By: Carolyn Haney and Sarah Andrews
Beginning stages of developing a Board/What do you need to have a successful board
both getting what they need/want. If this doesn’t happen, the board members get bored/uninterested and there is disengagement and then they leave.
members on your Board who do not give/get as much; however, they are representative
of the clients/community you are serving.
TOOLS FOR BUILDING A PRODUCTIVE BOARD
One popular tool that you can use with your BOD is called the Strengths Finder test. This is a high-level overview business-focused personality test that helps people find their top strengths in the workplace. There are 34 core strengths and the test typically identifies each persons top 5. You can then take these findings and from a high level see where your BOD falls in broader categories - meaning, do you have members who are generally good at executing tasks? At thinking strategically? Building relationships? Influencing others? So on. It also helps you cultivate more self-awareness and relationship-building among your BOD and is a great exercise to engage in during a BOD retreat or special meeting where you are just focused on the interpersonal dynamics of the BOD members.
TIP: Have everyone bring results to the meeting and discuss their findings with each other. This helps people to really see not only new ways they can be of service to the org, but also new ways that they can work together. For example, STRATEGIC/IDEATION with ACTIVATOR.
Fall 2019 Morning Lecture Series will cover topics related to Effective Board Committees and How to Maximize LinkedIn as a Networking Tool
Writing a strong grant requires clear and concise writing to effectively explain your program and justifications for funding. However, it often also requires organization and thought to truly shine. The following are four helpful tips that will help you develop a strong application now and position your organization for strong future requests from the same foundation.
Do your research in advance to ensure that the program for which you are requesting funding is a good match with the grantor and that your funding request is reasonable. Keep a good grant calendar so that you are aware of upcoming deadlines and are not rushing an application. Give yourself time to think and write. Have important attachments at the ready.
Write as Team (when possible)
Especially for new programs or new applications, it can be helpful to sit down with staff from development, programs, and finance to review the questions and potential answers. This is also a good time to discuss budgets - how much you will need and what attachments will be required. Be sure to give everyone a chance to provide input.
Review as a Stranger
When reviewing your work, make sure you do not use acronyms or jargon that may be unfamiliar to someone outside your organization, your issue area, or even the nonprofit field. If possible, find a friend or peer that would be willing to review your responses and ask questions. At the very least, ask someone in your organization who is not involved with the program to review the grant.
Be Responsive After Funding
Most grants require that a report be submitted at the end of the grant year or even quarterly. Once funded, be clear with your team about about who is responsible for writing narrative, pulling data, and collecting financials. Be sure to start reports well in advance of their due dates and submit them on time. Even if a grantor does not require a report, it is still a good idea to send a brief letter or report letting them know their funds were appreciated and how they were used.
by: Seeds for Change Consultants Andrea Torres and Amy Nunn
I always tell clients that strategic planning never looks just one way. The planning process and the output must look like the organization’s mission, size, maturity and level of participation. In other words, it’s a reflection of the organization itself.
Some clients require “re-visioning” where we take a step back and focus on their mission, vision and values. Then we constructively prepare them to meet that new mission. Other clients have a solid sense of what they are and where they want to go, they only need our help defining those next steps. And certainly clients exist at all stages in between.
Strategic Plans are road maps. They are intended to give organizations concrete direction so they avoid the ad hoc movements so many of us practice in our work (and personal lives). Initially some executive directors fret that the plans will permit their board to more closely monitor, and interfere, with their work. Another way to look at this scenario is that the executive director now has permission to concentrate on top priorities and to avoid projects not in scope. (As board members we’re all guilty of dreaming up creative but unrealistic expectations for the nonprofits we serve.)
Below are suggestions to make the planning process effective and painless:
Seeds for Change Consulting prides itself on guiding organizations through the strategic planning process in a way that puts the group on sure footing and without hassle.
~ Bergan Casey, SFCC communications and organizational development consultant
Seeds for Change founder Stacy Ehrlich has another project successfully completed – this time the project’s collaborative partners proved to be close to her home and heart. Stacy’s teenage daughter has authored and published a bilingual children’s story – Chuy El Chihuahua. Simms based Chuy on childhood bedtime stories told to her by her dad.
Simms has donated over 800 books to local non-profits – all current and former Seeds for Change clients. SFCC team member Sarah Andrews was the lead graphic designer and high school friend Chloe Ezell brought the book to life with her colored illustrations. Stacy guided Simms in launching a late fall 2018 Kickstarter campaign to raise over $5,600, made possible through the generous support of 89 backers. You can read more about the project from the BookSpring November blog post https://www.bookspring.org/2018/11/chuy-el-chihuahua-a-kickstarter-campaign/.
Local non-profits receiving Chuy books include BookSpring, Partnerships for Children, The Jeremiah Project, and People’s Community Clinic. Simms will be doing a select number of in-person storybook reading engagements throughout Spring 2019 including National Charity League – Hills of Austin Chapter and several BookSpring Title 1 partner schools. A select number of books are available for purchase in 2019 at Austin book retailers BookPeople and Over the Rainbow.
Guiding her daughter through a successful philanthropic project as well as networking and connecting all of the project partners were Stacy's biggest achievements for this project. Developing a homegrown community service "do gooder" and philanthropic champion was icing on the proverbial cake.
As we all know, the holidays are a time for giving and an important time for nonprofits to showcase the work they have been doing throughout the year to make positive changes in the world.
In fact, end-of-year campaigns can often have a huge impact on an organization’s annual budget. Studies show that 30 percent of annual giving occurs in December, with 10 percent of donations coming in during the last three days of the year.
So, how can your organization harness the momentum of this generous season and rise above the noise of commercialism and the many other online appeals hitting inboxes and mailboxes in December?
Here are 5 tips you can use to increase your fundraising success at the end of 2018.
The Seeds for Change Consulting SEEDS OF WISDOM blog has contributing authors from our fabulous team of consultants as well as occasional guest authors. With over 180 years of non-profit professional, employee, board and volunteer experience, we love to share what we know with you. Please comment so we can continue to tailor our blogs to meet your needs, wants, and thirst for knowledge.