Researching Requirements for Grant Applications

Each professor has his/her own set of instructions and requirements. If the student does not follow those instructions and requirements, the paper is marked down. Same is true for grantmakers. They each have their own set of instructions and requirements for their grant application. Some have many requirements. Others have few. And if you do not follow their instructions and requirements, your grant application might get thrown out.

Researching Requirements for Grant  Applications

There are two areas of requirements to research after you have made your nonprofit grant-ready.

The first is the qualifying requirements:

  • Geographic Scope – where in the world does this grantmaker want to fund projects?
  • Subject Area  -  what areas does this grantmaker want to fund?
  • Type of Funding - what type of projects does this grantmaker want to fund?
  • Amount range – what are the typical amounts this grantmaker gives funded applications?
  • Funding Cycle – what are the deadlines for this grantmaker?

To read more on researching potential funders: 4 Areas To Focus On When Researching Potential Funders

If your nonprofit aligns with the grant maker in these areas, then you can move on to researching the actual application requirements.

It is important to look at the applications requirements. Always read through all requirements before starting a grant application. Some of the requirements will require working with other people. By reading through beforehand, you can allow enough time to complete all sections.

  • Is the application completed online or a hard copy?
  • If a hard copy, how many copies of the application does the grantmaker request?
  • Number of pages needed
  • What attachments are required? – Letters of recommendation, Determination Letter (501(c)(3) letter), Operational Budget, List of Board Members and/or Staff, Project Budget, etc
  • What sections are required in the proposal? Needs statement, project description, budget, capacity, sustainability, etc.

Be sure to follow ALL requirements in filling out grant applications. Just like a professor will mark down a paper for not following all requirements, a grantmaker will throw out applications that don’t follow all of their requirements. This means no funding. So don’t give the grant maker reason to throughout your application before even reading it.

6 Practices to Make Employees Feel Valued

Small to medium size nonprofit organizations tend to not have enough funds to hire as many employees as they need or pay their current employees as much as they’re worth. The employees have to wear many hats to keep the organization running.

6 Practices to Make Employees Feel Valued
There are several ways the Board of Directors and Executive Director can make the employees feel valued.

1. Thank employees through multiple channels

  • Publicly at an event or staff meeting
  • On social media
  • In an email
  • Handwritten note
  • Flowers
  • Gift Cards
  • Provide Lunch
  • Give a few hours off

2. Offer a pay raise every year even if it is a very small one

3. Keep technology up to date – It is quite frustrating to work on outdated technology, and employees spend most of their working hours on it.

4. Offer trainings/education 

  • Webinars
  • Conferences
  • Classes

5. Remember important dates in employee’s life – Have small office celebrations for birthdays and anniversaries

6. Listen – Truly listen to employee’s victories and complaints       

Generally, nonprofit employees are not in it for the money, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to feel valued and appreciated.

How do you like to be shown you are appreciated?  

5 Strategies for Being More Effective for Nonprofit Communicators

Those who work in nonprofit organizations, especially grassroots, wear many hats. This isn’t new information to you. It is almost a given. Most nonprofits do not have the funding needed to hire as many staff members as the job needs. There are times when it is frustrating and overwhelming for the staff who do wear multiple hats.

5 Strategies for Being More Effective For Nonprofit Communicators

I have been there. At one organization, I was the Kids Connection Stateside Coordinator. My responsibilities included maintaining a sponsor database, developing and preparing promotional materials for marketing initiatives, managing overall responsibilities of shipping of a 40 ft container of donated goods overseas,  supervising regional coordinators, coordinating and overseeing all volunteers, and planning of all special events.

At another organization, I was the grant writer. In this organization, I ended up writing and tracking grants, bookkeeping, event planning, interviewing potential employees, taking pictures, updating social media, buying groceries, and cleaning the volunteer housing.

In both of these positions, I enjoyed the responsibilities. But it was difficult to balance all of the job responsibilities and to do each of them well. There were days and weeks I had to focus on a specific area and let some other responsibilities sit on the back burner.

That is a lot of responsibility. So how can we do it the most efficiently?

1. Block Schedule
Schedule times during the day and week to work on the same type of communications. Including your meetings if you can. Your mind will focus better.
2. Schedule those times on the calendar
Be intentional about scheduling meetings with yourself to accomplish tasks.
3. Repurpose content
You do not need to create new content for everything. You can use small parts of your newsletters as social media updates. You can promote your next fundraiser through multiple channels.
4. Create a content calendar.
This will give you direction on what you need to create.
5. Use the best tools for the job

Yes, there will be days when you feel overwhelmed. But make it easier on yourself. You are doing a BIG job and you are making a difference.

What would you add to this list?

Mobile for Good

Mobile For GoodThe world has gone completely mobile, and it is not just a fad. Just look around you any time you are out. Everyone is busy on their phone or tablet.

We use our phones & tablets for:

Seems like the only thing my phone won’t do for me is write this blog post! :)

“There are two trends in nonprofit technology that are changing the fundamentals of online communications and fundraising. The first is the rapid shift away from content being consumed primarily on personal computers to content also being consumed on smartphones and tablets. The second shift is nonprofit technology is the rise and maturation of social media.”  – Mobile for Good

For a great guide on how to create and implement a mobile and social fundraising plan, pick up a copy of Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide For Nonprofits by Heather Mansfield.

In Mobile for Good, Heather teaches you how to:

  • Master your mobile fundraising strategy
  • Create a strategic plan flexible enough to handle changes in technology
  • Design a website and emails that work on both mobile devices and computers
  • Choose the best mobile and online tools based on your budget and donor demographics
  • Build a system that tracks, evaluates, and reports campaign results
  • Maximize the potential of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other sites

With all the information Heather presents, it can a bit overwhelming. But this book does not need to be read cover to cover. Use it as a how to guide for your next step in your nonprofits mobile fundraising journey.

Grab your own copy of Mobile for Good today. [affiliate link]

Does your nonprofit have a mobile and social media fundraising plan? Why or why not?

Are You a Nonprofit or a For-Purpose?

Are You a Nonprofit or a For-Purpose?

Below is an excerpt from The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun.  It challenged me in my thinking, and I thought it might challenge yours as well.

“On my subway ride home that night I became to reflect on the many times that this scenario had happened since I’d started Pencils of Promise. Conversations began on equal footing, but the word nonprofit could stop a discussion in its tracks and strip our work of its value and true meaning. That one word could shift the conversational dynamic so that the other person was suddenly speaking down to me.”

Has this happened it to you?

“As mad as I was at this guy, it suddenly hit me. I was to blame for his lackluster response. With one world, nonprofit, I had described my company as something that stood in stark opposition to the one metric that his company was being most evaluated by. I had used a negative word, non, to detail our work when that inaccurately described what we did. Our primary driver was not the avoidance of profits, but the abundance of social impact.

Non is defined as “of little or no consequence: unimportant: worthless.” Worthless? Clearly, something needed to change. Why were we the only industry that introduced itself with a negative when we existed not to reduce profits, but to foster a profusion of purpose? Instead of introducing by touting what we didn’t do, shouldn’t we share what we did do? Shouldn’t we boldly proclaim that we work to produce social good in the largest measurable form possible? It was time to remove the stigma that vastly separates nonprofits from their for-profit counterparts. Even though PoP would always remain a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization, couldn’t we at least adopt the mindset of a for-profit company that focused on structure, results, and adherence to long-term strategic impact?”

“Rather than thinking of ourselves as nonprofit, we would begin to refer to our work as for-purpose.” 

Have you had an experience similar to Adam’s? Do you think we should change our language?  

funding the future