Sunday, December 18, 2011

Grants for Community Public Lands Organizations

From The Foundation Center...

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

Deadline: January 13, 2012

National Environmental Education Foundation Offers Funding for Volunteer Groups Serving Public Lands

The National Environmental Education Foundation, with funding from Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc. offers Every Day Grants to support nonprofit organization volunteers working to improve and encourage responsible use of public land sites in the United States.These organizations are sometimes known as "friends group."

To be eligible, applicants must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or have an eligible fiscal agent; have been in existence for at least two years; be a community-based organization whose mission is focused on serving a public land site in the United States and the improvement and responsible use of that site (this includes groups that serve more than one site, such as a regional group of parks); and have an established collaborative relationship with a local public land site (including federal, state, regional, county, city, and other local public land areas) for at least one year.

Successful applicants will describe a needed,well-planned, realistic, and replicable project; demonstrate that the project will contribute to the long-term sustainability of the organization; and demonstrate that the project will strengthen the organization's ability to serve the public land site.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Southern Oregon Historical Society Has Raised Some Eyebrows... What Could They Have Done Differently?

Nonprofits sometimes offer us interesting news, like,  Indian Artifacts A Tough Sell for SOHS published December 4, 2011 by the Southern Oregon region's Mail Tribune and written by Damian Mann which details another example of a nonprofit's leadership making a decision to raise money through a method that has others in the museum's community at large, concerned.

According to the article,on November 28, the Medford, Oregon based Southern Oregon Historical Society (SOHS) auctioned off in San Francisco, a block of items comprised of Lakota Sioux artifacts.  The items were donated to the museum in 1957 by a Grants Pass, Oregon resident, Benjamin Bones, according to the paper.  As these are historical artifacts (one item, a Cheyenne war shirt, perhaps one of the oldest still in existence) and as the body that auctioned the item off is a museum, there are concerns, for example, as noted in in the paper, by the Cultural Resource Manager, of the Sioux nation.

Bear with me, here, in getting down the museum's point of view of the situation (as it has been quoted and reported in the above newspaper article).  It is germane to our discussion of this situation.  

To quote the newspaper, "The estimated value of the collection, which the historical society hopes will sell as one unit, is from $300,000 to $500,000.
"SOHS and other museums throughout the world undertake a lengthy process before selling or donating items that aren't appropriate to their mission but take up space and resources to manage.
"SOHS rarely de-accessioned artifacts from its collection until two years ago, when financial pressures increased and the society began weeding out items that don't have any connection with the history of Southern Oregon. Since May 2009, artifact sales have totaled $155,176."  and, "Pat Harper, SOHS interim director, said a report was commissioned in August to make sure that the sale of the shirt wouldn't violate the Native American Grave Repatriation Act.
""Items such as shirts are not covered by cultural patrimony," she said. "We wanted to be absolutely certain that we weren't defying the law."
"She said attempts to sell the artifacts to a nonprofit have met without success over the past two years.
"Harper said the historical society couldn't provide the proper preservation techniques for the shirt, which also doesn't fit with the mission of preserving artifacts related to Oregon, and particularly Southern Oregon.
She said part of the historical society's mission is to generate sufficient money to preserve the artifacts that relate to this region." and "Tina Reuwsaat, associate curator of collections for the historical society, said an attempt was made to contact Cheyenne and Sioux tribal members through American Indians at Southern Oregon University.
""We never got any responses," she said.
"Reuwsaat said the attempts to contact the Cheyenne and Sioux were more related to discovering additional information about the shirt's provenance rather than to sell it.
"If money were no object, it would be a different story," she said. "We wish we could have given it away. But that wouldn't be responsible to our mission."" and ""It's sad what's happening," said Steve Vance, tribal historic preservation officer with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. "If I could stop it, I would."" and "Vance, who learned of the shirt only recently, said other institutions such as the Smithsonian have obtained American Indian artifacts over the years, and tribal officials have sought their return without success."

Interestingly, this is not the first time that this particular museum has come under fire for looking to its historic holdings to raise its funds.  In the New York Times February 13, 2010 article, Southern Oregon Historical Society looks to the Past for a Future by William Yardley the Southern Oregon Historical Society "which controls five of the most prominent historic properties in [sic Jacksonville, Oregon] a town that is itself a historic district, has proposed selling some of the sites as a way to prevent the organization’s own economic collapse".  To further quote the Times piece, "Against the growing resistance, Allison Weiss, the executive director of the historical society, said the society has had to rethink some of its plans. But she expressed little patience for complaints about them.

“What are people’s priorities?” Ms. Weiss said. “They’re carrying on that this would be a catastrophe, yet nobody’s coming forward to fund these projects.”" and "Ms. Weiss, who joined the historical society last summer, said she did not view selling the properties as a betrayal of the society’s mission. She said the society’s priority should be its collection, not preserving buildings or staging historic re-enactments in them, as has sometimes been done. Besides, she said, there is no money to do so.

"“I’m so not of that old school,” Ms. Weiss said. “What is the value of it if it’s just sitting there and no one can go into it?”"

Nonprofits and foundations, alike, provide us grant writers with excellent information that helps us develop better (and more time saving and cost effective) grant proposals, through their annual tax filings, which are public record.  For our discussion, the museum (and its fundraising arm, the museum's foundation) may be assessed by what it says about itself in its own tax filings with the federal government.  The most recent year we have to look at is for fiscal activity occurring during 2009.  Again, please bear with me and read over the following.

Looking at the museum's Foundation's federal tax filing (the IRS form 990) for 2010, on Guidestar, it appears to have paid out a little over $66,000 in grants.  Remember, what they reported on (in the 2010 filing) is 2009 finances.  The grants as listed on the return, were paid to the museum.  According to the document, a little over $55,000 in assets ("publicly traded securities") were sold to generate a majority of the grants' funds.

If we look, next, at the museum's federal tax filing (also, the IRS form 990) for 2010 on Guidestar, (keeping in mind that the 2010 filing reports on 2009's finances) its operating budget was a little over $500,000.  The value of the museum's real estate "investments" decreased.  SOHS raised a little over $50,000 in dues, a little over $200,000 in government grants, programs raised a little over $190,000, and all else raised was a bit over $120,000. "Fundraising Activities" were reported as: Mail solicitations, Solicitation of non-government grants, Phone solicitations, In-person solicitations, and Special fundraising events (and of the fundraising events, they reported a net earning of a little over $47,000).  The museum was reportedly over 99% publicly supported (the remaining 1% being investment income).

On the same SOHS 2010 tax form (reporting on 2009), interestingly:

__ In 2009 ten historical items were donated to the museum.  These were valued at $71,344 and it is telling that "the Method of Determining Revenues" is listed as "Actual Sales".

__ On the tax form's Schedule L, "Transactions With Interested Persons", a loan, noted as "Operating Funds", in the amount of $600,000 was lent to one of the then two Directors.

__ With regard to operations, on Schedule O "Supplemental Information" and under "Ceased Conducting or Significant Changes to Services" they state, "As a cost-saving measure, some of the facilities were closed to the public for a portion of the year.

__ Under "Significant Changes to Organizational Documents" they stated, "Revised bylaws were adopted...".  Under "Footnote for Art, Treasures, Etc." - they state, "Historical artifact collection primarily donated and not valued so not included on balance sheet.  Excess artifacts or artifacts not relating to organization's primary purpose have been sold and are reflected as a revenue item."

__ and under "Description of Organization's Collections And How Furthers Exempt Purpose" - the SOHS says, "Artifact collection is maintained as primary purpose of organization.  Historical items of local significance are preserved, available for research and publicly displayed."

We will use the above information to inform the following discussion about Southern Oregon Historical Society's fundraising, operations decisions, public relations, and more.

Let's use this news story as a subject of analysis:

As stated in this blog repeatedly, a nonprofit operates most effectively and successfully (in all of its operations - from programs to fundraising) when its leadership makes decisions based on the mission statement (including current organizational goals (which should also come partly from the mission and partly by the nonprofit's constituents' current but as yet unmet needs)).  The organization is defined by its mission statement.  It reports it to the governments that oversee it, and it defines itself (in part) in the public through it.  Leadership, then, must look to the organization's mission in all of its major organizational operations decisions.  If leaders do not - they are perhaps experiencing mission drift; or not familiar with contemporary, professional, nonprofit best practices, or worse.  Best practices are those because they have worked effectively, efficiently, and successfully for so many nonprofits, across the U.S., of different causes, sizes, and regions.  They also ensure a nonprofit's reputation is not potentially diminished (or worse).

For any nonprofit to operate, it must pay its bills.  In order for an organization to do that, it must fundraise all year long, every week of every month, and it helps if the organization diversifies and increases the number of the kinds of fundraising methods that it uses to do so.  Diversification of fundraising methods insures that money is coming in, the donors (and potential new donors) are being engaged in different ways that they may, as individuals enjoy, when another fundraiser isn't appealing to them (i.e. monthly donation remittance envelopes included in newsletters, for example may be easier and more convenient to some; while others may look forward and enjoy attending an organization's annual golf tournament).  If cash is not coming into a nonprofit regularly and in large enough amounts to cover an organization's operating expenses, then it must increase donations coming in, lessen its expenses, and strategize to make monthly income consistent with the organization's projected needs.

If I were to consult with the SOHS, after discovering the previously listed information about the organization, above, I would share the following concerns and suggestions:

__ The 2010 New York news piece about the potential sale of historic buildings is an example of the organization looking to is collection holdings for something to sell to raise funds.  In 2009, according to the museum's own tax return, it sold over $70,000 in artifacts it received as a donation, and the current news story about the November 2011 San Francisco auction where an auction block of Sioux artifacts clearly demonstrates this nonprofit needs to review its organizational operating budget, perhaps work with a consultant or perhaps send its board members and executive director to professional nonprofit affiliations providing trainings - but they need to learn about what nonprofit fundraising is, what works today, how it is properly done (in a way that does not potentially harm the organization's reputation, let alone its potential to develop and retain community support such as donors, volunteers, and community partners); and then SOHS needs to create a development or fundraising plan based on what was learned, the board must ratify it, and the organization needs to implement it.

__ The manner in which the then executive director reacted to community concern for the potential 2009 sale of the SOHS' historic buildings in Jacksonville, as reported in the NY Times piece, is a missed opportunity.  The organization could have cultivated community concern for the museum's own historic holdings and used it as a powerful method to raise donations, volunteers, and goodwill.  If a nonprofit tries to operate, within its community, outside of the concerns and interests of the public - it is seriously jeopardizing its public image and perhaps doing even worse harm than that.  The nonprofit that understands that without a strong relationship with its community, it stumbles, is the organization that succeeds.  In the same vein, the current interim director is quoted in the Mail Tribune article as stating that a report was commissioned in August to make sure that the sale of the shirt wouldn't violate the Native American Graves Repatriation Act, and that "We wanted to be absolutely certain that we weren't defying the law."  Yet, not defying the law does not mean that a nonprofit has not crossed a professional ethics line, or a line with the public and its trust, or worse, harmed its credibility as a nonprofit.  Still today, it seems, that the Southern Oregon Historical Society is missing an opportunity to: develop potential community partners (i.e. the Sioux nation and its cultural resources staff), to demonstrate its credibility (not trying to reach the Sioux nation by speaking to a small way out of the way, Southern Oregon, college (Southern Oregon University) to determine if the Sioux (which are based in South Dakota) would be interested in buying the historic Sioux artifacts - but instead actually looking up the Sioux nation's website (just Google "Sicangu Lakota" and call the Tribe, itself)); to demonstrate its potential to exist today and tomorrow (successful fundraising shows potential donors that yes, the organization can maintain its costs and will be here tomorrow); a commitment to the organization's integrity by working within the organization to consistently raise enough funds in a way other than selling the very historical items that make a museum - its holdings - and by having a fundraising plan in place that also proactively states what to do if the organization finds itself needing more cash or in a down economy; and more.

__ The current interim director is reportedly paraphrased in the Mail Tribune piece, "Harper said part of the historical society's mission is to generate sufficient money to preserve the artifacts that relate to this region."  Yet, on SOHS' website they state on their "Our Story" web page, "Our mission is to make history come alive by collecting, preserving, and sharing the stories and artifacts of our common heritage..  Nowhere in the mission statement of the museum does it say any such thing.  Now, the mission of the museum's foundation may say something about generating funds for the museum but the museum's mission statement does not.  You may think I am splitting hairs, but it comes down to this: how does any one nonprofit differ itself from another (think of all of the nonprofits that work on the same issue - yet do so working on different aspects of it (i.e. cancer research, cancer patient support, cancer treatment services, etc.))?  Each nonprofit, even ones working on the same exact cause or issue (i.e. cancer) must provide a real, needed, but as yet unmet service, program...ultimately an outcome to the community.  To make my point, here, even clearer: why would I (or you) donate any historic artifacts that my family has in its possession to the SOHS, right now?  I would not feel confident that the museum knows how to raise the amount of money that it needs to operate, outside of selling its own artifacts at auction.  It reportedly sells the very things that its own mission states are its reason for existing.  The SOHS, according to its own mission, appears to right now operate against its very stated reason for existing.  As a potential new donor, volunteer, or community partner, I might look at this organization's track record and ask what it is exactly that the organization's leadership uses to make operations decisions?  The current interim director (according to the article) isn't even correct about the museum's mission.

__ Looking at how much was loaned, in 2009 to one of the directors, and looking, too, at how much the Sioux collection netted, potentially, at auction last month - it is interesting that the amounts are similar (i.e. $600,000 lent, and approximately between $300,000 - $500,000 raised at auction).  Perhaps the SOHS should not have lent $600,000 in 2009?  This is another example of why a nonprofit's leadership should look to its mission when considering any major organizational decision (such as 'whether we should lend large amounts of money or not).  Lending money is nowhere in either the museum's or the foundation's mission.  I know that in the real world it is legal to do so, and not unusual, but look at the ultimate outcome for the organization (today in 2011) when the leaders made a decision outside of the mission - it led to them apparently being down, in amounts needed to operate, about the very same amount that they loaned in 2009.

__ Every nonprofit's track record is its potential to succeed.  Each time this organization has stated why it sells its historic holdings to raise money, it is interesting that the related comments (even as quoted from their 2010 tax return for 2009 finances) sounds like its in contrast with their mission.  Why would a nonprofit that exists to show the public historic artifacts then turn to the very kernel of its reason for existing and use them as the means to continue funding the organization?  Why even go anywhere near there?  What a public relations, potential to raise funds, and credibility nightmare!  It's already difficult enough to raise funds for any nonprofit.  Why take an organization down a path that potentially (in any way at all) can cause people to question the organization?  According to their 2010 IRS return, in 2009 they were holding special events, to raise funds, writing grant requests, soliciting in person and on the phone...why then, wouldn't the organization increase the number of special events it holds (i.e. host a new annual gala) , implement a bequests program, increase grant writing goals and successes, become a United Way Umbrella agency, become a part of the State Employee Giving program and other corporations' giving programs, implement a major donors program, etc.?

__ The current interim director, according to the article, sees the Sioux collection as not relevant to Southern Oregon.  I am not sure that the Sioux artifacts are not pertinent to Southern Oregon (as stated in the SOHS' mission) because the man who contributed the historic collection lived in Southern Oregon, and according to the recent newspaper piece, the museum and the Sioux Nation, itself, are not sure of the collection's significance, provenance, or how the man who donated it to SOHS came to own it.  So, then, how can the museum be so certain that the Sioux artifacts are not pertinent to the museum's own region's history (which is, according to the mission, what the museum exists to provide the public with)?  Too, not being able to provide a historic item with the necessary preservation methods required to keep it is not in direct contrast to the mission and in fact, could be a project that the Sioux Tribe might have collaborated with SOHS to do.  As I repeatedly state in this blog, grant donors, in particular (and especially in this economy) prefer to fund projects and programs in which two or more separate nonprofits collaborate.

I know that the SOHS has not broken the law, that their lending money, that selling holdings that they do not see as relevant to their mission is a common practice by museums, that sometimes decisions need to be made that the leadership would rather not do, and so on.  My point in writing this post is not to criticize the SOHS, here, but rather to use their record as an example to my readers for educational purposes.  While none of these practices that they have done are illegal, or contrary to common practices in their professional field, and so on - it cannot be disputed that they have also developed, at least in the press over the past few years, concerns among the organization's own community and beyond.  This is enough for any organization to stop, take a look at itself, and seriously assess what they have been doing that led to the tough public record, and where the organization can improve and go.

08/12/13 Another museum faces the heat for considering selling its holdings complete to various different articles sharing different thoughts on it:
Selling the Art of Detroit Is Batshit.  Exactly.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Grants for Public Schools' Music Programs and Independent Music Programs

From The Foundation Center...

[As always, if you are interested in this grant opportunity, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of this post, for more information].

Deadline: February 17, 2012

Muzak Heart and Soul Foundation Invites Applications From Music Education Programs for Music Matters Grant Program

The Muzak Heart & Soul Foundation, a nonprofit public charity established by Muzak LLC, is accepting applications for its Music Matters Grant Program, which provides grants to public school and independent music programs in the United States.

Highest consideration is given to those programs in need of basic materials such as instruments and sheet music, programs serving economically disadvantaged students, programs involving innovative educational reform, and programs with established partnerships with parent-teacher-student associations and other community groups.

Music education — vocal or instrumental — must be the key component of any music program requesting funds. Applications will be accepted from public school programs (qualifying for Title I federal funding and serving a minimum of 50 percent low-income students) and nonprofit 501(c)(3) programs directly funding music education (serving students regardless of their ability to pay).

Applicant schools and programs must already employ at least one music educator and have an existing music program in place. Grant requests must articulate specific needs for existing and/or planned programs.

Grants will be made in amounts of up to $6,000.

Complete grant guidelines, the application form, and an FAQ are available at the foundation Web site.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Making the Case to the Team, Board, or Executive Director

Sometimes, you believe in implementing something new to the nonprofit: a fundraising campaign, a thank the donor event, a money saving method, a volunteer and community partners raising campaign, but someone on the team, or a board member or two, or maybe the executive director does not get it.  In this moment, do not despair.  Like you, I have been there before, as has most anyone passionate about an organization and its welfare.  Volunteer, staff member, and even consultant alike have walked this path.

Having said that you are not alone, there is more hope, yet, still!

There are many ways to make a compelling case to get all key players on board with implementing a new concept or program.  Below I list several that I have used and have worked to bring new ideas and projects to light among colleagues in nonprofits I've worked for, as staff, as a volunteer, and also as a consultant.

As I so often do in this blog, I must temper what I am saying here with a healthy dose of reality.

First of all, not every idea that I've come up with and been passionate about (even the "really really good ones")  was right for the organization, the best timing, the most supportive of the current organizational or department (i.e. programs or fundraising) goals, etc.  Just like there can exist good reasons to implement new steps, there may be  very good reason not do something at all or not to do it right then, or to not do it the way that it was initially envisioned to happen, etc.  So, I implore you, as you proceed in attempting to get your new project underway - keep an open mind and listen to others in the know, at the nonprofit, as they react or comment to your proposed scheme.  It may be really good and powerful for the future of the organization and it may not be.

Next, I know and you know that there are many interpersonal snafus, let's call them, that come up (no matter whether in a nonprofit or for profit) when anything new or different is being proposed.  There may be career goals stepped on, interpersonal politics heated, personalities brought more to the fore, communication issues enlarged, or any other unpleasantness that most of us avoid (if we'll admit it) and many of us dislike.  There are ways to, before one proposes anything, to acknowledge these kinds of conflicts may occur, use them as opportunities for everyone to be heard and to truly work through them for the sake of the organization and to improve operations and thereby lessen operations' costs.  I suggest that if conflict or even just a ruffling of feathers is a serious possibility from your proposed new step, admit that and deal with it head on, proactively, before the project gets proposed by arming yourself with proactive, proven, and equalizing communications and processes and actually use these tools, skills, and processes.  There are many excellent books, consultants, and classes that can impart effective conflict management and alleviation processes.  Check out some that are highly regarded and recommended by trusted colleagues at other nonprofits, professional affiliations, professional publications, etc.

"It isn't easy being green." - Kermit the frog   Lastly, if you are clear about the organization's beneficiaries' current (demonstrable) but as yet unmet needs (that are pertinent to your organization's mission statement, the organization's current state of operations,  its budget, and the current direction of the organization's professional field including its ethics and best practices); and you feel strongly that your proposed project is in line with each of these - then stick to your concept, and hang in there.  I don't mean to sound glib.  Like I said, above, I've walked this path and am familiar with meetings where I was sure everyone that I heard speak got the concept I proposed, only to find out the next morning via a rash of heated e-mails thrown around, after that meeting, that one really got the concept.  In one way - it was frustrating and it set us back, time-wise.  In another way - it was an opportunity and I had to see that I had obviously not explained the concept clearly.  I needed to do that (and in a different way than I had, before).  If it's really something that can be proven to enable and improve all involved, don't give up.

Having tempered the idea of moving a new concept through a nonprofit organization, above, these are some tried and proven ways to get others to see why your proposed new concept should be implemented:

__ Meet and during the meeting(s) present and provide verifiable, factual, thorough, and compelling reasons why what you are proposing: empowers the mission statement, enables the organization's current programmatic goals, is cost effective (or better yet, cost reducing), meets real current but as yet unmet needs in the community, and why it's a unique opportunity that is uniquely suited to your nonprofit, specifically.  Do not make any assumptions like, 'obviously this is a good idea - who wouldn't see that', or 'they're all going to hate it, I'm not even going to propose the idea'.  Give your idea and you a chance, but also, do not assume that a case does not need to be made.  Making a case, at a minimum, demonstrates respect for ones superiors and colleagues and helps them to make the right choice (whatever that is) and in the best case, actually helps bring it to fruition.  This process winds up being informative to the grant proposals that may go out to request funding for this new project, should it get a 'thumbs up'.

__ Admit what the limitations, difficulties, challenges, and all other possible negatives are to your idea and then (next to each one in a presentation slide, even) list what the (really viable, cost effective, efficient, and ethical) solution is to each foreseeable possible problem with the idea.  Every new idea has something wrong with it.  So, proactively admit and address each one.  This step, too, will be included in a grant proposal, eventually.

__ Suggest how the proposed project would actually work.  List and cost out a realistic project description, staffing plan (including volunteers as much as possible but be real if new talent needs to be acquired for this to be successful), a budget, project goal, a timeline (including benchmarks like planning, implementation, cost benefit achieved, anticipated outcomes, etc.), and what the anticipated outcomes might or will be.  Guess what?  All of this, too, is crucial to any well written grant application and will go into it, too.

__ Do your research.  If your idea is a good one, the need for someone to do it and or its intended outcome is relevant.  Go to your public library's Reference Desk, to a pertinent government office's website or office, academic or professional journal, or to any other verifiable, reputable, professionally regarded source and use the most recent data sets describing the nonprofit's beneficiaries and their current but as yet unmet needs  (and it should be recent data sets in order to make a case that the proposed is pertinent right now) or data that describes the organization's beneficiaries such as demographics and use these to make the case on the data sets' trends or studies' findings.  This is an integral part of any excellent grant proposal, too.

__ Clearly point out which current and potential new donors have a high, moderate, and low likelihood of contributing to the proposed project and show why you state that about each group of donors or individual donors (i.e. such as specific grant donors that have current giving goals aligned to the outcomes of the proposed project, etc.).  Too, list which current or potential new community partners would be interested in working with your organization to bring the proposed to fruition.  Yup, this, too, would go into a well written grant proposal.

__ If this is a project or program that could be successfully replicated by other nonprofits elsewhere, then it may be a model program, and if it is - say so in your presentation explaining why it may be a model program.  If this is the case, this information must go into a grant proposal.  Donors, but especially grant donors are often very interested in funding new projects that are demonstrably possible model projects for other organizations to replicate and find success with.

__ Finally, some excellent advice that I received, once, as I was learning about nonprofit operations was 'it never hurts to make your superiors look good'.  This is nothing that would necessarily be inserted into the case stated in a grant proposal, but it sure helps to make for a wise presenter.

Making a case for a new idea is not easy but it is not impossible, and it turns out that much of what is compelling that makes a case to colleagues tends to be equally compelling to all kinds of different potential donors, including grant donors.  If you are about to embark on making a case, I wish you the best.

Year Long Fellowship for Emerging Independent Film Producers

From The Foundation Center...

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

Deadline: February 10, 2012

Sundance Institute Invites Applications From Emerging Independent Film Producers for Creative Producing Fellowship and Lab

An annual program of the Sundance Institute, the Sundance Creative Producing Fellowship is a year-long program designed to nurture emerging independent film producers with project-specific support through labs, grants, and long-term advisor relationships.

The fellowship program is designed for the holistic producer — that is, someone who identifies, options, develops, and pitches material; champions and challenges the writer/director creatively; raises financing; leads the casting/packaging process; hires and inspires crew; and navigates the sales, distribution, and marketing arenas. The program is designed to hone emerging producers' creative instincts and further develop their communicating and problem-solving skills at all stages of realizing a project.

Five producers will be selected for the one-year fellowship (July 2, 2012, to June 29, 2013), which will include participation in a feature film creative producing lab and creative producing summit, as well as attendance at the Sundance Film Festival (including screenings, curated meetings, and networking opportunities). Fellows also will receive a $5,000 living stipend, a $5,000 pre-production grant, year-round mentoring from two industry advisers, and year-round support from Sundance Institute staff.

To be eligible, candidates must have produced at least one short or feature-length narrative or documentary film (no more than two narrative features total); must have a completed, legally-optioned, scripted narrative project in hand with a director attached to the project; may not be the writer or director of the submitted project; and must live in the United States, though the project may be filmed internationally.

Visit the Sundance Web site for complete program guidelines, the application, and an FAQ.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tips to Improve and Lessen the Costs of Nonprofit Operations

What Is A Well Run Nonprofit Agency?  I'll Tell You...

How To Find General Operating Funds

Nonprofit's Mission Statement, Program/Project Impact, and Your Field's Current Trends

Creating Model Programs and Their Effect On Getting Grants

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

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

Take That Nonprofit's Grant Writing to the Next Level

Grant Writers, Commissions, Best Practice, and the "Why?"Of It All...

How To Increase the Number of New Donors

Getting Major Donors to Contribute Large Regular Donations Can Stabilize Cash Flow

Burn Out and Its Effect On Your Fundraising...

Who's the Boss At Your Nonprofit?  Not the E.D.  Not the Board.  It's the Mission Statement!

Grants for Independent Family Livestock and Poultry Farmers Working to Improve the Animals' Quality of Life

From The Foundation Center...

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

Deadline: April 1, 2012

Food Animal Concerns Trust Launches Grant Program to Help Farmers Improve Conditions for Livestock

The Food Animal Concerns Trust has announced the launch of the Healthy & Humane Farm Funds Project, a competitive micro-grants initiative designed to empower livestock and poultry farmers across the United States to improve the treatment of farm animals.

Through this project, FACT will provide small grants to qualifying livestock and poultry farmers who wish to improve animal welfare on their farms. The organization will award grants of $500 to $1,500 for projects designed to help farmers 1) transition to pasture-based systems, 2) improve the marketing of their humane products, or 3) more generally enrich the conditions in which the farm animals are raised.

FACT is accepting applications for the first round of Healthy & Humane Farm Funds Project grants that will be awarded in June 2012.

To be eligible, farms must raise at least one of the following animal species: pigs, broiler chickens, laying hens, dairy cows, and/or beef cattle. Proposed on-farm animal welfare improvement projects must impact at least one of these species. Grants will be made only to farmers for a project on a working, independent family farm.

Complete program information, application procedures, and examples of eligible projects are available at the Humane Farm Funds Web site.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

How To Increase Fundraising & Spend Less In the Coming New Year

How To Plan Out This Year's Grant Seeking

Want To Spend Less On Your Nonprofit's Fundraising?  Here's How...

Grant Writing And the End of the Year

What A Nonprofit's Annual Report Is, Why It Is Powerful In Fundraising, & How To Create One

June Is Half Way Through The Year - Take Stock, Nonprofits

Grants for Community-Based Wetland, Riparian, and Coastal Habitat Restoration

From The Foundation Center...

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

Deadline: February 15, 2012

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Invites Applications for Five Star Restoration Grant Program

The Five Star Restoration Program provides modest financial assistance to support community-based wetland, riparian, and coastal habitat restoration projects that build diverse partnerships and foster local natural resource stewardship through education, outreach, and training activities.

The National Association of Counties, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, (NFWF) and the Wildlife Habitat Council, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Southern Company, and FedEx, are accepting applications for Five Star.

To be eligible for funding, projects must include on-the-ground wetland, riparian, in stream, and/ or coastal habitat restoration; integrate meaningful environmental education into the restoration project either through community outreach, participation, and/or integration with K-12 environmental curriculum; and result in measurable ecological, educational, and community benefits.

In 2012, NFWF anticipates that the following funding will be made available by program partners:
The United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water will provide approximately $200,000 in total funding for projects in the U.S., with a focus on communities not served by other funders.

Southern Company and its operating companies (Georgia Power, Alabama Power, Gulf Power, and Mississippi Power) will provide approximately $200,000 to support projects in the Southern Company service area (parts of Georgia, Alabama, the Florida Panhandle, and southeast Mississippi).
FedEx EarthSmart Outreach will provide approximately $375,000 in total funding to support urban conservation and restoration projects in the following fourteen metropolitan areas: Boston, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Newark, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, San Francisco/Oakland, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

The Five Star program is open to any public or private entity that can receive grants. While partnerships are encouraged to include state and federal agencies, those entities may not serve as the grantee unless the community partners demonstrate that the state or federal agency is best suited to coordinate the community-based project.

Grants will vary in size, duration, and scale. In general, smaller-scale one-year projects will be eligible for grants of $10,000 to $25,000. Larger-scale two-year projects will be eligible for grants of up to $40,000.

Only a very limited number of projects meeting the highest competitive criteria will be awarded in the $30,000 to $40,000 range. The average grant award is expected to be between $20,000 and $25,000.

A minimum 1:1 match of cash or in-kind/contributed goods and services to funds requested is expected.

Visit the NFWF Web site for the complete Request for Proposals and application procedures.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Real World Example Demonstrating Why Nonprofits' Mission Statements Are More Important Than The Almighty Dollar

I write, in this blog, about professional nonprofit best practices a lot.  Best practices are not anything written in stone or some pact that was galvanized by every professional nonprofit volunteer or employee swearing allegiance; but rather, best practices are simply either adhered to and practiced regularly - or not.  Usually whether best practices are conducted depends on what experience the nonprofit volunteer or employee has and what they know about how things are done and why they're done that way.

So, for this reason, I find great value in noting and following real world current events to both track what the community (at large) thinks or how it reacts to the situation (many times no one writes to the Editor when a paper mentions a local nonprofit's bookkeeper bilked the organization out of money).  On Thursday, though, I spotted a news item that I think is, at a minimum, informative and more than that, probably a good example of when and how a nonprofit can run into conflicts of interest when weighing the organization's very reason for existing and operating (its mission statement) against a donor's wishes.

On November 9, 2011 The New York Times published Parks Chief Blocked Plan For Grand Canyon Bottle Ban written by Felicity Barringer and it was carried, at least nationally, by news wire services.  Though you may not, I happen to value this nation's amazing and unmatched great outdoors.  My point in writing about this story, though, is not about the environmental issue (of which I am going to write my federal representatives about).  This story is interesting because last year, as the article states, " Weary of plastic litter, Grand Canyon National Park officials were in the final stages of imposing a ban on the sale of disposable water bottles in the Grand Canyon..." but the top federal parks official, Jon Jarvis decided against the ban because a major donor did not like it.  To quote The Times piece,"...Coca-Cola, which distributes water under the Dasani brand and has donated more than $13 million to the parks, had registered its concerns about the bottle ban through the foundation, and...the project was being tabled. His account was confirmed by park, foundation and company officials..."

If we look at Jarvis' decision objectively, we need to refer to the National Park Service's mission statement (as stated on their website)," promote and regulate the use of the...national parks...which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.".  Jarvis seems to have made a decision about Parks operations outside the scope of the National Park Service's mission statement.  This is not unheard of, by any means.  Sometimes nonprofit leadership makes decisions that are motivated by reasons outside of the organization's mission statement without any controversy.

The controversy, in Jarvis' decision, is that he did what one of the National Park Service's donors wanted which is in sharp contrast to the agency's own mission: it's reason for existing.  In fact, Jarvis was willing to ignore a good majority of the Park Service's purpose as stated it is clearly stated in the mission statement.  This is not my opinion, but rather, his action is in direct contrast to the purpose of the Park Service and this is discernible by the actual facts.  

Even still, perhaps you are saying to me, "well...we are in a recession and the Park Service could use all of the donors and donations it can retain".  This is true and this is not a small point. Coke and its subsidiaries are probably very generous partners with the Park Service as a donor. Jarvis may (I could not find any comment from him on this point) have decided to do what Coke wished irregardless of the Park Service's mission purpose because its own budget has been cut by Congress.  In fact, this may be the very crux of the situation.  These are tough times.  Yet, always, even in poor economic times, a nonprofit's leadership must decide what the organization stands for, what it will tolerate (with regard to the organization's own best interest and future ability to do its work) and what it can not abide.  Jarvis decided in this down economy to do what one of his big donors wanted.  So, perhaps now you are saying to me, "well...doesn't this kind of thing happen all of the time when a major donor helps a nonprofit build a new building, for instance, and wants naming rights for one of the new building's wings?".  This is also true.  Yes, this occurs. Usually, though, naming rights is an actual fundraising method used to help raise the funds for the new building (before the building is built and years in advance, while the fundraising for the new building to be is being planned out).

If we look at this situation considering nonprofit operations, from a purely professional practical point of view, the Park Service's leadership's decision to do what one of its major donors wanted despite the clearly described purpose of the Service, stated in its own mission statement, which contrasts with the purpose; this is not a good decision and not within best practices.  This can apply to any nonprofit in any similar situation and nonprofit leadership actually sometimes have to say to a donor (even a major donor), 'thank you but we have to return the check' (see my post, Is There Really A Grant That Our Organization May Not Take?).  Here's why:

__ No organization operates without referring to its mission statement.  Without the mission, the organization is a ship directionless in the night.  There is no guiding principle or reason the organization operates or even exists.  (This is why mission statements are of value).  When an organization does strategic planning, considered what new programs or services to implement, or weighs what its beneficiaries need and can receive from the nonprofit - only the mission statement clearly defines the organization and so this definition clarifies for the organization's leadership what should and should not be considered worth doing.  If a nonprofit, though, only refers to its mission statement in a cursory or even inconsistent manner then its leadership is likely not making decision based on the best interest of the organization's beneficiaries or the organization's own welfare (as stated, for instance, in the Sarbanes Oxley Act which all American nonprofit boards are required by law to uphold).  The best interest of the organization and its beneficiaries, as the law describes it, come before the interests of others (including donors).  How would the law know what the organization's best interest is?  The nonprofit, in order to be an official charity, per the IRS, files its mission statement (and must update it with the IRS if and when the mission statement is updated or changed in any way).  This is how clear the law is about the importance of the mission statement.

__ What should other donors or contributors of any kind (such as volunteers or community partners) think about the nonprofit that puts its beneficiaries second to the interests of one of the organization's major donors?  Why would you or I give to the Park Service, right now, if we agree with the organization's mission statement and see the purpose of the Parks exactly the same as it is stated in the Park Service's own mission statement?  We wouldn't right now and would, instead, divert that donation to another charity that will use the money in a manner that I am more comfortable - one in which I (a contributor) understands the organization is supposed to operate by looking at other potential recipient organizations' operations and weighing how consistent each other potential recipient organization's leadership make decisions or conduct operations with each organization's mission.  Donors are truly investors who want to see their money result in real positive outcomes as the donor understands the organization's goals to be (one way donors or anyone among the general public, outside the organization, does this is by looking at an organization's mission and its recent track record).

__ How much money does anyone or any corporation have to give in order to have sway over what the nonprofit does or does not do and why is that amount worth that kind of power over the organization's welfare and its beneficiaries' welfare?  Any nonprofit that is willing to do what a donor wants beyond the scope of the organization's mission, values, or purpose needs to seriously evaluate its own leadership and perhaps train those leaders in modern professional best practices, or even let them go.  Making decisions that do not proactively induce the organization's purpose or goals may be (and often actually is) an indication that someone at the top is either unaware of what professional best practices are and why, or does not care and is a dangerous liability to the organization's public image and future potential to raise any kind of support.  Is any donation worth this?

__ As of the date and time of my writing this post (10:30am PST 11/11/11) the Times states in its article that a law suit is now going to be brought forward, given Jarvis' decision.  How much money is it going to cost the Park Service to fight this court case, regain the general public's trust (who are the beneficiaries of the Park Service), regain donors' confidences that the agency operates according to its mission rather than the wishes of major donors, and fix this image issue through marketing and  public relations?  A lot.  How much money is the Park Service, then, spending to avoid its own purpose all because Coke gives so many thousands of dollars a year?  I bet more than whatever it is Coke donates.

I use this situation as an example to demonstrate why professional nonprofit best practices are just that - best practices.  They are not something someone somewhere comes up with and then beats over the head of others.  They are practices that many different nonprofits (of all sizes and ages) try (in different regions of the U.S. and world) and happen to be what work.  They are the most effective because they are repeatedly successful practices for any other nonprofit that adopts and conducts them.  The proof is in the outcome.  Let's watch what happens next in this current event.

December 15, 2011 Update:

April 3, 2013 Related Story: Mt. Rainier Moves to Ban Bottled Water, Big Bottle is Pissed

Grants and IBM Expertise for U.S. and International Cities' Governments' Offices and Districts (i.e. Port Authorities, School Districts, Etc.)

From The Foundation Center...

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

Deadline: December 16, 2011

IBM Invites Cities Around the World to Apply for Second Year of Smarter Cities Challenge

IBM has opened the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge to new applications for 2012. Launched in 2010, the Smarter Cities Challenge is a competitive grant program that will award $50 million worth of IBM expertise over the next three years to a hundred cities around the globe.

The program provides select applicant cities with access to teams of IBM employees who are expert in a variety of urban-related matters (e.g., finance, public safety, citizen services). The teams will help the selected cities analyze the unique opportunities and challenges they face as municipalities in today's difficult economic climate. After conferring with officials, citizens, businesses, academics, and community leaders, the IBM teams will recommend actions to make the delivery of public services more efficient and innovative. Issues addressed might include jobs, health, public safety, transportation, social services, recreation, education, energy, and sustainability.

Each grant provides an equivalent value of approximately $400,000 in talent and technology.

Key factors for a successful grant application include strong municipal leadership, willingness to collaborate with many stakeholders, and the desire to make the city smarter and more efficient. Cities also will need to champion actionable and measurable efforts that have the potential to make a real impact on the lives of its citizens. Winning applicants will identify areas that are closely connected with a city's top priorities and involve a range of disciplines and departments.

Only general-purpose governing bodies may apply. Special districts (such as port authorities, school districts, or utility districts) are not eligible for the program at this time. In addition to uploading a completed application form, each applicant is required to submit a brief letter from the mayor (or equivalent executive officer of the municipal government) affirming the validity of the submission.

Applications will be accepted in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), and Japanese.

Visit the Smarter Cities Challenge Web site for complete program guidelines, case studies that describe IBM's recommendations to 2011 grant recipients, examples of successful applications, and the application form.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Grants for Communities Using Arts and Culture to Revitalize Their Community

From The Foundation Center...

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

Deadline: February 1, 2012(Preliminary Applications)

Kresge Foundation Invites Preliminary Applications for Arts and Community Building and Artists' Skills and Resources Grant Opportunities

The Kresge Foundation's Arts and Culture Program seeks to foster the power of arts and culture to recharge and rebuild communities of all sizes in the United States.

As part of this effort, the program is accepting preliminary grant applications from nonprofit organizations for its Community Building and Artists' Skills and Resources focus areas.

The Arts and Community Building focus area is intended to help develop a systematic way to support arts and culture as a tool for revitalizing communities. To achieve this goal, the program will invest in exemplary efforts and identify and share best practices within the field. At the national level, the foundation wishes to fund exemplary organizations dedicated to integrating arts and community-building activities and identifying new methods as models for the field; commission and publish research on efforts to integrate cultural organizations and artists into community-building efforts; elevate the visibility of arts and community building, and disseminate best practices through meetings, publications, and other means as appropriate. The foundation is accepting preliminary applications from grant seekers for national-level projects.

The Artists' Skills and Resources focus area is based in the belief that community transformation would be more widespread if more communities embraced artists as important contributors to the identity, vitality, and cohesion of the places where they live. The program seeks to boost artists' skills and resources by supporting leading practitioners as well as efforts to increase the number of live-and-work spaces for artists.

Preliminary applications for both funding areas will be accepted and reviewed on an ongoing basis through February 1, 2012. (After that date, the grant opportunity may be modified.) The preliminary application contains a data-entry component and several attachments, including a narrative. Applicants with promising requests will be asked to complete the second part of the application process.

Visit the Kresge Foundation Web site for complete program information and the preliminary application form.

Monday, October 31, 2011

What Are The Typical Different Fundraising Methods Nonnprofits Use To Raise Support? See...

For more information on any one of the following fundraising methods, use the Search field (upper left hand corner of this web page) or look under Labels (to the right) for the topic title (or look under the How To Label).

Different But Very Common Methods of Fundraising:

What Grant Writing Is and What It Is Not

Newsletters Allow Nonprofits Repeat Access To Donors and Volunteers...And More...

Write An Annual Appeal Letter to Raise Relatively Quick Funds

About Bequests And Their Unique Fundraising, & What They Are, & How A Nonprofit Can Begin A Bequests Campaign

A Complete Primer On What Capital Campaigns Are, How They Work, How To Fundraise For One, And How To Specifically Apply For Grants For A Capital Campaign

What Are Leadership Donations?

Getting Major Donors To Contribute Large Regular Donations Can Stabilize Cash Flow

Is Crowd Sourcing A Viable Sustainable Way for Nonprofits To Raise Funds...

All About Sponsors and Sponsorships...

What Are Endowments Or Endowment Funds And Does Our Nonprofit Need One?

Raising donations through your nonprofit's website
Cash Donations (Individuals and Corporations)
Services for Fees (i.e. Sliding Scale Fees or Ability to Pay Scale)
Fundraising Events
Educational Programs for Fees
Selling donated items (i.e. In Kind donations), etc. for profit in a retail store or online
Becoming a United Way agency
Require Annual Minimum Board Member Donations
Working with another organization on a specific program/project and sharing the costs and donations
Employee Giving Programs (i.e. corporate employees' regular contributions)
Employee Matching Gifts (i.e. a donor's employer matches each of its employees' donations)
House Parties

Keep in mind that many medium size nonprofits, as well as large ones, conduct all and more of the above fundraising methods, over the course of a year, smaller ones a combination of two or three.  In order for a nonprofit to have continual cash flow, it must be fundraising regularly, all year long.

Three Different Grants For Atheletics and Sports: U.S. Soccer for Youth, U.S. Football for Youth, and U.S. Girls Sports Ages 8 - 13

These Grant Opportunities Are Not Related and Each Are Separate Opportunities From Different Grant Donors:

[If you are interested in more information on any of these grant opportunities, then click "Link to Complete RFP" for the pertinent grant opportunity, at the end of its grant description].

1. U.S. Soccer Foundation Invites Applications for Social Innovation Fund Subgrant Program

Deadline: December 22, 2011

The U.S. Soccer Foundation is offering the opportunity for organizations around the United States to apply for the 2012 Soccer for Success Social Innovation Fund Subgrant. The 2012 Soccer for Success SIF Subgrant will support the replication of Soccer for Success, the foundation's free after-school youth development soccer program, which was designed to combat childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles for children in low-income urban communities.

The subgrant program seeks to invest in nonprofit organizations serving economically disadvantaged youth in grades K-8.

Grant awards will range from $100,000 to $300,000 based on the number of children served and applicant's ability to provide matching funds. Grants will be funded for two years.

The application window for the 2012 Soccer for Success SIF Subgrant cycle opened on October 27, 2011, and will close on December 22, 2011.

Visit the U.S. Soccer Foundation Web site for complete program information and the application.

2. National Football League Grassroots Field Grant Program Offers Funding to Improve Youth Football Fields

Deadline: December 16, 2011

The NFL Youth Football Fund Grassroots Program, a partnership of the National Football League Youth Football Fund and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, provides financial and technical assistance to nonprofits working to improve the quality, safety, and accessibility of youth football fields in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

In order to be eligible for a grant, projects must be sponsored by community-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations or middle or high schools. In addition, all organizations applying for funds must be located specifically and exclusively within NFL target markets and serve low- to moderate-income areas within those markets.

There are two levels of support:
General Field Support: Applicants may submit requests of up to $50,000 for capital projects not associated with the actual field surface(e.g., installation/refurbishment of bleachers, concession stands, lights, irrigation systems).

Field Surface Grants: Matching grants of up to $200,000 are available to help finance the resurfacing of a community, middle school, or high school football field and the installation of synthetic sports turf. A smaller number of matching grants of up to $100,000 will be available to help finance the resurfacing of a community, middle school, or high school football field utilizing natural grass/sod surfaces. Funds from the program must be used for capital expenditures only and may not be used to maintain field surfaces.

Visit the LISC Web site for the complete Request for Proposals, list of eligible target markets, and an FAQ.

3. Women's Sports Foundation Invites Grant Applications for Pennsylvania GoGirlGo! Funding Program

Deadline: November 28, 2011

The Women’s Sports Foundation created its GoGirlGo! program to give girls access to physical activity. GoGirlGo! grants support sports/physical activity programs seeking to add new or expand program participation opportunities for an underserved population of girls, particularly economically disadvantaged girls and/or girls from populations with high incidences of health-risk behaviors. These programs must combine athletic instruction with the delivery of the GoGirlGo! curriculum by qualified adults.

The GoGirlGo! Pennsylvania Grant program is designed to recognize deserving nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations in the state that seek to enhance the lives of girls between the ages of 8 and 13 through sports and physical activity. Programs must deliver a minimum eight-week sports/physical activity program, with preference given to organizations working consistently with girls throughout the year.

With support from the Hershey Company, the Pennsylvania program will award a total of $40,000 in grants. The maximum grant amount is $10,000. Award funds may be used for athletic equipment, supplies, facility rental, league/tournament fees, travel, coaching, scholarships, and/or program administration expenses. Funds may only be used for girls’ sports/physical activity programs.

Visit the Women's Sports Foundation Web site for the complete Pennsylvania GoGirlGo! Request for Proposals, application form, and an FAQ. GoGirlGo! RFPs for other communities will be available in 2012.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Why Volunteers Are More Than Invaluable People-Power, Who Also Enable Any Nonprofit's Fundraising To Raise More, and How To Do So...

Volunteers' Importance In Grant Writing

Helpful Tips To Raise Corporate Grants

Nonprofits Will Improve Themselves By Seeing Beyond Their Organization's Culture

The Nonprofit That Understands That Without A Strong Relationship With Its Community, It Stumbles - Is the Nonprofit That Succeeds

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

Who Does What In A Capital Campaign

Some Advice About Volunteer Grant Writers

Facility Investment and Building Reserve Grants for U.S. Arts and Culture Nonprofits

From The Foundation Center...

[If this is a grant opportunity that you would like more information about, click "Link to Complete RFP" at the end of the post, for more information].

Deadline: March 1, 2012 (Preliminary Applications)

Kresge Foundation's Arts and Culture Program Announces Final Call for Facility Investment and Building Reserve Grant Applications

The Kresge Foundation's Arts and Culture program has announced the final call for preliminary grant applications for its Facility Investments and Building Reserves program. Kresge is conducting this final round of facility and building reserve grants as it continues to refine its overall investment strategy.

Eligible organizations may apply for both facility investment and building reserve grants, or building reserve grants only. Facility investment grants will prioritize renovation and repair projects. (On occasion, this grant may be awarded for new construction that includes exemplary environmental sustainability practices.) Building reserve grants are designed to seed or enhance an organization's building reserve fund for the ongoing maintenance and replacement of an organization's facilities. The program does not fund reserves solely for equipment.

Eligible applicants are nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations in the United States whose primary mission is arts and culture. Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations that have a long-term agreement to operate a government-owned facility are eligible. Start up organizations or those with less than two full years of operation, and organizations that are both owned and operated by a government entity are not eligible to apply.

Grant amounts will be dependent on the type of project and the size, scope, and business model of the organization. Some grants may be designed as matching or challenge grants. In general, multi-year institutional capitalization grants will not exceed $1 million and/or a period of three years from the time of the grant award.
Complete program information, application guidelines, and the application form are available at the Kresge Web site.

Monday, October 17, 2011

For Improved Grant Proposals, Be Sure to Be Succinct - Why It's Helpful and How to Be Succinct:

Be Succinct In Your Grant Writing

That Program, Project, Or Item: Writing In Your Proposal About What You Need the Grant For

Using Logic In Grant Proposal Content - Yes, Logic...

Matching Grants Program for Citizen Based Monitoring Field Work Benefiting American National Forests and Grasslands

From The Foundation Center...

Deadline: January 17, 2012

National Forest Foundation Announces 2012 Matching Awards Program Guidelines

The National Forest Foundation, the nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service, works to engage America in community-based and national programs that promote the health and public enjoyment of the National Forest System. The foundation also administers private gifts of funds and land for the benefit of national forests.

NFF is currently soliciting proposals for its Matching Awards Program, which provides matching funds for direct on-the-ground and citizen-based monitoring projects benefiting America's national forests and grasslands.

NFF is interested in supported action-oriented projects that enhance the viability of natural resources while benefiting and directly engaging surrounding communities. MAP funds can be used to support conservation and restoration projects in the areas of wildlife habitat improvement, recreation, watershed health and restoration, and community-based forestry. In addition to focusing on one or more of these four areas of stewardship, NFF requires projects to show a strong commitment to civic engagement and community involvement through the direct involvement of the public in on-the-ground conservation, restoration, and monitoring projects.

The foundation will consider applications from non-federal partners, community-based organizations, Native American tribes, and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations implementing action-oriented, on-the-ground conservation and citizen-based monitoring projects on or around national forests or grasslands.

Past awards range from $500 to over $100,000. Organizations new to NFF should keep their first proposal to a moderate sum. All MAP awards require at least a 1:1 cash match of non-federal funds. Projects must be completed within one year. MAP funding is available to support specific conservation and restoration projects and does not provide general programmatic support.

MAP projects are selected for funding through a two-stage process. Applicants must first complete an online questionnaire. Those that successfully complete the questionnaire will be invited to submit a proposal for consideration.

Visit the NFF Web site for complete program guidelines, application requirements, and an FAQ.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Transparency, Why It Matters Now More Than Ever, What It Really Is, & Why Your Organization Should Be As Transparent As Possible

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

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

A Few Excellent Suggestions For Nonprofits To Survive These Uncertain Economic Times

 How To Increase The Number Of New Donors

What Is A Well Run Nonprofit Agency?  Well, I'll Tell You...

Wow, What A Shock.  Another Example of Piss Poor Fundraising

Glasspockets, Encourages Foundations To Fully Disclose, Too

Grants for People, Organizations, & Agencies Working To Create Sustainable Fisheries In the United States

From The Foundation Center...

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

Deadline: November 10, 2011 (Pre-Proposals)

Fisheries Innovation Fund Invites Pre-Proposals

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Fisheries Innovation Fund is a grant program designed to foster innovation and support effective participation of fishermen and fishing communities working to create sustainable fisheries in the United States.

The fund was created through a partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with additional support from the Walton Family Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
In its funding round in April, the fund awarded nearly $2.25 million to eighteen projects in the northeastern U.S., the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Coast, and Alaska. NFWF anticipates awarding approximately $1 to $2 million.

The fund, the goal of which is to help rebuild depleted stocks and promote the sustainable management of the nation's fisheries, fosters new approaches to making catch-shares work for fishermen. Successful proposals will offer innovative approaches to building the capacity and sustainability of fishing communities, promoting full utilization of annual catch limits and minimizing bycatch of overfished and endangered species, and improving the quality, quantity, and timeliness of fisheries-dependent data used for science, management, and fishermen's business purposes.

All persons, organizations, and agencies (excluding employees of the federal government) working on projects designed to ensure sustainable U.S. fisheries are eligible to apply.

The majority of awards under the program will fall in the range of $50,000 to $200,000. However, upper and lower limits to award size are not specified. Matching contributions (both cash and in-kind) are preferred but not required. Projects may run for up to two years.

Visit the NFWF Web site for the complete Request for Proposals, application procedures, and information on the fund's previous round of grants.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

In Order To Raise Grants, It's Helpful to Understand Grant Donors & Where They Are Coming From

What Motivates Giving

Why Do Donors Give Grants At All

A Shift In Giving: Proactive Philanthropists Instead of Passive Donors

Yet Another Example of Donors Expecting Results; Nonprofits, You Can't Just Take the Money and Cross Your Fingers Anymore

Site Visits Or the Meeting With A Potential Grant Donor

Nominate A Software Developer Who Has Created Open Source Software for the Nonprofit Sector

From The Foundation Center...

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

Deadline: October 31, 2011

Nominations Open for Public Interest Computing Prize

The Tides Foundation is accepting nominations for the sixth annual $10,000 Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest, the nation's highest honor for software developers working with nonprofits to help advance innovative social change.

Each year, starting in 2006, the Pizzigati Prize has accepted nominations of talented and creative individuals who have developed open source software products that demonstrate impressive value to the nonprofit sector. Tides welcomes nominations from both developers and the nonprofits who work with them.

The Pizzigati Prize welcomes applications from - and nominations for - single individuals. Those nominated for the prize should have developed a software product that is open source, as defined by the Open Source Initiative, and easily and widely available. The software must have already demonstrated its value to at least one nonprofit organization. Additionally, it should be a product that can be of value to multiple nonprofit organizations. Applicants will be evaluated on a range of criteria by an advisory panel that includes past winners of the prize.

Complete prize guidelines and nomination instructions are available at the prize Web site.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Want To Increase Your Nonprofit's Grant Raising Success Rate? Then...

Upping The Odds In Getting Any Grant, Or Do We Compete With Each Other For Grants?

What Is A Well Run Non Profit Agency?  I'll Tell You...

Top 10 Grant Money Myths: Do You Think You Know What You're Doing While Looking for Grant Money? Or, Do You Know That You Don't?!

Grant Seeking According to the Various Stages of A Nonprofit's Life

Do Not Chase Grants, Instead - Raise Them Again and Again

To Improve Your Nonprofit, Do What Nonprofits That Are Surviving This Economy Are Doing

A Community's Confidence In A Nonprofit Is the Ultimate Key to An Organization's Future

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

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

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

Why It Matters What the Public Thinks of a Nonprofit, And How to Check

Matching Grants for Sea Turtle Research, or Assessment, or Bycatch Reduction and Conservation Projects in the Western Hemisphere

From The Foundation Center...

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

Deadline: October 1, 2011 (Pre-proposals)

Sea Turtle Conservation Fund Invites Pre-Proposals for Spring 2012 Grant Round

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has announced the availability of matching grant funding for sea turtle conservation projects in the Western Hemisphere through the Sea Turtle Conservation Fund. Projects of interest will focus on research, assessment, and bycatch reduction.

The most competitive projects under the spring 2012 cycle of the Sea Turtle Conservation Fund will directly implement projects under two priority topic areas.

The first priority area relates to three populations of sea turtles: Northwest Atlantic loggerhead (bycatch assessment of the Canadian longline fishery and bycatch mitigation in trawl and longline fisheries); North Atlantic leatherback (assess and reduce harvest/bycatch in Panama and Costa Rica); and East Pacific leatherback (development of a business plan for the population).

The second priority topic for the 2012 spring grant round is to determine and assess potential bycatch and/or unsustainably managed legal harvest hotspots for the Caribbean hawksbill population.

Applicants are encouraged to select one topic for each proposal. Applications outside these priority areas will be considered for funding provided they support the goals and objectives outlined under the NFWF Sea Turtle Conservation Business Plan (but will be a lesser priority for funding).

All persons, organizations, and agencies (excluding the U.S. federal government) working on projects to increase the populations of North Atlantic leatherbacks and loggerheads; Caribbean hawksbills; and East Pacific leatherbacks, hawksbills, and loggerheads are eligible to apply. Applications for funding for land or easement acquisition, political advocacy, lobbying, or litigation will not be considered.

The majority of awards under this program will fall in the range of $25,000 to $150,000. However, upper or lower limits to award size are not specified. A minimum of a 1:1 match of cash or in-kind services is required.

Projects may extend from one to three years. Additional-year funds are not guaranteed to be available in future years to supplement awards made as a result of this review.

Visit the NFWF Web site for complete program guidelines, background resources, and application procedures.

Monday, September 12, 2011

How to Create A Budget For A Grant Proposal and Also, How To Budget In Order To Afford Grant Writing

How Do We Afford Grant Writing?

The Word "Gets" Is In "Budgets"

Your New Program or Project Design Must Be Clear Before Applying for Grants

How and Where Resources Exist To Keep One Step Ahead for Prudent, Conservative and Effective Budgeting and Planning In the Rebounding Economy

Grants for U.S. Nonprofits Providing Disaster Recovery and Rebuilding After Hurricane Irene

From The Foundation Center...

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

Deadline: October 31, 2011

AmeriCares Launches U.S. Disaster Recovery Grant Program to Aid Survivors of Storms and Flooding

AmeriCares, a nonprofit disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization that provides immediate response to emergency medical needs and supports long-term humanitarian assistance programs in the United States and internationally, has announced the launch of a $500,000 disaster recovery initiative to aid survivors of Hurricane Irene and other recent storms.

The initiative will provide funding to nonprofit organizations responding to the recent hurricane, as well as to nonprofits continuing to rebuild and aid recovery efforts in the wake of the tornadoes in the Midwest and South, Mississippi and Missouri river flooding, and other major natural disasters that have taken place since February 1, 2011.

Applicants must be nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations or have a suitable fiscal agent. Organizations should demonstrate a commitment to work in solidarity with affected communities, with compassion, transparency, and a commitment to excellence; sufficient expertise, suitable staffing, and administrative capacity to implement the proposed project; and ability to report on project outcomes, including quantitative indicators and qualitative assessment.

Grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 will be awarded to projects in the health sector, with an emphasis on medical and dental care for the uninsured, mental health and psychosocial support services, and preparedness for future disasters. Funds will support a wide variety of initiatives, including restoring and expanding health services in affected communities, increasing access to medicine, providing counseling and case management for survivors, repairing damaged facilities, and enhancing emergency response capabilities.

Grants will fund projects for up to twelve months.

Funding will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis from September 1, 2011, through October 31, 2011.

Visit the AmeriCares Web site for the complete Request for Proposals and application procedures.