Monday, September 27, 2010

What Is the Value of Grant Writing, for A Nonprofit?

During a discussion with a colleague this week, I considered an interesting question.  He wondered, generally, what the value is in grant writing.  He didn't ask, 'what's the point of grant writing', or 'is grant writing worth its weight in gold' but rather what is the value of it.

I thought about his question and then responded.  If you have any thoughts on this question, please "Comment" below, at the end of this post, and share them.

The value of anything is relative because there are certain pertinent factors that will vary, grant writing nonprofit to nonprofit.  What type of entity is attempting the grant writing, nonprofit or otherwise?  How well operated and managed is this organization?  How old is it?  How well does it execute the usual operations necessary for any nonprofit to grow, thrive, and succeed over time (i.e. programs planning, recruiting talent, strategic planning, leadership, fundraising, donor or volunteer recruitment and retention, etc.)?  What drives its programs and services: its beneficiaries and their current but as yet unmet needs or something else?  Does this organization operate ethically while also attaining the goal of its mission statement, regularly?  Who are the people involved in the applicant organization's operations (board, executive director, volunteers, and staff)?   Does the organization communicate with its public, regularly, sharing its mission, current programs, current goals, and most recent successes?  Why is grant writing being conducted?  How was the grant writing program planned and thought out (or was it even given any forethought)?  How long has grant writing been done there?  Who is doing the grant writing, what is their professional background?  How much real-world, current, professional, best practices does the organization's key leadership know about the grant writing process?

In fact, these questions and others in this vein are interesting because while they shape how you or I might respond to what the value of grant writing is to a given nonprofit, these also happen to be the types of questions that many experienced grant donors seek answers to through their specific grant application process (which applicants, of course, answer).

The value of a specific nonprofit's grant writing program (to itself) (whether realized, yet, or discerning its potential value) is directly related to the answers to the questions in the fourth paragraph, down (above).  This gets to the very reason that a grant donor attempts to discern the answers to these questions, when reviewing each application for a grant.  The question the grant donor is asking is, "Will this nonprofit use this money efficiently, be effective and achieve pre-determined quantifiable, verifiable, and relevant outcomes in what the money funds, while operating the organization ethically, and remaining driven in the organization's goals by the current but unmet needs of the organization's beneficiaries?" and "Is this organization capable of doing these things, realistically?"  If the answer to these questions, after an initial review of the application and applicant organization is "yes", then other questions follow, such as the what, where, who, when, why, and how of the specific reason the grant is being requested (a program, project, item, etc.).

If it isn't worth the grant donor giving the grant in response to an applicant, there may be one of a myriad of reasons why (everything from 'we wanted to but just can't this cycle, apply again next cycle', to 'the proposed project doesn't seem possible', etc.).  This is why it's best to apply for grants from the strongest possible operations and mission-focused internal culture possible (because, good practices aside, at a minimum other organizations will, whether yours' is or not and you need to be able to compete for the grant successfully); and it's also why it's good to follow up with grant donors, after your grant request is declined, and politely and professionally ask them why it was declined, and then hear what they share with you.  Based on their feedback, make appropriate improvements or listen to their suggestions, and then apply again.

The value of any grant writing is related to the nonprofit's real potential and the investment in understanding how professional grant writing is conducted that succeeds, how well run the organization operates such that it is an efficient and successful effort at its mission statement, how relevant its work is, how reputable the talent is that works for the organization, what the beneficiary's current needs are (in recent professional studies), and more.  In other words, the value in doing grant writing depends upon how serious the organization is about being successful at not just grant writing, itself, but the very reason it exists: the work of its mission statement.

Grants for U.S. Or International Nonprofit Academic Research & Applied Science Suicide Prevention Or Support Programs

From The Foundation Center...

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

Deadline: December 1, 2010

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Accepting Applications for Research Grant Programs

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research and education and to reaching out to people with mood disorders and those impacted by suicide.

AFSP research grants support studies that aim to increase understanding of the causes of suicide and factors related to suicide risk, or to test treatments and other interventions designed to prevent suicide. Investigators from all academic disciplines are eligible to apply, and both basic science and applied research projects will be considered, providing the study has an essential focus on suicide or suicide prevention. In addition to U.S.-based applicants, AFSP grants and fellowships can be awarded to applicants at institutions outside the U.S., as well as to international applicants who are working at U.S. institutions.

AFSP offers six types of research grants:

Distinguished Investigator Grants of up to $100,000 over two years are awarded to investigators at the level of associate professor or higher with an established record of research and publication on suicide.
Standard Research Grants of up to $75,000 over two years are awarded to individual investigators at any level.

Linked Standard Research Grants for three or more sites of up to $225,000 over two years are awarded to investigators at any level.

Young Investigator Grants of up to $85,000 over two years are awarded to investigators at the level of assistant professor or lower. In addition to a maximum of $75,000 for the investigator's research, these grants provide an additional $10,000 ($5,000 per year) for an established suicide researcher who will mentor the young investigator.

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships of up to $100,000 over two years are awarded to investigators who have received a Ph.D., M.D., or other doctoral degree within the preceding six years and have not had more than three years of fellowship support. Fellows receive a progressive stipend of $42,000 in the first year and $46,000 in the second, with an institutional allowance of $6,000 per year.

Pilot Grants of up to $30,000 over one or two years are awarded to investigators at any level. These grants provide seed money for new projects that have the potential to lead to subsequent larger investigations.
In 2010, AFSP will initiate one annual grant application receipt date, December 1, for all applications. Visit the AFSP Web site for complete program information and application instructions.

Monday, September 20, 2010

How Networking Can Be One of (If Not The) Most Important Modes to Obtain A Nonprofit's Goal (Any Goal)

Volunteers and staff working for any nonprofit are tasked with individual specific positions and have a myriad of tasks to do each week, month, and year for that position.  One of the most important tasks that is often not listed in job descriptions, and not even attempted, but very powerful in achieving organizational success is networking.

Networking is put off too often.  It can really be a powerful tool to move a nonprofit forward in many ways.

If someone is starting a brand new nonprofit, networking among the local region's nonprofit community (in particular among organizations (other nonprofits, businesses, schools, government agencies, etc.) that are doing related or similar work gets the new organization's name out, the person's name who is starting the organization out, and provides the opportunity to say what the organization will do, for whom, how, and where (i.e.a physical address or local campus); and it allows that person to gather information (i.e. they might suggest someone locally that you don't know but should, or they may share lessons learned and experiences from their own organization's start up that wind up being pearls of wisdom), make professional connections, and can lead to some very long lasting and powerful relationships like professional collaborations, making introductions, fundraising, acquiring new board member or other volunteers, and more.

Much of the potential in networking (again, for any one of any nonprofit organization's goals) is the same.  Additionally, an established nonprofit, might have an executive director who regularly gets out of the office just to network.  This is extremely wise as much of how a nonprofit thrives and grows depends upon that organization's relationships with the people and business entities in the community.  Making time weekly or daily to network allows for the organization to disseminate important agency achievements, goals, or needs.  It also allows the nonprofit to acquire pertinent key information regarding its most current work such as perhaps fundraising.  For example, if a colleague has applied to the foundation that your organization is about to apply for a grant to, and they just did it last quarter, they will have some very current and potentially helpful information that could help you put the organization into a better position to get the grant.  Or, if a few local nonprofits have devised some very effective management strategies to get through this down economy with less difficulty, it can be powerful for other organizations to know what is working and share what they've found works.  Personally initiating, maintaining, and enabling professional relationships, face to face, is one of the most (if not the most) powerful ways to do so.  An organization's leadership (its executive director and its board members) are its face, so to speak.  They are the most executive of all people working for it and so there is a "peer to peer" aspect achieved when leaders network among other local businesses', agencies', or nonprofits' leaders.

Networking, of course, is making the acquaintance of someone new or connecting again with someone you've already met that is a colleague working in the same sector (the nonprofit sector, in this case) and sometimes in the same field.  You may meet these professional contacts online, over the phone, or in person.  It helps to be introduced to new contacts but it is often the case that you walk up to someone you don't know, perhaps at a community based meeting, or a professional nonprofit conference and simply say,

"Hello, I don't believe we've met before.  My name is ________ ," extending your hand to shake theirs in a professional and firm handshake, "and I work for X (organization's name).  I am the Y (your professional title) and we "a, b, c" (state what the organization does, for whom, how, and why in a short but clear fashion, sometimes called the "three second speech" or "elevator speech")."

For example, if you and I are both attending our children's holiday choral concert at school and our kids' teacher has just introduced us and we determined that we both work in the nonprofit sector, locally, I might say, "It's good to meet you, Diane.  My name is Arlene Spencer and I am the Development Director at the Multiple Sclerosis Association of King County.  The MSA is a direct services provider for local people who have Multiple Sclerosis and their loved ones, providing assistance and support to enable people; as after a diagnosis one's life is changed.  The MSA exists because resources, effective treatments, and coping strategies are not known if you haven't gone through it before.  No other local organization enables people dealing with MS in these ways."

Ask the person you're just meet to share the same information about themselves with you and then exchange business cards.  If you don't have business cards, exchange names, organization's names, titles, and e-mail addresses.  After the event, the next day back in the office, send and request an e-mail providing one another with the pertinent info.  Having already determined and rehearsed (not too much) an elevator speech is great for just such a situation.

Note that the example elevator speech, above, is informative but concise while making a clear case why the organization is needed, today, by the beneficiaries of the organization (in this case local people with MS and their loved ones).  It's clear and compelling information that explains the organization's relevance, " after a diagnosis one's life is changed." and "No other local organization enables people dealing with MS in these ways.""

After each conference I attend, I always round up all of the business cards I gathered at the event and write on the back the name of the event that I met them at, the date of that event, and any other note such as, for example, "...might be a good organization to collaborate for the proposed new early education program..." and then I will follow up with them that week (it is good to get back to people sooner than later so every one's memory is fresh)) or I will note at a later date, in my calendar, to follow up with them if that's appropriate.  Finally, I file the cards into whatever I use to manage business cards (digital or hard copy, such as a Rolodex) and, if you don't, it's good to have something to manage them.

I know it isn't the most comfortable or easy thing for everyone to walk up to strangers, extend one's hand professionally, and introduce oneself but it is a good skill to develop, try, refine, and try again, if you aren't comfortable with doing it.  It's not that you have to become "networker of the year" at all.  The point is to use the skill to your organization's advantage and your advantage.  Do not feel pressure to do or say what doesn't feel natural, doesn't feel like you, to yourself.  Refine what you are inclined to say or do until it does feel comfortable and familiar.  It may not ever get to where it feels "easy" or "natural" but that's O.K.  Networking takes time to develop but is worth the time to do so.

Having a professional signature block pre-set in your e-mail client, for work, helps with networking, as well.  Usually a signature block is placed after the closing ("Sincerely", "Regards", "Best", etc.) and in a left margin flush format.  It lists, line under line, the person's first and last name, their job title, the name of the organization that they are working for (either as a volunteer or staff member and it's not necessary to discern that you're one or the other, as a professional commitment, paid or not, is still a professional commitment; and whether one's being paid or not is irrelevant).  Under that (depending on the organization's protocols usually outlined in a human resources resource) the person's direct business phone number, perhaps their e-mail address, or even the organization's mailing address may be listed, as well.  These kinds of professional touches make networking with you easier for anyone who sees your signature block and wishes to make contact with you or your organization.

Being and actively utilizing a professional affiliation membership (local or national), joining a local and informal group of colleagues who work at other nonprofits for lunch regularly, being on a task force for local government, being an active member as a United Way agency, and any place or mode where you are among others (no matter if they work in the nonprofit sector or not) is an opportunity to at least introduce yourself and give the elevator speech because you never know who you are meeting and it could wind up being your nonprofit's next big donor, a new board member, a new colleague connection, or a link for your nonprofit to partner with theirs' and provide some new innovative and effective project that serves both organizations' missions.  There is no limit to how people meet, so there is no limit to where one can network.

Grants & Technical Assistance for Nonprofit Led Projects Teaching Under-Served How to Better Manage Finances

From The Foundation Center...

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

Deadline: October 13, 2010

Center for Financial Services Innovation Launches New Grant Fund to Promote Financial Capabilities Among Underserved Consumers

The Center for Financial Services Innovation, (CFSI) which works to address the needs of lower-income, "underbanked" consumers, has launched the Financial Capability Innovation Fund to provide grants and technical assistance to promising nonprofit-led projects designed to help consumers better manage their finances and achieve financial prosperity.

Through a competitive Request for Proposals process, CFSI will award a total of up to $1.5 million to four to six nonprofit-led projects. The fund seeks to support innovative projects that are relevant, timely, actionable, ongoing, and scalable.

Specifically, the fund is looking for educational projects focused on behavioral changes, which ultimately result in measurable, improved outcomes for lower-income, underbanked consumers. Examples include improved credit scores, increased savings, and avoidance of unnecessary transaction fees.

The average award size will be in the range of $200,000 to $300,000 per project. In addition to financial support, CFSI will provide several forms of non-financial support to ensure the success of the selected projects.
For more information on the fund and to download the complete Request for Proposal (RFP), visit the CFSI Web site.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

All About Sponsors and Sponsorships as Donors and a Fundraising Method

How might nonprofits work or not work with sponsors?  What are sponsors, sponsorships, and how do we know if we want to try to raise sponsorships?  This post will give you answers.  We will  look at sponsorships, sponsors, relationships nonprofits may have with sponsors, and also why some nonprofits choose not to work with sponsors.

Sponsors are most often businesses, corporations, but also can be people or other entities (such as foundations, governments, etc.) that give a sponsorship to help finance something that the nonprofit seeking the sponsorships is going to do.  Sponsorships may be raised to help fund anything from a nonprofit's: programs, services, or products; or a fundraising event; to a new building or vehicle; to even an entire year's rent or anything else that the nonprofit will have to pay to provide or do.  Sponsorships, are yet another type of fundraising method, for nonprofits.  Like annual appeal campaigns, major donor campaigns, grant writing, or bequests, raising sponsorships is another option that any nonprofit may consider to help fund its work.

Nonprofits that request sponsorships usually offer an excellent opportunity to the business or corporation, in exchange for them donating the sponsorship.  In other words, there is a mutual benefit to a sponsorship, usually.  For instance, if a nonprofit, let's say, conducts a golf tournament, annually, and the two volunteer chairs of the special event are professionals in the local mortgage industry, and the co-chairs each enlist colleagues to participate in the event, each year; there is likely going to be several professionals from the local mortgage, construction, banking or finance, and other related industries at the event.  If you figure, too, that the two co-chairs get the event sold out, each year, the nonprofit, when it approaches potential new or previous sponsors, they can give real numbers of attendees, the demographics of the golfers, including a breakdown of which industries the golfers work in, and in which cities.  This information can be very compelling to say, local businesses that are interested in reaching professionals in this particular professional sector to advertise. 

For instance, perhaps a potential new sponsor is a large realty firm, a previous sponsor was a firm of property developers, and another new potential sponsor is the local cable company that provides Internet connectivity as part of its services offerings.  The nonprofit has both researched which local businesses have not sponsored the event before that would want to reach the golfers who work in the construction sector; and have also pulled together the compelling golfer statistics and data to make the case why the would-be sponsors would gain an advantage donating a sponsorship with this event because they would be advertising to potential new customers (the golfers) who work in a field that ties into the potential sponsors' professional fields.  Perhaps the sponsors are offered: a three inch ad in two of the nonprofit's quarterly newsletters (that go out to X number of households in Y geographic region - again, providing facts helps make a request compelling), large amount sponsors get prime 'real estate' on the cover of the event's golf course guide book, all solicitations for the golf event, and 6 ' x 4 ' signage with the business' logo at two holes on the golf course.  The lesser amount donors would receive ad packages like these, too, but perhaps no signage on the course, and their ads would be smaller and inside the book and brochures, etc.  This is how to make a win-win situation for all involved.  (By the way, the golfers have the benefit of a fun day out for a good cause; but they also get to network within their professional sectors and make new contacts or strengthen established ones).

Another way to work with sponsors is if a nonprofit hires an events business to put on a special event and that firm (rather than the nonprofit) acquires the sponsors of the event.  In a for profit situation, as this one, the sponsors are also called "underwriters" as they are underwriting some amount of the total cost to put the event on usually in exchange for advertising.  Again, usually sponsors are businesses related to what the event is about.  If a small nonprofit has hired an events firm to put an annual brew festival on, the sponsors may be a local brewery, a local beverage distribution business, a local grocery store, and local restaurants that feature the beers being served at the festival.   The only concern, on a high level, that I would have about a nonprofit hiring an events firm to put on a special event that is to be a fundraising method for the organization, for that year is; first, how much of the proceeds will actually go to the nonprofit (after a cost/benefit analysis is it worth hiring a firm to put on an event that the nonprofit could, itself?); second, is the nonprofit the entity establishing and maintaining the relationship with the sponsors (who are donors) or do the sponsors have the relationships with the the events firm, instead?  It would be a shame for the nonprofit to relinquish potential relationships with larger amount donors (who could also be developed to give more, in time, but only by the nonprofit as the events firm is only working on the nonprofit's behalf on this one special event - and are not fundraisers).  Whether this is a good scenario for all involved (i.e. win-win) depends on what the nonprofit's answers are to my concerns.  A nonprofit should always take their relationships with current or new donors as the lifeline that they are: a serious lifeline.

Some nonprofits choose to not work with sponsors, perhaps on one program but does work with sponsors for all other programs that it provides, or a nonprofit may entirely decide to not work with sponsors, at all.  For instance, perhaps a sports nonprofit, by virtue of the sport it supports, is a part of a regional league.  Perhaps all member organizations in the league are required to post the various sponsors' corporate logos at the sports event's playing field or arena, as all member organizations in the league receive a certain portion of the total sponsorships raised, each year.  Perhaps the leadership of this nonprofit has been getting a lot of feedback from attendees of the events that the sponsors' ads and signs all over the arena are distracting and too large.  This concerns the nonprofit's leadership, they decide to convene a board meeting, research options, and meet to discuss the situation and options.  If the board decides that they do not require the league to raise the money that it usually gives them, each year; and the benefit of not having to post sponsors' ads all over the area anymore is worth finding another income stream (i.e. a new fundraising event to conduct each year or expanding an existing and successful fundraising method already being conducted, annually) then they might decide not work with sponsors.  It is always worth noting a nonprofit's values and whether those are impinged upon by any of the organization's work, including its fundraising.

Sponsors, like any other donors, are valuable as once they donate, they should be cared for and retained to give again (probably for the same event), next year.  They can also be developed (like most other types of donors) to give in addition to the sponsorship, and perhaps even in larger amounts.  A strong relationship with a sponsor is equivalent to a nonprofit having a strong relationship with a major donor.  These donors are typically entities that give in larger dollar amounts and very powerful, especially in poor economies, like these.

Six Months' Free Use of a New Service Allowing Public Charities To More Easily Acquire Grants From Private Foundations

Foundation Source Access will launch this fall.   We’re writing to give you advance word that nonprofits may now pre-register at Foundation Source for the upcoming giving season.  Nonprofits that pre-register by October 1st will be able to use Foundation Source for the next six months at no cost.   

The fact is, philanthropy has “moved online.” What has yet to develop, however, is a way for charities and donors to share actionable information with each other-- information that would lead to more efficient fundraising from the private foundation community. 

More than 900 private foundations across the country use Foundation Source for back office services, online charity research and philanthropic support.  These foundations grant more than $250 million annually to a wide range and variety of nonprofit organizations.  And 80% have told us they’d rather receive direct, straightforward requests than long, formal proposals.

For the first time, we are making it possible for public charities to reach out to this community directly and to seek funding from donor-led and family foundations for their most deserving projects. 

- Foundation Source 55 Walls Drive, Fairfield, CT 06824

Monday, September 06, 2010

One Way to Remedy Fundraising Jitters Is To Have Reasons To Feel Confident About the Potential to Succeed, and Here's How...

How to construct one's outlook, or point of view, level of confidence, patience, level of calm, or mindset, while fundraising is difficult for anyone who works in fundraising at one time or another.

Today's post has provides some sound advice that can lessen how much anyone doing fundraising stresses or labors, and I thought this appropriate for Labor Day.

It may seem like, 'Well, it's just a part of the job.  I'll just muscle through.  Or, I'll just keep my chin up.  Or...'  It is stressful and that is a fact.  Whether or not a fundraiser is a seasoned successful fundraiser familiar with how it goes, or if someone brand new to the work it's all the same, at the basic level.  It is a situation where one is hoping for the best and putting themselves and the organization 'out there' to achieve the fundraising success.

The fact is, there is a lot that can be done (and is done) to lessen the amount of anxiety one goes through, as a fundraiser.

A nonprofit's cash flow comes from income or money that comes into the organization.  Most money coming into a nonprofit is raised and comes from any one of many different forms of fundraising (i.e. grant writing, appeal letter campaigns, bequests, annual board contributions, etc.).  A nonprofit will set its programs and services for the coming (new) year, create an organizational (operating) budget and additionally budgets for each program and service that it is going to provide; and then the fundraising (a fundraising plan also called a development plan) is formulated to bring money in (cash flow) that will cover all expenses (for the programs, services, overhead, allocations to investments or an endowment, and any other cost such as unexpected costs, like maybe a rainy day fund).

Once a fundraising or development plan is formulated, a plan of action is created to determine the 'who, what, where, when, why, and how' for all fundraising to be conducted over the course of the new year.  Once the budgets, development, plan, and any other pertinent planning is reviewed and ratified by the board, the real work begins.

When a nonprofit has the following attributes and qualities, whether fundraising is successful or not is less of a uncertainty and has more to do with the quality of the fundraising work conducted, how knowledgeable, dedicated, and successful everyone working on the fundraising is and how well planned all of the fundraising is.  When an organization's programs and services are successful (achieving the organization's mission statement goal), the organization operates professionally and transparently, the leadership is focused on and committed to the good of the organization and its beneficiaries (before anyone or anything else), then the fundraiser can focus on their job at hand with a strong sense that there's nothing to 'sell' anyone on who may be approached for support.  Rather, when an organization is operated in excellence (as proven by the nonprofit's: track records, achievements, and ongoing commitment to its beneficiaries' well being (even as the beneficiaries' needs change over time, and they will and do)) then just sharing the quality, capability, potential, and reputation that this organization has to stand on in its current and future work will garner potential donors' (and others, such as new volunteers, board, staff, etc.) confidence.  If the fundraiser's done their homework and approached potential new donors who are interested in the cause or issue that the nonprofit works on, and the type of services or programs being offered: there should be a higher likelihood in fundraising successes.  How well a nonprofit raises any kinds of funds has everything to do with its organizational track record (or successes ala the organization's mission statement), how much about that track record is known in the community (or marketing and public relations), and how well the nonprofit is doing at asking for support (or fundraising).

The following posts are recommended on this topic.  They each get more in depth in aspects of operations or best practices that can most definitely help contribute a relative peace of mind and confidence in a nonprofit's fundraiser's potential for success, for any organization. 

How to Plan For and Fund Grant Writing for Your Organization and How Grant Writing Helps Get A Nonprofit Into a Position to Increase and Improve All of Its Fundraising and Top 10 Reasons Any Nonprofit Should Begin Applying for Grants

The fact is, it isn't easy for anyone to sit and wait for a response to a grant request, after it's been submitted and so the anxiety or at least the anticipation never altogether disappears.  For help with dealing with waiting for a response, in the interim, read Waiting For A Response To Your Grant Request

Fundraising should be diversified.  Relying on one or two (or even just three) different fundraisers to bring all of any nonprofit's revenue for a given year is risky.  See Bring in Donations From Many Different Kinds of Sources

Fundraising is always a team effort requiring the organization's leadership as much as other key staff or volunteers to assist in its success.  Read Leadership's Role in Seeking Grants  and Here are Some Tips to Get Your Board Behind Your Agency's Grant Writing

Who or which entities your organization approaches for donations or other forms of support can increase amounts raised, increase the number of new donors, save time, and save resources (as they won't be wasted on approaching people who are the least likely to give to your organization).  Just requesting support from anyone, willy nilly, can be very expensive and not as successful.  For tips on success, read How to Strategize About Which Grant Donors Your Organization Will Approach for Which of Your Organization's Funding Needs

Being clear about What Are Grant Donors Looking For & Funding Today can definitely lessen fundraising anxiety.

Knowing that the case that you make demonstrating why your nonprofit deserves to receive a grant is also very confidence building (especially when it's right on track).  Read How To Make the Case for Your Grant Request, In the Grant Proposal to learn how to do so effectively.

Specific to how a nonprofit operates and conducts its business the following posts also explain how a nonprofit can increase its fundraising success by implementing (and how to implement) the following:

Transparency... Four Letter Word or Wave of the Future?

Evaluation Methods - How A Nonprofit Can Use Them to Raise More Money More Often

Here's A Handy Checklist for Nonprofit Operations and Fundraising Success

All Inclusive Capacity Building Program for Advocates of Human Rights

From The Foundation Center...

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

Deadline: November 19, 2010

Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University Invites Applications for Advocates Program

The Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP), an initiative of the Institute for the Study of Human Rights (formerly the Center for the Study of Human Rights) at Columbia University, is a capacity-building program designed to strengthen the skills, knowledge, and networks of proven human rights defenders at the grassroots level. The program focuses both on strengthening the skills of the individual advocates and providing the tools for them to build sustainable organizations that advocate for disadvantaged peoples.

The 2011 HRAP will begin in the latter half of August and run until mid-December 2011. Advocates are expected to participate fully in the offerings provided by HRAP, including skills workshops on advocacy planning and strategies, fundraising, press and media, and building sustainable organizations; Columbia University courses on human rights, public health, the environment, development, and labor rights; and meetings and networking opportunities with non-government organization (NGO) staff, activists, policy makers, representatives of international institutions, and academics.

The program is designed for lawyers, journalists, doctors, teachers, social workers, community organizers, and other human rights activists working with NGOs on issues, including sexual and gender-based violence, domestic violence, minority rights, LGBT rights, labor rights, migration, health, social exclusion, environmental justice, and corporate social accountability. Participants are selected on the basis of their previous work experience in human rights, commitment to the human rights field, and demonstrated ability to pursue graduate-level studies. Full-time students or government officials will not be considered.

Advocates must work at the grassroots level. Applicants from high-income countries will not be considered except for those representing marginalized communities. Fluency in English is required.

Preference is given to those who have not previously had opportunities to travel and study internationally.

Advocates must provide proof of institutional endorsement from their organizations for their participation in the program and must commit to returning to that organization upon completion of the program.

ISHR makes every effort to provide full fellowships to cover program costs as well as travel and housing. A reasonable stipend is also provided to cover basic costs.

Visit the ISHR Web site for complete program information.