As a grant writer, I love having conversations with grant funders; I always learn so much. Top lessons have included:
If your organization has been awarded a grant, but is having trouble meeting the objectives – reach out to the funder. Have a conversation – earlier than later.
If you are thinking of submitting an application and have a question, do read all the materials before reaching out to the funder. You might find the answer in the materials.
But if you can’t find the answer in the materials, and if there is a contact listed, do consider reaching out to the foundation for an answer to your question.
So to summarize: communication is important!
If you are interested in learning more about grantmakers’ perspectives, be sure to join me and Austin Community College’s Center for Nonprofit Studies (aka Nonprofit Austin) for the Funder Focus series. These 90-minute virtual presentations will feature conversations with a grant funder – with plenty of time for your questions.
Find details on the series here; and some of the upcoming presentations are listed below. We hope you can join us!
Having a compass can help with direction-finding and making decisions about any journey. One of the key tasks for any grant professional is to have a strategy for getting to the “destination”: a winning proposal! To help with these goals, on March 5th, 2020, I’ll be making a presentation called ‘The Grant Writer’s Compass and Discovering Hidden Resources.’
The Grant Writer’s Compass and Discovering Hidden Resources
There are three elements that all Grant Writers should have a firm grasp of as they seek funding: knowledge of your organization; knowledge of your funder; knowledge of yourself (your job).
We’ll cover the ways to gather info on and communicate these elements efficiently and effectively to take your grant writing achievements to the next level. Susannah will share tips, secrets and resources she has developed in her decades as a successful grant writer. We will also have an opportunity for interaction and shared learning; and as an extra bonus, all who participate will be entered in to win a $10 Gift Card from a local coffee shop.
Susannah Erler, CFRE, took a 21-year career in public radio (starting at Austin’s KUT Radio) and morphed it into her current calling as a self-described Nonprofit Geek. She earned her master’s degree in Business with an Arts Administration (Nonprofit) specialization and is a Mission Capital Certified Interim Executive Director. As a grant writer, Susannah has obtained over $12 million in project funds for nonprofit organizations and educational institutions such as Austin Community College.
Creativity is a word Susannah loves: she has played her violin in several rock bands, she made a documentary about her favorite restaurant (Tamale House #3) and loves to tweet about nonprofits (handle: @GreaterGoodGeek ). Susannah grew up in Austin (but ask her about some of the other places she has lived too) and helps nonprofits in her role as Director of Greater Good Strategies. If you are going to SXSW EDU 2020 she would be delighted if you would attend the panel she is moderating: “Get that Grant! Tips and Trends from Philanthropists.”
This presentation will help education practitioners, administrators and nonprofits who are searching for project funding. The panelists will demystify the grant funding process. These grant-givers will describe what makes a successful project and how to make your grant request shine. You’ll learn what innovations today’s education funders are looking for, how to propose your project ideas and what you need to do to Get that Grant!
Their perspective and information will prove to be indispensable to grant-seekers. The scheduled panelists:
Some say your life’s purpose something you’d do for free. If that were true, why do so many feel burned out by purpose-driven work? Plus consider that the front-lines of these professions (nonprofits, NGOs, social impact, human services, advocacy…) are highly populated by women. Let’s talk about this! A meet-up is bring proposed for SXSW 2020 to do just that.
The proposed meet-up is titled Women changemakers – let’s talk self-care. And we need you, the public, to show your support for this idea during the community voting period (Aug. 5 – Aug. 23, 2019). Please go to panelpicker.sxsw.com , log in and vote-up and comment on this proposal if you’d like to see it at the next SXSW. Here is a video about it:
Do you have an idea for the next innovation in education and wonder if it could win a grant? A panel is being proposed for SXSW EDU 2020 that would help education practitioners, administrators and nonprofits who are searching for project funding.
The proposed panel is titled Get that Grant: Tips and Trends from Philanthropists. And we need you, the public, to show your support for this idea during the community voting period (Aug. 5 – Aug. 23, 2019). Please go to panelpicker.sxsw.com , log in and vote-up and comment on this proposal if you’d like to see it at the next SXSW EDU.
One very exciting bit of news is three very strong and knowledgeable philanthropists have already committed to participating! Their perspective and information will prove to be indispensable to grant-seekers. The grantmakers who have committed are:
These philanthropists will demystify the grant funding process during this proposed panel. They will describe what makes a successful project and how to make your grant request shine. You’ll learn what innovations today’s education funders are looking for, how to propose your project ideas and what you need to do to Get that Grant!
Please take a look at the video describing the details; and vote and comment here. Thank you very much, and we hope to see you at SXSW EDU.
It seems every internet advancement produces a new way for nonprofits to spread the word about their work. Amplify Austin Day is one such way for nonprofits to describe their mission and reach potential supporters.
On January 4th, 2019 the Texas Grants Resource Center Nonprofit Networking and Learning Program presented “Amplify Austin – Your Questions Answered.” The speaker was Christine Herlin, Manager of Nonprofit & Customer Relations at I Live Here I Give Here which is a nonprofit that helps promote philanthropy in Central Texas and whose signature program is Amplify Austin Day.
Christine shared some great information about online giving, such as:
61% of donors worldwide prefer to give online;
75% of donors use social media as a primary news source;
90% of Amplify Austin’s donations from social media come through Facebook;
62% of millennials give online & are inspired by social.
Some additional tips as your nonprofit enters a giving campaign include: set your goals as a team, set measurable goals, and set goals that are bold, meaningful and attainable. In 2019, Amplify Austin Day will be from February 28th to March 1st.
Data Source: I Live Here I Give Here, “Who Is I Live Here I Give Here”;
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 #60Manager, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Facebookoffers 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 Centerabout 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 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.
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 theTexas 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.