Sunday, June 27, 2010

Where to Volunteer or Donate to Assist All in Need Due to the BP Oil Spill Disaster Because Two Different Recent Studies Find Volunteers Feel Healthier and Happier & Volunteerism Is On the Rise in America

Volunteering with a nonprofit (in whatever capacity one wishes, for whichever organization a person wishes) is not only very healthy for you; a recent study found; more Americans are volunteering than ever before and the increasingly higher numbers than before, another recent study found! 

Given the findings (as if you needed to be motivated to volunteer with a good cause, if you have the time and ability to do so, right?!), and with the BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico continuing, I encourage you to look over the following posts that list where anyone who wishes to do so may volunteer to assist with various different needs (local people, wildlife, and oil cleanup.  These posts also feature real, legitimate, safe nonprofits where if you wish to donate to assist in the causes, instead of volunteering, you can.  Please see...

About.com's Nonprofit's host, Joanne Fritz's,  "How You Can Help the Gulf Recover From the Oil Spill"

CNN's "How to help Gulf oil disaster, even if you can't make it there"

CNN lists additional organizations to donate to or volunteer with in "Volunteers recruited to help in oil spill threat"

In a recent survey, over 4,500 seniors were asked about how their volunteer work effects them.  The benefits that they perceived were wholly higher compared to the responses from the portion of the survey respondents who do not volunteer.  Also, despite the economic recession volunteerism is apparently on the rise, across all demographics, in America.; another separate study has found.

United Health Group which provides innovation and technologies for health care, asked over 4,500 senior citizens who volunteer regularly in the United Healthcare/Volunteer Match Do Good, Live Well survey, how they physically feel as volunteers and 68% of those who volunteered said that they physically feel healthier, among other positive benefits that they get from their volunteer work.  87% of those who volunteer said that they feel that they are aging well compared to 78% of those who do not volunteer.  86% feel younger than their age compared to 72% who do not volunteer.  69% responded that they feel good about aging compared to 59% of seniors who do not volunteer.  The study also found that respondents who volunteer stated that volunteering keeps you healthy, lowers stress levels, and gives you purpose in life, among other findings.  For the entire study's findings and results click the United Healthcare/Volunteer Match Do Good, Live Well survey link, above.

Similarly, the Corporation for National & Community Services June 15, 2010 issued a press release, the Volunteering in America report, states that despite the recent recession, a federal study found that the largest increase in volunteerism, since 2003, occurred in 2009.  According to the press release, 63.4 million Americans volunteered in 2009 giving 8.1 billion hours of volunteer service, estimated in value at $169 billion.

To quote the press release:

"Previous research would suggest that volunteering should drop during an economic downturn, because volunteer rates are higher among job-holders and homeowners. Instead, volunteering increased at the fastest rate in six years, and the volunteer rate went up among all race and ethnic groups."

RAPID Expedited Special Grant Mechanism for Scientists to Conduct Research at Time of National Natural Disasters

The National Science Foundation has a grant application process that allows for a speedy grant application process (including an expedited grant application review, expedited response to grant request, and an expedited granting of the money (if awarded)) in the situation of extraordinary natural disasters, such as the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In an open letter dated May 27, 2010, the National Science Foundation posted the following:

" In light of the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, we would like to remind you that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has in place a mechanism to receive and review proposals having a severe urgency with regard to availability of, or access to data, facilities or specialized equipment, as well as quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic disasters and similar unanticipated events.


"This Rapid Response Research (RAPID) mechanism has been regularly used to enable research on unanticipated events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or any other event where a timely presence is required to enable the research.  A number of RAPID awards were made to support research on the earthquakes earlier this year in Haiti and Chile, and awards are being made related to the oil spill.

"RAPID is a special grant mechanism developed specifically to respond to unusual circumstances where a timely response is essential to achieving research results.  To help determine whether the proposed research is appropriate for NSF’s RAPID funding, potential investigators must contact the NSF program officer(s) most germane to the proposal topic before submitting a RAPID proposal.

"Complete guidance on submitting a RAPID proposal is located on NSF's web site at: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf10_1/gpg_2.jsp#IID1.

"Sincerely,
"Arden L. Bement, Jr. Director
"Cora B. Marrett, Acting Deputy Director"

To see a complete list of all possible funding potentially granted by the National Science Foundation that may be considered by the NSF for the RAPID grant program, go to:
http://www.nsf.gov/funding/advanced_funding_search.jsp

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Book Review: "Careers in Grant Writing" A Good Primer for Anyone Considering Becoming a Pro Grant Writer

I was recently asked to review the book, Careers in Grant Writing (2009, Cats Pajamas Press Houston, Texas) written by Caroline S. Reeder.

In the interest of full disclosure to you, I do not know Reeder, I was not paid or in any other way compensated for this review, and this review is truly my own opinion without any influence, at all.

Careers in Grant Writing is a very clear primer and also a helpful overview that does a good job of describing the grant writer's profession for anyone considering becoming a professional grant writer.  Reeder clearly explains everything from the basics, to what the work and professional field are like, to what an average salary is and where anyone seriously considering the work may learn more.

Reeder begins by simply clarifying what a grant is and what grant writers do (for instance, famously, the job title is a misnomer; grant writers do not actually literally "write grants' but rather we write the proposal that will be submitted in order to hopefully receive a grant).  Then she describes what skills are typical of a good professional grant writer so that anyone who is considering becoming one may do a 'self check' and consider whether they have these skill, or if they don't, where they may go to learn them.  Reeder then describes where grant writers typically work, for what kinds of organizations, and what kind of work they do, on average, for each type of employer.  Next, she describes 'a day in the life' of a professional grant writer by describing well what the average grant writer does in our work environment (no matter what type of organization we work with) and she even describes some of the common misconceptions of the job and common pitfalls.  She then goes into the nitty gritty: what do grant writers earn, do we only work only as staff members or whether we grant writers can consult, what the typical educational or professional backgrounds are that lend well to being a good grant writer, and she even shares what a grant writer job description looks like.  She closes the book with an outlook for and final thoughts on this professional field, and then she provides one of the books strongest features, a great list of recommended resources (which are mostly online).

This book is a quick, clear, and complete read as it is 39 pages and includes the all important suggested resources that are good for anyone either looking to just learn how to do grant writing, or how to become a grant writer (or both).

I recommend this book as it is clear, concise, helpful, and instructive.

Careers in Grant Writing is also available for sale through amazon.com but it is for sale there, for $21.97, and cheaper through Caroline's own site, at $19.97.

If you're thinking about doing grant writing work, but never have, or if you are considering becoming a professional grant writer, then this book is for you!

Grants for People Over 60, in the U.S., Addressing Society's Biggest Challenges

From The Foundation Center...

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

Deadline: March 10, 2011

Nominations Open for the 2011 Purpose Prize Honoring Older Social Innovators


A program of Civic Ventures, the Purpose Prize annually provides five awards of $100,000 to people over the age of 60 who are working to address society's biggest challenges.

To be eligible for the prize, a nominee must be at least 60 years old by the deadline of March 10, 2011,and be a legal resident of the United States (including U.S. territories). Nominees should have initiated important innovations, in a new or ongoing organization, in an encore career. "Encore careers" are those that combine personal meaning and social impact with continued work in the second half of life. Nominees must currently be working in a leadership capacity in an organization or institution (public, private, nonprofit, or for-profit) to address a major social problem in the United States or abroad. Nominees should have demonstrated recent creativity and leadership, with the promise of more to come.

Elected officials are not eligible for the prize. Individuals working in faith-based service organizations that have a broader social mission are eligible and encouraged to apply, but the purpose of their project cannot be strictly religious or sectarian.

Nominations are welcome from any organization or individual with knowledge of a potential candidate. Self-nominations are also accepted.

Visit the Purpose Prize Web site for complete program guidelines.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Definitions for All of the Different Types of Grants

If you are researching or are about to research (or prospect) for possible grant opportunities for a nonprofit, but you are not sure what each different type of grant is or what each is used for (i.e. capital campaign, general operating, etc.); then the following list will help you out.

The Foundation Center is a tremendous resource to nonprofits, world wide.  It not only provides one of the most complete databases of currently available grants (to fund any specific combination of: cause, for different types of programs or projects, for services provided in different regions all over the world).  They also provide a great deal of very good grant writing (including prospecting) instruction: both for free: and for fee, paid: books, conferences, and online classes.

To see what all different types of grants are offered by various different grant donors and what each different type is used for, click on The Foundation Center's list called, Grants Classifications.  The list shows the names and definitions for all of the different types of grants that exist, by name, and what they are used for.  The information on their list is good for any grant donor and the definition of any grant being offered most anywhere (not just those offered in the Foundation Center database). The different types of grants, listed, are not unique to The Foundation Center, but rather common terms in American philanthropy and beyond, in general.  The Foundation Center's grants classifications list is intended for use, by them, when anyone is researching The Foundation Center's grants (and grant donors) database, but again, is good information, in general.

By the way, the Foundation Center does offer their current grants database, called the Cooperating Collection, for free in public libraries across the United States.  Click on cooperating collection to see where the nearest free grants database is available closest to you.

Grants for Wildlife Researchers and Veterinarians to Respond Quickly to Disease & Natural Disasters

From The Foundation Center...

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

Deadline: Open

Morris Animal Foundation Announces Establishment of Betty White Wildlife Rapid Response Fund


The Morris Animal Foundation was established by the Betty White Wildlife Rapid Response Fund in March 2010 to give wildlife researchers timely monetary aid to respond to unexpected events — such as natural disasters and emerging diseases — that result in the immediate need for animal health research. Grants from the fund will enable wildlife researchers and veterinarians worldwide to respond quickly to disease outbreaks and other events that result in wildlife health issues.

Grants will be awarded based on health research and conservation relevance in alignment with MAF's mission to advance animal health and welfare. All proposals must adhere to existing MAF policies, including the Health Study Policy for Animals Involved in Research.

The proposed study must be highly relevant to wildlife health, and there must be strong evidence that the event is unusual, is associated with significant morbidity/mortality, or demands immediate response. The study must address a truly unexpected emergency that cannot be addressed during the foundation's regular grant process. Researchers, organizations, and facilities must be experts in the research field and show a good probability of success. In addition, proposals cannot be for a rescue effort, but instead must have an animal health and welfare research component.

Grants from the fund will range in amounts between $5,000 and $50,000 each.

Unlike traditional MAF research grants, there is no deadline for submission — a grant application can be submitted at any time during the year. Proposals will be reviewed by MAF's Wildlife Scientific Advisory Board, and applicants will be notified of funding decisions within ten business days of application.

Further information and proposal guidelines are available at the Morris Animal Foundation Web site.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

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

Each nonprofit, in order to receive its community's trust and support, must always be effective, relevant, and efficient in all of its operations, but especially in the services and programs it provides in order to achieve the goal of its mission statement.  This is how any nonprofit not only thrives and then grows, over time, it is also how a nonprofit accomplishing these standards both demonstrates its leadership's clarity of the organization's purpose, and also the organization's own integrity; through its performance and the resulting real outcomes, in the community, of its performance.

No nonprofit operates without the support of its community and the support that is needed by each nonprofit from its community includes: all forms of fundraising (including grant writing), recruiting and retaining volunteers, acquiring partners in the community (i.e. other nonprofits, businesses, government agencies, schools, etc.), and perhaps hiring staff or consultants.  So, whether a nonprofit's leadership raises support, or not, is directly related to how well a nonprofit interacts with its community (including what the organization's programs' success rates are (or are not), how efficiently money is spent, how transparent an organization is in its operations, its reputation as a professional operation, the reputation of the leadership and key staff as individual professionals, and how well it listens to the population it exists to serve in order for its leadership to be able to plan new programs or projects that will be relevant because these are based in real, current, but as yet unmet needs within the community (that of course are related to the organization's mission statement)).

How does any organization's leadership get any nonprofit into such a strong position?

__ All decision making (by both the organization's leadership and also key staff) is done putting the mission statement; the best interest of the nonprofit, itself; and the best interest of the beneficiaries (of the organization's work) first and foremost, always, from the small decisions made in day to day work through to the biggest organization-wide decision making such as agency vision, new programming, new goals, etc.

__ Each year's organization-wide operations, each program and project, and each internal operation is fully planned in advance, is fully budgeted for (including planning out and allocating income to cover all expenses such as from various different constant fundraising all year long), and is evaluated based on surveys designed according to the professional standards for anonymous client survey design, in the organization's professional field, which are disseminated after each program or project's end, and then gathered after filled in, in order to acquire anonymous client, member, or beneficiary population feedback after each occurrence, those findings are tabulated, and all findings are reviewed to determined where improvements are needed and to plan out and then implement those improvements, and to also gather real data on successes, service statistics, achievements, and lessons learned.  The organization's board also: reviews the executive director annually for job performance (including their subordinates' anonymous input, to be weighed as part of executive director's job performance outcome) each year; reviews its own performance, annually; and reviews and compares the organization's current performance, goals, programs, and those programs' outcomes to the agency's mission statement and the goal of that mission to review how effective, relevant, and effective the organization is at least annually, but hopefully more often.  Honest organizational self evaluation is valued because it is the only way that an organization can improve its operations and gain more successes in the community)

__ At least 80% of each dollar raised is spent on programs and services and an accurate, complete, and honest breakdown of the organization's actual spending and actual income, year to date, is determined and updated monthly (i.e.in a pie chart, for each); each year a complete organizational operating budget is planned, put to the board, reviewed, corrected, and ratified; each year there is an independent, professional, financial audit; each year an annual report is created; the organization's financials are finalized, provided to the board, reviewed by the board, corrected, and ratified on both a quarterly and annual basis; and each of these documents are offered to donors and other supporters for their review, and given to anyone who requests them (i.e. putting these up on the organization's website for any one's review is an easy way to guarantee their easy availability)

__ Donors, volunteers, and clients or the beneficiaries, members, etc. are given and constantly notified about at least a couple of different, reliable, easily accessible, regularly reviewed, and fully anonymous ways to submit feedback, suggestions, concerns, etc.to the organization about the organization or their interaction or experience with it (good or bad).  Each submission should be reviewed by a formal, balanced, representative, official committee convened regularly specifically to professionally and objectively discern the meaning of, opportunity in, and official organizational response to each (i.e. potential improvements, independent review of an incident, internal investigation of an incident, or gratitude for recognition)

__ All recruiting for the organization includes: determining the organization's current needs, prior to the recruitment effort, what the job description is for the position (volunteer or paid) that is being recruited for,  who is well regarded locally and nationally for their work in this field and this type of position, planning (including who will be responsible for what, the time line, and benchmarks) identifying and targeting desired recruits for the position, proactively recruiting them, interviewing potential candidates, either recruiting or putting the board a vote for the recruit (depending for what position the recruit is being sought), and then training the recruit once officially brought on with the organization, and then proactively managing acquired talent using positive resource management so that the recruits are retained. Anyone with exceptional professional reputations; professional accolades; credentials, and relevant, successful, professional experience that relates to the organization's work and goals should be considered and recruited to add to the organization's credibility

__ All beneficiary population's demographics and any organizational raw data that are findings (especially those refereed to in the organization's: newsletter, website, programs brochures, fundraising solicitations, marketing, press, public relations, recruitment materials, etc.) such as; compiled service statistics, organizational successes, accomplishments, outcomes beating anticipated outcomes, fundraising successes, volunteer successes, client successes, testimonials for the organization or its individual efforts, etc. should be provided to the general public, made easily accessible (such as on the organization's website) and regularly (also updating it regularly) without infringing on any one person or group of people's confidences, anonymity, right to privacy, protections afforded by law, etc.

Any real data or team members that demonstrate an organization's: relevance, transparency, success, potential, capability, effectiveness, efficiency, and how needed the nonprofit's work currently is should be touted to the public at every chance that the organization gets (which includes in the press, in the organization's own literature, online, and in solicitations and during all different types of recruitment).

Grants for Nonprofit or Institutional Two Year Breast Cancer Research On Reduction in Incidences Or Mortality Conducted Anywhere in the World

From The Foundation Center...

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

Deadline: June 25, 2010 (Pre-applications)

Susan G. Komen for the Cure Invites Applications for Breast Cancer Research Grants


Komen for the Cure is accepting proposals for two breast cancer research programs.

The Komen Investigator Initiated Research Grants Program is designed to stimulate exploration of important issues and novel approaches that lead to reductions in breast cancer incidence and/or mortality within the next decade. Research projects must focus on one of the following research issues in breast cancer research:
molecular predictors of high risk and early disease; biologic underpinnings and therapeutic implications of micrometastases; targeted therapies for hormone receptor positive breast cancer with resistance to endocrine therapy; epigenetic alterations; and disparities in breast cancer outcomes across population groups. Grants will be awarded to a single principal investigator or two co-principal investigators. Applicants may request up to $400,000 each over two years or up to $600,000 over three years.

The Komen Career Catalyst Research Grants for Breast Cancer program is designed to provide unique opportunities for scientists in the early stages of their career to further their research independence by providing support for research exploring important issues and novel approaches that lead to substantial progress in breast cancer research and reductions in breast cancer incidence and/or mortality within the next decade. Research projects must focus on one of the following research issues in breast cancer research: biology and translational or disparities in breast cancer outcomes across population groups. Grants will be awarded to a single principal investigator. Applicants may request up to $300,000 each over two years or $450,000 each over three years.

Applications for both research programs will be accepted from investigators anywhere in the world who hold a doctoral degree, including M.D., Ph.D., Dr.P.H., D.O., or equivalent and work at a nonprofit institution.
Visit the Komen Web site for complete program information and eligibility restrictions.

Contact:
Link to Complete RFP