual artists with fiscal sponsors, whose work addresses the root causes of economic, political, and social injustice.

The fund generally does not support conferences, governmental agencies, or animal welfare organizations. Individuals seeking grants must have a sponsoring organization.

Grants of up to $20,000 are awarded.

The deadline for the final awards cycle for 2010 is October 25, 2010.

Visit the Left Tilt Fund Web site for complete grant program information and the application.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Foundation Center Now Provides Free Website That Teaches How To Do Grant Writing

The Foundation Center, one of the finest resources, world wide, that enables nonprofit organizations to: learn how to conduct grant writing, search for grant opportunities that match the organization's work and goals, and conduct research related to grant writing and fundraising; now provides a free website, GrantSpace, that provides direction to anyone who visits the site on how to do grant writing (all steps, principle behind the work, and what the best practices entails - which, when understood and implemented and done in practice, often leads to a higher number of grants raised). 

The following is the GrantSpace site's press release:

"New York, NY — October 5, 2010. The Foundation Center, the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide, has launched an online learning community for the social sector. GrantSpace (grantspace.org) provides free access to the most comprehensive set of information and resources available to anyone seeking grants on behalf of nonprofit organizations. 

"The Foundation Center, which maintains offices in Atlanta, Cleveland, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, has long been known as the premier resource for fundraisers and others seeking grants. In addition to housing the most comprehensive database on grantmakers and their grants, it also offers a robust curriculum of education and training — much of it for free in locations nationwide and online — to help grantseekers effectively navigate the grantseeking process. GrantSpace brings this unparalleled depth of information and educational offerings together with even more resources designed to meet the needs of grantseekers, including: recent news, published reports, podcasts, videos, statistics, sample documents, job listings, and requests for proposals.

""GrantSpace continues in the Foundation Center tradition of helping grantseekers succeed by giving them tools they can use and information they can trust," said Bradford Smith, president of the Foundation Center. "But GrantSpace is anything but traditional, harnessing the power of technology to build community, share ideas, and offer knowledge that is indispensable in today's nonprofit landscape." 

"Resources featured on GrantSpace are organized under the 13 most common subject areas of funding research — including health, education, and the arts — so visitors can easily access the most relevant content. Visitors are also offered the option of approaching the content by focusing on a particular skill they want to hone, including proposal writing, corporate fundraising, and collaboration. Video and audio recordings of on site Foundation Center presentations, along with links to the most relevant FAQs in the extensive Knowledge Base, accompany each topic. The "Ask Us" link on each page connects visitors to expert assistance from Foundation Center staff via live chat or e-mail.

"GrantSpace also provides a comprehensive calendar listing of all upcoming Foundation Center training opportunities in classrooms around the country and online. Visitors who register with the site for free can leave comments and share or rate the content throughout. And, for a limited time, anyone who registers will receive a gift card good for a free 24-hour subscription to the Foundation Center's Foundation Directory Online Professional, its searchable database of nearly 100,000 grantmakers and more than 2 million grants.

"About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956 and today supported by close to 550 foundations, the Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit the Center's web site each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of 450 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and beyond. For more information, please visit foundationcenter.org or call (212) 620-4230."