NPO Success http://nposuccess.org Helping Nonprofits Grow Sat, 15 Feb 2020 20:51:08 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.2 Grant Ready http://nposuccess.org/npo-blog/grant-ready/ Sat, 27 Oct 2018 01:18:47 +0000 http://preview-wp.paytons-place.com/?p=25819

is your organization grant ready?

I often get calls from nonprofit leaders that say, “We need funding. We want to hire a grant writer.” Whether in startup phase or a 20+ year-old organization, grant preparedness is essential before a pen is ever put to paper (so to speak).

During those first conversations, I try not to scare them away, but want leaders to know…

  1. What they already have in place
  2. What needs to be in place before the organization embarks in successful grant seeking

​​Depending on the organization and its capacity, this can mean significant time to be grant ready. Here are my best questions an organization must answer to increase the likelihood of successful grant funding.

Key Questions to Ask

  1. Is our mission clearly defined?
  2. Do we have a clear, concise and compelling case for support for the organization?
  3. What makes our organization different from others with similar missions and work?
  4. Are our programs well defined?
  5. Do we have data on the individuals we serve?
  6. How do we measure success?
  7. Do we have the resources in place to measure success?
  8. Do we have an operating budget?
  9. Are our bookkeeping systems set up to accurately track grant funds?
  10. Are we able to deliver on what we will promise in our proposal?
  11. Do we have qualified staff to deliver our programs?
  12. Do we know the actual cost of our programs?
  13. Do we know how much we need to raise?
  14. Will board members, volunteers or stakeholders champion our grant?
  15. Is the opportunity right for us?

If the answer is yes to all of the questions—or nearly all, congratulations, you are grant ready! If not, and would like some assistance to make your organization grant ready, drop me a line. If you would like a copy of NPO Success’ grant preparation form, simply send me an email alisa@nposuccess.org and put Grant Prep Form in the subject line.

Happy grant seeking!

“She is passionate about serving vulnerable populations. Alisa follows both her passion and nonprofit best practice to help organizations grow.”

Alice Jones

Vice Chair, Daring Adventures

“I certainly appreciate Alisa’s willingness and efforts.”

Mark Jones

Chief Development Officer, Children's Defense Fund

“Interim EDs are not simply board members or staff who sit in the executive director’s seat for a few weeks or months until a new director is found. Interim EDs are highly skilled managers who temporarily take the helm of an organization (four to eight months on average), help the board and staff address important systems and capacity issues, and lay the groundwork for the permanent leader’s success…”

© 2005, The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, Annie E Casey Foundation
CompassPoint Nonprofit Services
Executive Transitions Monograph Series, Vol. 2

“It all went so well, thanks to Alisa!”

Nora Hannah

Chief Executive Officer, Experience Matters

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Case for Support http://nposuccess.org/npo-blog/case-for-support/ Sat, 27 Oct 2018 01:13:49 +0000 http://preview-wp.paytons-place.com/?p=25816

case for support: who needs them?

A potential client recently contacted me about assisting with a case for support. “Can’t I do this myself?” she asked.

Of course you can. But hiring a professional to develop this very important piece for your nonprofit will provide well-defined, succinct messaging about your organization and programs. It is often the first impression you give a possible donor. A well-written case for support provides a clear and compelling picture of the problem, program, outcomes and financial need. It serves as the basis for all of your individual and institutional asks.

What you get when you hire a professional

You are paying for the expertise of the design and copy-writing, and this is much more affordable than you might think.  In most instances we can get it accomplished under $1000 plus printing, but always depends on the number of revisions it takes to get things perfect. And with today’s digital color printing, you needn’t spend a bundle, printing a few dozen at a time, which gives you the ability to make quick and easy changes if necessary.

If you choose the “do-it-yourself” method, here is an outline for your case for support—

I.    What is the central challenge or problem that you are seeking to address

  • Clarify what you do to address the challenge or problem
  • Differentiate what you want to do from the other organizations with missions similar to yours

II.   Why your organization?

What uniquely qualifies or positions you to address this challenge or problem? To be included in this discussion:

  • Track record
  • Unique skills
  • Unique capacities (staff experience, track record of past accomplishments, key relationships in the community locally and throughout key communities/networks regionally or nationally)

III.  Program summary

What are the essential elements of the program, initiative or campaign? This section should provide a succinct overview while being sufficiently detailed to be clear and non-generic

IV.  Examples of success

Make a case for how your work is having an impact.  As evidence you can provide qualitative and quantitative data, as available; story content that provides specific examples of individuals impacted and the nature of this impact; and third party endorsements.

V.   Financial

Present a functional budget, one in which with sources of revenue and expenses are stated in a donor-friendly format. Functional budgets are organized by key activities rather than by traditional accounting categories. Expense totals should tie to internal financial categories.
How will you sustain your program?
Email me at alisa@NPOSuccess.org if you would like to see samples of Cases for Support we have created for our clients.

“She is passionate about serving vulnerable populations. Alisa follows both her passion and nonprofit best practice to help organizations grow.”

Alice Jones

Vice Chair, Daring Adventures

“I certainly appreciate Alisa’s willingness and efforts.”

Mark Jones

Chief Development Officer, Children's Defense Fund

“Interim EDs are not simply board members or staff who sit in the executive director’s seat for a few weeks or months until a new director is found. Interim EDs are highly skilled managers who temporarily take the helm of an organization (four to eight months on average), help the board and staff address important systems and capacity issues, and lay the groundwork for the permanent leader’s success…”

© 2005, The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, Annie E Casey Foundation
CompassPoint Nonprofit Services
Executive Transitions Monograph Series, Vol. 2

“It all went so well, thanks to Alisa!”

Nora Hannah

Chief Executive Officer, Experience Matters

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Why Hire a PIDD http://nposuccess.org/npo-blog/why-hire-a-pidd/ Thu, 20 Sep 2018 12:45:52 +0000 http://preview-wp.paytons-place.com/?p=25793

why hire a professional interim development director?

 

No matter how successful your organization’s fundraising efforts have been, transitioning a development director always slows your momentum. Consider a Professional Interim Development Director (PIDD) to increase the success of your development department.

In the best situation, it takes months to hire a new development director. The cost of going without fundraising leadership can far outweigh the cost of hiring a seasoned professional when you are going through a transition.  An experienced PIDD, will set your organization up for long-term success. Studies have shown that organizations that use a PIDD have more success in hiring and keeping a permanent development director.

Fundraising is about relationships. As a PIDD, donor relationships are maintained at all giving levels. Stewardship – keeping donors up to date on how their gifts are being used – means a great deal to your donors.  Your most important donors will notice when the information gap becomes too wide.

Foundation, corporate, and government granting organizations have firm, non-negotiable deadlines for submissions, reports, and renewals. Missing a deadline can mean going up to a year or more without much needed support.  And while it is hard to measure, a good deal of opportunity is lost if new proposals are not continuously in the pipeline.

Good fundraising is fueled by data which must be kept up to date: budgets, giving records, return on investment for fundraising activities, continuous evaluation of the effectiveness of various funding streams, tracking ongoing donor relationships, etc. And all of this data has limited usefulness without the expert interpretation that an interim director of development is able to provide.

Even the most competent staff needs day-to-day supervision to coordinate their multiple areas of responsibility. An interim development director can provide ongoing support and make it easier for the staff to work effectively with the Executive Director and the Board.

Appointing an in-house acting director is not the answer. An in-house acting development director will more than likely be auditioning for the job and leave if not permanently hired for the position. You may have to deal with an awkward situation, including a drop in staff morale, if you hire someone from the inside. And, how realistic is it for that person to be doing two jobs? A PIDD has no expectation of getting the position. An objective outsider, who is not a candidate for the position is the best choice.

The PIDD can assist with recruitment, selection and orientation of your permanent development director, saving the organization from hiring an outside firm. The PIDD can move into a coaching role for a short time and share the insights gained during the transition period, reducing the time for even the most qualified new development director to get up to speed. This adds to the success of the permanent development director to help increase longevity.

When a leader leaves, the development department is much more open to change. This is a time when systems and culture can be analyzed and improved. Fresh perspective and bringing in nonprofit best practice is paramount. PIDDs are able to build opportunities and keep a neutral zone.

With the PIDD, you can use the transition to reassess your fundraising efforts. A lot has been written about the high turnover rate among fundraisers; research has shown that some of the major causes are unrealistic expectations and lack of support from the rest of the organization. This is a good time to work with an objective outsider who can identify problem areas and help you make changes, if necessary, before investing in a new full-time staff member.

Alisa Chatinsky is principal of NPO Success, LLC a consulting firm committed to helping nonprofits attain their next level of success.

“She is passionate about serving vulnerable populations. Alisa follows both her passion and nonprofit best practice to help organizations grow.”

Alice Jones

Vice Chair, Daring Adventures

“I certainly appreciate Alisa’s willingness and efforts.”

Mark Jones

Chief Development Officer, Children's Defense Fund

“Interim EDs are not simply board members or staff who sit in the executive director’s seat for a few weeks or months until a new director is found. Interim EDs are highly skilled managers who temporarily take the helm of an organization (four to eight months on average), help the board and staff address important systems and capacity issues, and lay the groundwork for the permanent leader’s success…”

© 2005, The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, Annie E Casey Foundation
CompassPoint Nonprofit Services
Executive Transitions Monograph Series, Vol. 2

“It all went so well, thanks to Alisa!”

Nora Hannah

Chief Executive Officer, Experience Matters

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