What to Do Now (part of the "Temporary Opportunities for Small Organizations" Series)

If you act now, you can find volunteers to help your organization with all manner of activities, such as:

  •          Raising money for your organization,
  •          Developing an evaluation for your nutrition program,
  •          Setting up your donor database management system,
  •          Writing grant applications for your organization,
  •          Bringing people to your protests, and 
  •       Giving massages to your program participants.                                                                                
Who are these people? Students.

No, I am not talking about filling out those pesky applications for interns.  I am talking about other school-based opportunities for you to find donated time and talent. Here are some examples:

  • Classes at the school of social work (or film/journalism/massage/culinary arts/other),
  • Career resource center, where you can find recent graduates who want real-world work  experience in their fields of study,
  • Students who have to complete community service hours to graduate,
  • Sororities/fraternities,
  • Service organizations,
  • Interest group-based student associations,
  • School bands, and
  • School newspapers and radio stations.

The important thing is to act now:  Some of these groups and the people in charge of them map out the year’s activities in the fall.


To Apply or Not to Apply (for a Grant)

Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this?

Let’s say your nonprofit provides financial literacy education to low- and moderate-income people. You find an opportunity to apply for a grant from a foundation that supports financial literacy programs (no support for general operating dollars, maximum of $5000). No, it’s not the $50,000 grant you seek, but your organization is new, your budget is tiny, and that $50,000 grant might be a ways off. You check out the application form and make some notes:

  XYZ Foundation requires info re: applicant’s past financial literacy workshops:
-          the number of workshops,
-          number of participants per workshop
-          who are over 40 years old,
-          making between $35 and $36k per year (for each participant in this income range: the number of children they have in college, where their children go to school, and if they are gluten-free),
-          and second-time home-buyers,
for the last three years.

Or what about this?

You find a grant opportunity (maximum $5000, no general operating support, no support for fundraising).

You skim the application. This funder wants applicants to submit:

1)   a list of foundations that: have committed funding to your project,  are considering your submitted application, and you plan to apply to;

2)   audited financial statements from the last two years;

3)  The amount of money you plan to raise via each of these categories - corporate sponsorships, individual donations, special events, direct mail, and federated campaigns –  during each of the next three years; and 

4)  The total number of individual donor contributions your organization has received, as well as the number of $25 donations, $50 donations, $75 donations, and so on, up to $10,000, for each of the last five years.

Would you apply for a grant in either of these two situations? What criteria would guide your decision? If you do not yet have criteria, here are links to a couple of articles that may be of interest: