Category Archives: Grants

2/15 Webinar: Grant Strategy for CEOs, Directors, and Board Members: What You Need to Know to Succeed

I’m returning to Nonprofit Webinars (sponsored by 4good.org) this February 15 to present my new webinar forCEOs, Directors, and Board members interested in empowering their grantseeking teams to be more successful.

Most nonprofits need to attract grants to help pursue their missions or carry out specific programs. But perhaps — like many other nonprofit executives — you have been less than thrilled with the results of your organization’s grantseeking efforts. How can you boost your team’s efficiency and effectiveness?

In this webinar you will learn some strategic tips to get the most out of your grantseeking dollars. We’ll cover:

  • How to ensure that your organization is ready to seek the grants you need
  • Strategic decisions you will need to make
  • How to rally the organizational capacity you will need
  • How to prepare for the informational needs of grantseekers
 (You can find a full article on this topic HERE).

 

The February 15 webinar is FREE. Just register HERE.

 

 

My latest journal article: “Time to Reclaim Your Power in Funder Relationships”

If you are involved in grantseeking, you are probably familiar with the Grassroots Fundraising Journal (or should be!). Published by the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training, the journal contains articles to promote the connection between fundraising, social justice and movement-building.

I have a full-length article in the January-February issue, titled “Time to Reclaim Your Power in Funder Relationships.” The piece reminds us that funders rely on nonprofits to fulfill their missions, and offers tips for interrupting the lopsided power dynamics that often plague those relationships. Check it out here!

(To get you started, I reprinted the first several paragraphs below.)

GRANT FUNDING HAS A LOT TO DO WITH POWER. Who has the money, who gets the money, and what are the dynamics between the two groups?

At first glance, it can definitely appear that foundations and other funders hold all the cards when it comes to their relationships with grantseekers. After all, grantmakers control the funds and seem to have complete discretion over how the money is doled out.

As a grantseeker, you may feel like you’re begging with a virtual tin cup. By accepting this position of powerlessness, you may hope funders take pity on you. Or maybe you will learn to answer their questions with the answers they want to hear. If they visit your organization, you often find yourself bending over backwards to please them. You would never think of biting (or even challenging) the hand that may feed you. Continue reading

Ask Dalya: How can a nonprofit CEO, Director, or Board member facilitate successful grantseeking?

Q: How can a nonprofit CEO, Director, or Board member facilitate successful grantseeking?

A: Grantseeking is a team sport. As a nonprofit CEO, Director, or Board member you can help guide your team to victory — but you can’t do that if you hang back on the sidelines.

If your nonprofit is like the vast majority out there, you need (at least some) grant income to advance your mission in your community. Your role as a leader is to marshal the right strategy and resources so your grantseeking team can succeed.

Whether your team consists of staff, consultants, and/or volunteers, you need to help set (or at least know) the game plan so you can manage effectively. Without your vision and planning, your team will lack direction, priorities, and motivation.

Even if you are not personally involved in your organization’s day-to-day grantseeking activities, you need a solid grounding in how grantseeking happens. That is, you need to know what to expect from the process and how you can help it along. By preparing for success you will increase your likelihood of attaining it.

I’ve spoken with leaders of many new (and not-so-new) organizations who have not properly prepared for grantseeking. They simply want to see more money come through the door right away. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way. They have often been disappointed.

In my experience, strategic leaders who are starting or upgrading their teams’ grantseeking efforts best position their organizations for success when they:

  • Frame grantseeking as a team effort that enjoys strong investment from the organization’s leaders: in the form of timely information, adequate human resources, and appropriate planning
  • Encourage an attitude of ongoing partnership between the organization (the entity that makes changes in the community) and funders (the entities that underwrite those changes)
  • Model a sense of openness and curiosity about what makes the most sense in the current funding climate, from a funder’s point of view
  • Routinely share specific plans for accomplishing their mission and evaluating their activities’ outcomes and impacts
  • Establish community collaborations that the grantseeking team can leverage
  • Prioritize funding needs for at least 6-12 months at a time
  • Meet with their grantseeking team on a regular basis to strategize and define responsibilities

Is grantseeking high on the agenda of a CEO, Director, or Board member? It should be. Without the support of nonprofit executives, even the strongest grantseeking teams must often watch opportunities pass them by.

To learn more, join me for my February 15 free webinar, Grant Strategy for CEOs, Directors, and Board Members: What You Need to Know to Succeed.

[By the way, you can find more “Ask Dalya” questions and answers HERE.

Ask Dalya: First person or third person in grant proposals?

Question: I’m working on a grant application, and I find myself referring to our organization both in the third person and the first person.  The third person sounds more professional, and I feel more comfortable “bragging” about our accomplishments in the third person.  But the first person sounds warmer and more personal, and I think it tends to convey greater ownership/passion. Which approach should I take?

Answer: This is a common situation, and there is no hard and fast rule about  it. I have seen both.

Personally, I tend to go mostly with the first person but use the organization’s acronym when it seems feasible and appropriate (not to overdo the “we”, to get the funder familiar with the organization’s name, and to sound official).

By the way, your focus should be more on what you do for and with the community and less on you, as much as possible. The third/first person issue should not be that big of a deal; don’t let it disrupt your flow.

PS: You can find more “”Ask Dalya” questions and answers HERE.