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.

 

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Image: Cutrer

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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.
 

The Benefits of Conversations

ManyChat 2018

Most of you know me as The Nonprofit Geek. But in order to spread the word about the importance of nonprofits – one needs to be up-to-date on social media uses.

So, I attended the Conversations 2018 Messenger Marketing & Chatbot Conference powered by ManyChat.

There is a recently-introduced marketing channel called Messenger Marketing. This channel developed when Facebook opened the opportunity (in 2016) for companies (such as ManyChat) to develop tools to interface with Facebook Messenger.

It was great to learn about a cutting-edge trend. And even if you don’t use the Messenger Marketing channel (yet) – there were lots of great marketing tips shared at #Conversations2018.

Here are my notes from Day One of #Conversations2018 (including the names of the experts credited with sharing these nuggets of super wisdom). Enjoy!

  • The average open rate for email is 20%; for messenger is 70-90%;
  • The average click through rate for email is 2.4%; for messenger is 20-30%;
  • A person checks smart phone 110x a day on average;
  • People naturally want a feeling of progress – so remove obstacles for them;
  • Listen to your audience: what are they asking; what progress do they want to make; where are they hanging out?
  • People like learning about themselves. Create some quizzes to help them (and learn about them at the same time);
  • Success requires measurement;
  • Create irresistible content and promote it;
  • Include an incentive to engage;
  • Create custom audiences of engagement;
  • Learn about and use Facebook custom audiences;
  • Craft your narrative first;
  • Questions can be boiled down to just 8: who, what, when, where, why, how, which and I (will I?/ should I? / can I?);
  • Instead of asking “Do you have any questions?” or “How can I help?” try asking a ‘binary’ question (i.e. yes or no answer or just two answer options).
  • If you are starting out – start with just one business objective to solve (don’t get too complicated).

Thank You Sources: Mikael Yang, CEO ManyChat, Molly Pittman, ManyChat; Dan Gamito, ManyChat, Ryan Deiss, DigitalMarketer, Brian Bagdasarian, HubSpot, Rachel Miller, Moolah Marketing, Stefanos Loukakos, Head of Messenger Business at Facebook

 

Inspiration from Women Leaders

July peoplefund

PeopleFund’s July PeopleSpring event featured: Tam Hawkins of The Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce, Christine Vu of Raymond James & Associates, Chris Mascaro of Untamed & Creative, and was moderated by Kelly Jedele of Let Kelly.

Austin has an energetic small business community – and that energy was on display at the July 26th edition of PeopleSpring – Ladies, Lunch and Learn. This networking, leadership, and women’s luncheon event was presented by Texas’ PeopleFund – a nonprofit providing business loans and assistance to those with otherwise limited access to such resources – and was sponsored by Capital One.

The panel discussion was moderated by Kelly Jedele of Let Kelly and featured Tam Hawkins of The Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce,  Chris Mascaro of Untamed & Creative, and Christine Vu of Raymond James & Associates.

The audience heard many great pearls of wisdom, including:

  • No matter how much one has accomplished, there is always something left to learn;
  • Do things that build your confidence;
  • Model yourself on the best in the industry and then improve upon that;
  • Seek out your tribe to uplift and support you;
  • Enjoy the journey!

PeopleFund will be providing even more opportunities for learning and inspiration for small businesses in August with Innovation Week.

 

 

Image: Erler

 

 

Entrepreneurs: Let’s Talk About Work

work conf

Panel and Moderator speaking about Stress Management on July 14, 2018: Jane Hervey, Ruby Ku, Stephanie Scherzer, Maria Oliveira

Who wants to talk about work on a Saturday? When you gather 300 creatives and entrepreneurs at a conference presented by #bossbabesATX and powered by the Texas MSTC and Texas MBA Programs, it turns out to be a great way to spend a weekend.

July’s “work: a pop-up conference for creatives and entrepreneurs” at The University of Texas’ Rowling Hall offered many great chances to learn and connect. Below is just a smattering of some of the take-aways from the day:

  • If you don’t set a tempo for yourself, then other people set it for you.
  • Invest in yourself.
  • Manage your flow of energy.
  • Do not mix your business finances with your personal finances.
  • True teams come together to get a task done.

Don’t worry if you missed the Summer event, there will be another inspiring edition in February 2019  presented by #bossbabesATX, a nonprofit that amplifies and connects women and nonbinary creatives, entrepreneurs and organizers.

 

Image: Erler

 

 

The Importance of Networking

 

PeopleSpring Women’s Entrepreneur Program from Peoplefund on Vimeo.

According to a 2017 LinkedIn survey, almost 80 percent of professionals consider  networking to be important to career success. But according to the same survey, nearly 40 percent find it hard to stay in touch with their network.

In light of those figures, it is always great when an event comes along that makes it easy to connect and network. PeopleSpring, presented by the nonprofit organization PeopleFund, provides just such an opportunity for women entrepreneurs.

PeopleSpring – Ladies Lunch & Learn, is an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with other women entrepreneurs and get inspiration hearing from a panel of business leaders.

PeopleFund, an organization that creates economic opportunity and financial stability for underserved people, presents free PeopleSpring events all across Texas. The next one occurs in Austin on July 26th, 2018.

See the video, or click here for more information and to register. And click here for a recap of May’s PeopleSpring event.

 

PeopleSpring

Reference:  Eighty-percent of professionals consider networking important to career success

Video: PeopleFund

 

 

The Power of Influencers

For blog GA We work planoly

Some people think a social media influencer has a gazillion followers or a multi-million dollar recording deal.  General Assembly Austin presented a panel on June 12th called “Cashing in on Influence: Tapping into the Power of Influencers to Grow a Brand” that not only busted myths like that but also gave plenty of tips for growing and leveraging a social media following.

The panelists described ways to raise your game on social media (mainly, in this case, Instagram). The main questions of the evening revolved around ‘how do I connect with businesses and brands to create a side hustle, and even a main hustle?

GA ATX and Planoly definitely picked the right group to answer those questions. The panel, moderated by Priscilla of @Planoly, included: Evelyn – @evelynfromtheinternets;  Jules – @OmAndTheCity; ‏ Ruchi – @theaccidentalchic; and Mairin of @HomeAway.

Here are some of the top take-aways from the presentation:

  • Stay true to your purpose and mission (if your IG is about style, keep it about style);
  • There is no substitute for quality content;
  • Do as much A/B testing as possible;
  • Though the number of followers you have is important, so is engagement rate;
  • Build relationships (with businesses, your followers and other influencers);
  • Engage (have conversations);
  • Have patience (things may not take off right away).

Thank you panelists for the window into a fascinating world. And thank you GA ATX, Planoly and WeWork Austin for offering this great learning opportunity.

 

 

Image: Erler

Women Entrepreneurs: Sharing Wisdom

PeopleSpring2018

The wisdom of experience is priceless. PeopleFund – a nonprofit that provides small business loans and other business assistance – celebrated the wisdom of Austin business women at the “PeopleSpring, Ladies, Lunch & Learn” networking and leadership event in Austin on May 31st.

The focus of the luncheon event was a panel discussion and Q & A with three leaders in the business community: Deborah Whitby, Austin Plumbery Owner; Meme Styles, MEASURE Founder & President; and Quita Culpepper, KVUE Anchor. Some of the key pieces of wisdom the panel shared with the audience of women entrepreneurs included:

  • Spend time on setting business processes and procedures early;
  • When you are struggling for balance, don’t forget self-care;
  • Remember that your community is a source of energy;
  • Own your destiny.

Thank you panelists, PeopleFund and event sponsor American Bank for a wonderful afternoon and for providing an empowering space for female entrepreneurs.

 

Image: Erler