Wine Knowledge Helps Nonprofit Professionals

wine2

Andrew Stevens of Twin Liquors Marketplace at Hill Country Galleria (Store #60) teaches a class on French Wine

A headline like that needs an explanation, doesn’t it?

Well, networking and socializing are key activities for development officers and other nonprofit professionals. Recognizing this, the Texas Grants Resource Center and the Grant Professionals Association – Austin Chapter partnered to bring an essential (and fun) event to their members: French Wine 101 – a primer for nonprofit events and fundraisers.

The attendees got a chance to learn about and taste wines from France. And the group also learned wine essentials like how to decant wine and how to increase your vocabulary of taste descriptions (hint: taste, smell and savor various natural items – like during a visit to a farmer’s market). But folks also took the opportunity to socialize, win prizes and have some holiday cheer.

Special and heart-felt thanks goes to the skillful presenter Andrew Stevens and the Twin Liquors Store #60  Manager, Andrew Zemites.

Andrew Stevens lead the group on an exciting and educational virtual journey through French wine country. Attendees learned not just about how wines are made and what to look for when enjoying them, but they learned the history and social aspects of the French regions as well. Andrew Zemites kindly set the whole experience up and created a very welcoming environment.

If anyone has questions about any wines or other spirits, the team at Twin Liquors Marketplace at Hill Country Galleria (Store #60), 3925 Market St, Bee Cave, TX have proven they will give you kind and knowledgeable service. You can find the store next to Dick’s Sporting Goods and behind the Verizon store at the Hill Country Galleria.

wine

And by the way, here are the wonderful wines that were covered in the class:

  • Alsace – Mure Reisling Signature
  • Loire – Dom Dugois Trousseau
  • Roussillon – Cuvee Constance
  • Burgundy – Liger-Belair Bourgogne
  • Bordeaux – Neipperg Collection
  • Rhone – La Fermes Du Mont Vendange

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

Images: Erler, Cochran

Advertisements

Get that grant!

Grant Writing Class at Austin’s Center for Nonprofit Studies

I am thrilled to share the news: I’ll be presenting a day-long Grant Writing seminar at Austin’s Center for Nonprofit Studies on December 4th, 2018. I hope you’ll join me!

Get ready to look at grant writing in a new way – and energize your fundraising efforts! We’ll cover the basics of applications that support nonprofit organizations; join us if your level is anywhere from beginner up to intermediate. We’ll cover:

  • Overview of grant funding
  • Your “success compass” – Top-line information about three key areas will point the way to a strong application. In this class we will focus on what you need to know and how to gather that information.
    • Know your organization
    • Know your potential funder
    • Know yourself (and your job)
  • The application journey – Once you have the facts above, you are ready to take the application journey. A strong application process will help you build a successful application. This class will teach the essential activities of going from step to step to step.
    • Step one: Our Nonprofit Organization has a Dream
    • Step two: We Have Found a Potential Grant Funder
    • Step three: We Have Turned in the Application
    • (Step four: Celebrate Success!)
  • Key tools for success – Now that you have the outline of what you need and how to proceed, this last section will give you practical tips, tools and hacks for crafting a successful application.

I am excited about helping nonprofits achieve their missions. I have been writing grant applications since the 1990s and have raised over $10 million in grant funds for recipient organizations.  I also hold a master’s degree in Business with an Arts Administration (Nonprofit) specialization, and am Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).

Here is the link for tickets. I hope you’ll join me to learn more about successful grant writing on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM at ACC Highland Business Center, 5930 Middle Fiskville Rd, Austin, TX 78752.

 

Money image

 

Image: Cutrer

Top Ways the Tax Law Impacts Nonprofits

TGRC Tax presentation

Timothy A. Clark, Managing Director UST and Wealth Strategies Advisor at U.S. Trust speaks to nonprofit professionals at the Texas Grants Resource Center

Many of the changes to the federal tax code (passed at the end of 2017) have taken effect this year. This month, the Texas Grants Resource Center (TGRC) had a primer on how these changes might influence the work of nonprofit organizations.

Timothy A. Clark, Managing Director UST and Wealth Strategies Advisor at U.S. Trust and Amber Carden, Senior Vice President and Private Client Advisor at U.S. Trust/Bank of America Private Wealth Management spoke to nonprofit professionals at the TGRC to help guide their mission-driven work through the maze of tax changes.

Some of the top tax law changes that might impact nonprofits are:

  • The adjusted gross income limitation on cash contributions to public charities, including donor advised funds, was increased from 50 to 60 percent;
  • Standard deduction increased from $12,700 to $24,000 for those filing Married-Joint;
  • Pease limitations were repealed (phase-out of itemized deductions no longer applicable).

Will these changes lead to more or less charitable giving? Conventional wisdom suggests that an increase in the standard deduction (for example) means fewer people will itemize deductions, meaning fewer people will be able to take the federal income tax charitable deduction.

However, Americans have been making charitable gifts since before there was even a tax code. Also the data shows that Americans give to nonprofits because they are charitable (not necessarily for a tax incentive). This was one the biggest take-aways from the presentation: nonprofits should keep appealing to donors’ sense of going good – this sense is generally a higher motivator than tax incentives.

 

 

Image: Erler

IMPORTANT:  This presentation is designed to provide general information about ideas and strategies. It is for discussion purposes only since the availability and effectiveness of any strategy are dependent upon your individual facts and circumstances. Always consult with your independent attorney, tax advisor, investment manager, and insurance agent for final recommendations and before changing or implementing any financial, tax, or estate planning strategy.
 

How Can Nonprofits Best Use Facebook?

Facebook at TGRC Sept 2018

On September 25th Veronica Peñaloza Wolfermann, Facebook Account Manager for nonprofits spoke to a group of nonprofit professionals from Texas Grants Resource Center

Social Media is a great way to get the word out about the work of your nonprofit organization. Facebook offers so many options for nonprofits: from outreach to fundraising. On September 25th, 2018 Veronica Peñaloza Wolfermann, Facebook Account Manager for nonprofits spoke to a group of nonprofit professionals from Texas Grants Resource Center about how best to use Facebook for the good of the community.

Here is a selection of some of the info, tips and hacks that Veronica described:

  • There are currently 2 million nonprofit pages on Facebook
  • 150 million people are connected to a nonprofit page on Facebook
  • If a nonprofit wants to get verified with Facebook this is the link to start: facebook.com/donate/signup
  • Also it would be wise for a nonprofit to be registered and up to date with GuideStar
  • Facebook will be participating in a coordinated effort for #GivingTuesday (this year it is November 27th)
  • 100% of donations made through Facebook payments to nonprofits now go directly to those organizations
  • Suggestion: if you have an influencer who supports your nonprofit, ask that influencer to add a ‘donate’ button to a Facebook live video
  • Some nonprofits that use Facebook well (to look at for examples): St. Jude Children’s Research Hosptial, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Save the Children.
  • If a nonprofit has a donate button on a Facebook live feed, there is 10 times more engagement than other “non video” donation posts.
  • Nonprofits can set up mentorships if their page has a group
  • When deciding what to post on your nonprofit’s page, always ask: “will this translate into donations, volunteers or other support?” If the subject is not aligned with the nonprofit’s mission, the post probably won’t help much (even if it gets a lot of likes).

Here is a link to some of the Facebook offerings that Veronica described. Here is a link to info about future Texas Grants Resource Center presentations.

 

 

 

Image: Erler

 

Funder Focus: The Moody Foundation

Moody 3

Bernice Torregrossa, Grants Analyst and Regional Grants Director for The Moody Foundation speaks to nonprofit professionals at the Texas Grants Resource Center

On August 23, 2018, The Moody Foundation‘s Bernice Torregrossa, Grants Analyst and Regional Grants Director for Central Texas, spoke at the Texas Grants Resource Center. She described the philanthropic work of the Foundation, gave information about the guidelines for applying and answered questions from the nonprofit professionals in the audience.

The Moody Foundation is a Texas funder that supports the arts, education, environment, health, and social services. The Foundation accepts inquiry letters on an ongoing basis from Texas-based nonprofits. Over the years, the Moody Foundation has made more than $1.2 billion in grants throughout the state.

The Texas Grants Resource Center’s monthly presentations for nonprofit professionals further the mission of the University of Texas at Austin’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE). The DDCE’s Community Engagement Center (CEC) houses this program. To sign up to get first notice of upcoming speakers go to this page.

Thank you to the Moody Foundation for all the work you do to support Texas and for coming to present to central Texas nonprofit organizations at TGRC.

 

 

Image: Erler

Funder Focus: St. David’s Foundation

St Davids Foundation

Elizabeth Krause, ScM, Senior Program Officer at St. David’s Foundation presenting to TGRC on July 10, 2018

St. David’s Foundation is a Central Texas funder that generously supports innovative organizations solving problems related to bringing good health into reach.

On July 10, 2018, Elizabeth Krause, ScM, Senior Program Officer at St. David’s Foundation spoke to a group of nonprofit professionals at the Texas Grants Resource Center (a program of the University of Texas at Austin’s Community Engagement Center).

Elizabeth described the philanthropic work of the foundation and the grant-making process. The foundation’s work is around three focus areas (and subcategories within each area):

Providing Central Texans with the healthiest care in the world:

  • Connection to Specialty Care
  • Strong Safety Net
  • Dental Health
  • Health Care Workforce
  • Insurance Enrollment & Use

Creating the healthiest places for Central Texans to live:

  • Access to Healthy Food
  • Housing Wrap-Around Services
  • Opportunities to Be Active
  • Rural Communities

Helping Central Texans be the healthiest people they can be:

  • Aging in Place
  • Childhood Adversity
  • Teen Pregnancy Prevention
  • Women’s Health

Some of the practical grant-seeking tips Elizabeth shared include:

  • Contact Program Officers at St. David’s Foundation if you have an idea that aligns with a strategic priority;
  • Communication with a Program Officer will help to determine if the possible project aligns and is eligible;
  • The foundation encourages collaboration;
  • The foundation has grant opportunities by invitation and they also extend periodic Requests for Proposals;
  • One way to keep up-to-date with RFP and other opportunities is to follow the foundation on their social media accounts.

Be sure to visit the St. David’s Foundation site for more information on the grant process and the focus areas.

Relationships with Foundations

Erica

Erica Ekwurzel – Presenting at the Texas Grants Resource Center

On June 8th, 2018, The Texas Grants Resource Center’s Nonprofit Partner series featured Developing Donor Relationships with Family & Private Foundations, presented by Erica V. Ekwurzel, CFRE. Erica shared tips from her experience leading and supporting family and private grantmakers.

Here are some of the top take-aways from the TGRC session:

  • When it comes to applying for grants – don’t do “mission drift.” Don’t lose sight of your mission by chasing grant funding that reflects the ideas of others;
  • Review and proofread all applications;
  • If you know one foundation…well, you know one foundation.
  • Make sure that the application you send is purposeful and intentional;
  • Have data to support your proposal.

For more information on presentations by the Texas Grants Resource Center, visit Texasgrc.org.

 

Image: Erler

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Tips

Qgiv NTEN May 2018

Todd Baylis of Qgiv at Austin’s NTEN Nonprofit Tech Club – May 24, 2018

Nonprofit organizations are getting a little help from friends. More and more nonprofits are inviting their biggest fans to spread the word and help raise funds for their causes.

It is called peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising and at their May meeting, Austin’s NTEN Nonprofit Tech Club chapter got a crash course from Todd Baylis, Qgiv President.

An organization’s supporters can reach out to their network of friends to introduce them to the nonprofit through crowdfunding, walk-a-thons, giving days and more. Todd’s top P2P tips include:

  • Engage donors;
  • Cultivate relationships;
  • Provide a sense of urgency (this will minimize procrastination);
  • Create templates of messages;
  • Provide training and guides for your fundraisers;
  • Incorporate badges;
  • Also, provide an opportunity for off-line gifts.

Oh, and don’t forget that Qgiv has a peer-to-peer fundraising platform that can help enhance P2P efforts.

Austin’s NTEN Nonprofit Tech Club, a program of the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), has presentations every month. Click here for info about upcoming events.

 

 

Image: Erler

What Do Funders Think?

Funders Forum

Nonprofits: does it sometimes seem as if there is a cloud of mystery keeping you from finding out what funders want?

All clouds lifted on May 11, 2018  at the Annual Central Texas Funders Forum presented by the Grant Professionals Association – Austin Chapter. Representatives from regional funders were there to answer questions, provide channels of communication and develop ways to work together.

The kinds of funders included: private, corporate, and community foundations. There were panel presentations and small group opportunities to ask questions one-on-one.

This year the themes and tips for nonprofits that kept coming up included:

  • Think of funders as partners;
  • Demonstrate there is a need that you will be able to solve together;
  • Funders want transparent communication;
  • Funders want to hear how their gifts and investments are touching the community;
  • Evaluation of activities is they key to sustainability;
  • Funders don’t want surprises.

It is conversations like these that help both service providers and funders support the community.

 

 

Image Credit: Erler

 

Learning and Networking Opportunities for Nonprofit Professionals

Austin-based nonprofit professionals may already know of the services of the Texas Grants Resource Center – which offers grant-search support, such as access to Foundation Center databases.

But the TGRC also houses the Community Partner Learning Program – which provides events that will uplift, educate and advance in ways that make the Central Texas nonprofit community even stronger. Nonprofit professionals and advocates gain skills and insights to boost their social impact work.

Check out descriptions of some of the recent presentations below. And if you have not already, please sign up to get invitations to future events here.


 

Get Online! Using Google to Drive Traffic to Your Nonprofit with Robin Manas

Get Online! Using Google to Drive Traffic to Your Nonprofit with Robin Manas

Get Online! Using Google to Drive Traffic to Your Nonprofit by Robin Manas (Nov. 13, 2017)
Drive web traffic to your nonprofit’s site by using Google’s AdWords, free advertising offered to eligible nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits use these Google Ad Grants to recruit volunteers, attract donations and share organization information.

 

Susannah Erler of Greater Good Strategies

Grant Writing with Susannah Erler of Greater Good Strategies

Grant Basics: Write. Apply. Repeat. by Susannah Erler (Oct. 17, 2017)
A presentation about the key to finding the right grant opportunities and to writing strong applications! Susannah Erler, a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), presented approaches and offered tips for taking your grant strategy to the next level.

 

Marisol Foster of the Webber Family Foundation

Marisol Foster of the Webber Family Foundation

Funder Focus – The Webber Family Foundation by Marisol Foster (Feb. 12, 2018)
A presentation by The Webber Family Foundation – a local funder that focuses on the gap between proficiency and potential in lower income youth. Executive Director, Marisol Foster described the philanthropic work of the foundation and the grant-making process.

Nonprofits: Forget About “Better Late Than Never”

Last week the Greater Good Geek blog focused on nonprofit researcher Penelope Burk’s findings. This week “The Geek” will highlight another of Burk’s ‘best practices’ in writing thank you letters to donors – which can be summed up in two words:

Be prompt.

Burk conducts surveys of those who donate to nonprofit organizations. Getting a prompt thank you note is something donors do expect. Burk’s research on thank you letters, by the way, culminated in a list of the 20 Characteristics of Great Thank You Letters which was published in Burk’s Donor-Centered Fundraising.

But donors’ expectations is just one reason to be prompt. Another reason comes from the IRS. They state that a donor is required to “keep a contemporaneous written acknowledgment for a charitable contribution.” That key word – contemporaneous – essentially means “be prompt.”

Mentioning the IRS is always a good excuse to point you to their handy Charitable Contributions Guide for Tax Exempt Organizations. “The Geek” suggests having this guide at your fingertips and reviewing it periodically.

So because the Greater Good Geek is always looking for fun ways to remember nonprofit best practices, here is a haiku poem to remind you of this important thank you note element. Have a great #HaikuTuesday as well!

10 Haiku Tuesday