Tag Archives: grantseeking

Weekly RFPs from the Foundation Center

Two RFPs of interest in last week’s RFP Bulletin from the Foundation Center:

The Kids In Need Foundation Teacher Grants program provides K-12 educators with funding to provide innovative learning opportunities for their students. All certified K-12 teachers in the U.S. are eligible to apply.

Applications are judged according to criteria that emphasize innovativeness and merit, clarity of objectives, replication feasibility, suitability of evaluation methods, and cost effectiveness. The foundation seeks to fund exceptional ideas, such as projects in which curriculum is presented in a unique setting or in which unconventional methods are used to reveal the content. A project may qualify for funding if it makes creative use of common teaching aids, approaches the curriculum from an imaginative angle, or ties non-traditional concepts together for the purpose of illustrating commonalities.

Grants will range from $100 to $500 each and are to be used to finance creative classroom projects. The program is designed to be the sole funding agent for the proposed project. Typically, two hundred to three hundred grants are awarded each year.

Applicants must be a K-12 certified teacher working at a public, private, or parochial school in the subject of the project. Kids In Need does not fund preschool projects.

Applications will be available online at the Kids In Need Web site from July 15 through September 30, 2009.

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The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is a national nonprofit organization based in New York that focuses on providing optimal care to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (and related illnesses) and their families. The foundation unites more than 1,200 member organizations across the United States that provide hands-on programs.

AFA’s Family Respite Care Grant is designed to help alleviate the cost of respite care for families caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Funds may be used for in-home care, adult day programs, or other types of respite.

Individuals may only apply for this grant through one of AFA’s participating nonprofit member organizations. Individuals may only obtain grant applications by contacting a participating AFA nonprofit member organization; only applications mailed from that member organization’s office will be accepted.

Family Respite Care grants are offered in the spring and fall of each year. The annual deadline for the fall cycle is November 1; the deadline for the spring cycle is May 1.

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Links to Visit

Two links worth sharing …

  1. From Katya’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog :   “For decades, fundraising pros have relied on a ‘little blue book’ to inspire and inform their boards: The Raising of Money, 35 Essentials Every Trustee Should Know, by Jim Lord.”  Go to Katya’s blog and click the link to download the “little blue book” for free.
  2. If you have not yet subscribed to The Grantsmanship Center‘s e-mail newsletter, Centered, you should do it now.  Each month’s newsletter contains a few short, information packed articles.  Go to their home page and look for the “Join Our Mailing List” link on the left hand side.

Grants.gov Session

Yesterday I sent out this Press Release for our upcoming Grants.gov session.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Interactive Grants.gov Session at the Franklin Public Library

FRANKLIN, PA –  March 5, 2009 – The Grant Resource Center at the Franklin Public Library is hosting a unique, interactive Grants.gov session on March 13, 2009, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The session will be held at the Franklin Public Library.  Participants will learn how to search for grant opportunities using Grants.gov, which includes information from 26 federal grant-making agencies.  Participants will also learn about the key components of the application process, including registration. This session will be conducted by a Grants.gov representative, who will be available to answer any questions, and Kate Burgdorfer, the coordinator for the Grant Resource Center.
This free presentation is open to any nonprofit employee or volunteer who would like to pursue federal government grants.  This session is not for those seeking personal financial assistance, since these types of opportunities are not found on the Grants.gov site.  Pre-registration is required.  To register, call the Franklin Public Library at 432-5062, stop by in person, or e-mail your name and phone number to franklinpl@franklinlibrary.org
The complete class schedule for the Grant Resource Center is available online at https://northwestpagrants.wordpress.com/free-classes/

Contact:

Kate Burgdorfer, Grant Center Coordinator
Grant Resource Center at the Franklin Public Library
(814) 432-5062
KateBfpl@gmail.com

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Let me know if you’d like to sign up.  Right now the our resources are mostly focused on foundation funders, and so I’m excited to learn more about government funding and the Grants.gov database of funding opportunities.

“From the Answer Desk”

The Foundation Center office in Cleveland maintains a blog which I’m sure I’ve sent you to before.

Today I want to highlight an especially useful feature on the FC Cleveland blog:  the From the Answer Desk series.  They do not have a category that collects all the From the Answer Desk posts (which is slightly bothersome – hint, hint), but you can collect all the posts by typing from the answer desk in the search box located in the right hand column.

Some of the highlights include:

5 Steps to Getting the Most from Your Visit to the Grant Resource Center

Franklin Public Library in Franklin, PA, home of the Grant Resource Center

Franklin Public Library in Franklin, PA, home of the Grant Resource Center

1.  If you will be visiting us for the first time, call first and make an appointment.  While not absolutely necessary, making an appointment ensures availability of the computer for researching and staff to assist you.  I (Kate) am usually available Mondays from noon to 8 PM, and Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 AM to 5 PM.  My schedule can vary though, so make extra sure to call ahead if you want me to help you.

2.  If you can, set aside 2 to 3 hours to conduct your research and explore our resources.  If you have not taken any of the Foundation Directory Online Basics classes, about 20 minutes of your first visit will be spent getting the “quick and dirty” tutorial on how to use the databases.  If you can’t block out 2 to 3 hours, commit to one hour at a time.

3.  Come with a particular project in mind.  Searching for funders when you have a particular project in mind is the most efficient use of your time.  This is called proactive grantseeking: you assess your organization’s funding needs, then identify potential funders who might fill those needs.

An aside:  Reactive grantseeking occurs when you respond to a foundation’s Request for Proposals (RFP), whereby a foundation has a project in mind and requests nonprofits to submit proposals to implement that program.  You can receive free RFP information at a personal email address by subscribing to the Foundation Center’s RFP newsletter (left hand column, scroll to bottom and enter your email address under “Subscribe” and click “Add Me”).

4.  Bring a USB flash drive to store the results of your database searches.  You can print the results, but at $0.25 per page, that may get costly.  If you save your results to a flash drive, you will be able to do much more with them, like take them home and peruse them at your leisure, or share them with a colleague via email.

If you are new to using flash drives, we hve them available for purchase at our front desk – they are $10 and hold 1 GB of information.  We can also teach you how to use them.

5.  Visit during the slowest times, which are usually Mondays and Saturdays.

A Basic Research Strategy Using the Foundation Directory Online database

The Foundation Directory Online database is available for free here in the Franklin Public Library’s Grant Resource Center, and you do not need a Franklin library card to access it.  Learn more about the database here.

The easiest way to enter the Foundation Directory Online database is by searching Grantmakers. I say it is the easiest because it allows you 12 different search fields to use in crafting a search, and it uses the most familiar and intuitive terminology (Field of Interest, Geographic Focus, Types of Support, etc.).  There are three other ways to search the Foundation Directory Online database – by Grants, by Companies, and by 990s, but I won’t be covering those here. (Come to my class to learn more about those!)

To begin crafting your search, fill in a Field of Interest. Choose your terms from the alphabetical index that appears in the left pane when you click the blue “View Index” link under the Field of Interest search box.  You can enter more than one FIeld of Interest, and they will be automatically connected in the search box with an “Or.”

{ An aside … Leaving that “Or” as the connector will capture funders who list either terms as a field of interest.  If you want funders that list all the fields of interest you’ve chosen, you’ll have to delete each “Or” and replace it with an “And.”  This is called Boolean searching. }

To make choosing a suitable field of Interest easier, read through the 10 page, alphabetical print out of Field of Interest terms contained in the white “Tips for Searching” notebook that lives on the grant computer’s desk.  When it comes to Field of Interest, think in broad terms.  Cast the widest net to capture the most potential funders.

Next, fill in your Geographic Focus box. Geographic Focus refers to where the money will be used, which, in our case, is most likely Pennsylvania.  Also, be sure to add National to the Geographic Focus box too, because some funders don’t care what state their money goes to, as long as it stays here in the United States.  And you should leave the “or” in there.

Click Search, and … drumroll please … take a look at your list of results. If you have a disappointing number of grantmaker profiles returned to you as potential matches, go back to your search screen and widen your search.  Try leaving some search term fields blank, or broaden the fields of interest terms.

Once you have an exciting yet manageable list of results, begin researching the funders by clicking on their names to open up their profile.  The first thing you’ll want to look at is Limitations. The limitations will tell you straight-up who the foundation will not give money to, and sometimes also the limits on the types of support they will give.  If you fit into any of these limitations, move on to the next funder. Don’t waste your precious time or the funder’s precious time trying to convince them that they should make an exception on their limitations for you, because they shouldn’t and they won’t.

Move on and read about the foundation’s Purpose and Activities.  The Purpose and Activites section is kind of like the foundation’s mission statement. Sometimes it will be long and broken down with subheadings, or programs; other times it will be a single sentence.  This is where you try to find a contact point between your organization and the foundation’s mission.  (More on contact points in another post, I promise.)

Finally, move on the the Selected Grants list at the very bottom of the profile.  Has the foundation given money to organzations like your in the past? Learn more about grants they’ve given by clicking on the “Grants” tab at the top of some profiles.  Here you can access a list of all the grants the Foundation Cetner has on recent record for that foundation.  Compare the grants given to what sorts of projects the foundation says it will fund.  Are there any discrepencies that could work to your advantage?

By the end of your search, you will hopefully have a list of 3 to 5 funders to explore in more detail, and, ultimately, a few to whom you can apply!

5 Ways to Cultivate Potential Funders

//www.flickr.com/photos/aroberts/

from Flickr/Andyrob

Cultivating a relationship with potential funders can increase your chances of getting a grant proposal funded.  In The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Grant Writing by Waddy Thompson (Franklin Public Library call number CC 658.15224 THO), cultivation is defined as “means of educating a funder or donor about a charity in preparation for a solicitation.”  It makes sense, right?  The more a foundation (or any donor) knows about your organization, and the more chances they have to see you in action, the more likely they may be to fund your projects.

In our rural area, we may not always have the chance to cultivate foundation funders face-to-face, but that doesn’t mean we should neglect this crucial aspect of foundation fundraising.  Here, five ways to cultivate a realtionship with your potential foundation funders without meeting face-to-face.  

 

  1. In all correspondence, reinforce connections between your organization’s mission and the foundation’s interests.  Express your nonprofit’s connection to the foundation’s interests, but do so in your own natural language.  Don’t just parrot the foundation’s mission back to them and say, “We care about these issues too.”  Refer to grants they’ve given in the past, or organizations they have supported.  If the foundation has sponsored any studies into your shared field of interest, read them and refer to them, perhaps even citing them in your proposal. 
  2. Place an inquiry call to the foundation prior to submitting anything.  If the foundation publishes a phone number, use it.  Line up all the pertinent facts about your program and make a list of bullet points to refer to during the call if necessary.  You may not get a chance to speak to someone who cares about your bullet points (like a program officer), but having them on hand in case you do can be a real lifesaver.  If you only get the chance to speak with a secretary, ask for copies of every publication the foundation creates (annual reports, current and past RFPs, and the like), and also the name of the program officer to whom your inquiries should be addressed. 
  3. Include the foundation on your organization’s mailing list.  If you publish a newsletter, make sure the foundation receives it.  If you send out a press release, make sure the foundation receives it.  If you had a successful program, send photos to the foundation with a note saying something like, “Here is one way we use our donor’s funds to …”. 
  4. How often is too often to contact a funder?  It’s a delicate balance.  Don’t be a nuisance, but don’t wait so long that they forget who you are.  Every two weeks to once a month should be sufficient.   
  5. Always say thank you.  Send a thank you note to the funder, whether you receive the funding you requested or not.

Do you have any other ideas for cultivating relationships with potential funders?  Share them in the comments.