Teach Yourself Online - Grant Proposal Writing: the Budget
This course will help you master one of the most challenging components of a successful proposal. Learn at your own pace with six months of unlimited access. Lessons include creating the personnel section, including benefits; developing the non-personnel section, including consultants; adding indirect costs; and using your budget to report back to funders. This course includes exercises, case studies, a final exam and a printable certificate of completion.
Sign up at http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10002923/proposalwriting
The Charitable Impulse, a report from Public Agenda
This 2005 report looks, in part, at the results of focus groups and interviews conducted with people around the United States who give to and volunteer for nonprofit organizations.
To participate in the study, participants had to meet three of the following four criteria:
- Voted in the last election,
- Contributed at least $300 to charitable organizations in the past year,
- Were a member of a civic group,
- Volunteered at least once in the past year.
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Though this research was not conducted specifically with LGBT community-based organizations, the results of this inquiry generally bode well for LGBT community centers looking to attract and retain community member participation in their activities and organizations. For example, “small donors often see small, local nonprofits as the engine of efforts to improve local civic life,” and most donors seem to admire and trust local nonprofits more than government and national organizations.
In addition, the findings indicate that:
- Donating to charity is often seen as a civic act, another means of voting, activism or making one’s preferences known.
- Donors were also impressed by and said they were more likely to donate to organizations that use volunteers, which they viewed as evidence that an organization is efficient and focused on the cause, not just on raising money.
- Small donors give based on the call of their heart and gut instincts about the people and groups involved.
- Donors seem to prefer an active rather than passive engagement in charities, e.g. they want to volunteer if they can and they clearly like to “see charity up close and personal” in their local communities. They understand that money is often the preferred and most “rational” type of charitable donation, but sometimes it is less satisfying and meaningful to these donors.
- The current debate on accountability, transparency and effectiveness of the nonprofit sector is crucial to maintaining public trust but is not sufficient in and of itself. The public’s sentiment is much more about the passion they feel for the work of charities, especially because they believe this is work that business and government cannot or will not do to help ordinary people improve their lives and communities.
Read the full report, The Charitable Impulse, http://www.publicagenda.org/research/research_reports_details.cfm?list=94
To download a 1998 report on the giving and volunteering patterns of the LGBT community, by Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues and the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies, go to: http://www.lgbtfunders.org/lgbtfunders/volunteering.pdf
Are You Ready? Criteria for Funding Startups
A significant percentage of LGBT community centers are startup organizations.
But what do we mean by a “startup”? According to Tool for Assessing Startup Organizations, written by La Piana Associates (go to http://www.lapiana.org/) and published by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, a startup is a nonprofit organization that has been in formal operation for too short a time to have an established infrastructure track record. A startup might also be a small organization with some experience and history but that is about to embark on a period of rapid growth and expansion that would be fueled (at least in part) by grants.
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Startups tend to be:
- highly informal in their organization, systems and record keeping
- generally lacking in established policies and procedures, often with no bureaucratic or routine approaches to doing business
- predominantly focused on mission-related work with less time spent on the mundane, yet necessary, administrative tasks
- run by people with lots of energy and passion for the mission but with limited leadership experience in the sector
- run by a small and homogeneous board of directors
- lacking in a diversified funding base, and other areas
Though intended for funders, the assessment tool described in this report can be useful to startup nonprofits because it offers criteria, focusing on organizational (not programmatic) readiness, that funders might consider in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of an organization prior to approving (or not) a grant proposal from a startup. It serves as a supplement to be used by funders, once they have completed the initial due diligence to assess:
- if an organization has a mission closely aligned with the funder’s program goals
- that the organization is providing services that aren’t duplicating the efforts of others
- that the organization is the right one to take on the work proposed.
The six key elements addressed by the tool, and that are necessary (according to the report) for nonprofits to succeed in advancing their missions, are:
- a healthy governance function
- a competent executive director
- a sound financial management system
- a workable, legal, human resource policy and practices
- a successful fund development strategy
- a clear, consistent message.
Visit La Piana Associates here.
Get the Tools for Assessing Startups report here.