Finding Funding for Nonprofits

Cecilia Garcia
January 29, 2004

Sometimes building
a better world for kids takes more than good ideas
and good intentions. Money does matter. That's why
the first in Connect for Kids' new series of on-line
discussions will give you a chance to ask Executive
Director Cecilia Garcia for tips on how non-profits
can find the funds to meet their goals.

Host: Cecilia Garcia, then-director of
Connect for Kids (which is now SparkAction)

Guest: Bob Reeg, public policy and program development consultant.

1/14/2004


Cecilia
Garcia:
There’s no such thing as too
much information when it comes to raising funds for
non-profit organizations. Connect for Kids hosts today’s
Talktime to provide a space for sharing resources
and ideas on how to fund all of the terrific programs
and activities that non-profits generate. Joining
me with his considerable knowledge and expertise is
Bob Reeg, public policy and program development consultant.
I can personally attest to Bob’s skills, as
he helped us secure 2004 grants from two foundations
we had never approached before. If you don’t
have your question answered here today, check our
archives in the coming weeks.


Anonymous:What
written materials will I need to prepare as I seek
foundation, corporate, or public funding?

Bob Reeg: Get ready to write! Be
ready to prepare at least these three types of fundraising
documents:

Case Statement—A case statement describes your
organization’s need for external funding (either
for general operating purposes or for a specific project)
and justifies that need.

Letter of Inquiry—A letter of inquiry introduces
a prospective funder to your organization and your
project concept and makes a request for financial
support.

Full Proposal—A full proposal describes your
organization’s need for external funding (either
for general operating purposes or for a specific project),
justifies the need, and outlines in detail the scope
of activities you will undertake with the funds and
the expected benefits of the project.


Teri Stoddard (single mom and grandmom) :I
run a very successful online peer support group for
single parents. You can see it here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SINGLE-PARENTS-/.
I would love to take this a step bigger, but I would
need help. I'd like to attain funding so I can start
a Web page that supports this group, and offers links
to government, medical, mental health and charity
services, which could be searched so members can find
them locally. If I had funding I could spend more
time on this. I'd like members to be able to have
different areas to post in, like Parents Of Infants,
Abused Parents, etc, along with a general area. These
are all things that my members have asked for. Can
you tell me where to go to achieve my goal?

CG’s response:

Teri,

It looks like you’re offering a valuable service
for single parents and you’re at a critical
decision-making stage – do you continue to do
what you’re obviously doing well, or do you
take the next step? I think you have to carefully
think through what the next step really is. You stated
that you want to build a Web site for your support
group, but I can tell you from the experience I’ve
had with Connect for Kids, foundations do not fund
Web sites; they fund organizations that utilize Web
sites as a major communications component of their
work. I suggest you take a look at our (Toolkit for
starting a nonprofit
).
This resource will help you carefully think through
the many steps required to qualify for tax exemption
as a public charity by the Internal Revenue service.
Without this tax exemption, you’ll be hard-pressed
to solicit donations from foundations, corporations
or individuals.

BR :

If you are leaning toward starting your own nonprofit,
you really need to investigate whether there may already
be other organizations providing the services you
want to offer, or generally serving the group(s) you
intend to reach. It is critical that you conduct this
“environmental assessment” to validate
that there truly is a niche for the work you want
to do. The best way to do this is to start your colleagues
and peers if they are aware of other sources of assistance
such as that you offer. You may want to poll the parents
who participate in the on-line support group to ask
them if they go anywhere else for such support. You
may also want to conduct an elementary Web search
to see how many hits are made on the topic. Open those
Web sites and see what kinds of services are already
being offered.

You may find an organization serving your “target
audience,” but not providing them the service
you offer. If that’s the case, you could approach
them with your great idea and see if they will work
with you to move it forward, perhaps incorporating
it into their service line.

This advice is not intended to discourage you from
“doing your own thing.” I applaud you
for your passion and your persistence. But, in terms
of fundraising purposes, you will find that as the
“new kid on the block,” there may already
be other established groups already doing what you
want to do, and you will have a harder time securing
funds accordingly.

While securing funding as an individual is rare,
it is not impossible. See the Foundation Center Web
site at http://www.fdncenter.org
for information about their Directory of Foundation
Grants to Individuals.



From: Naola Brown
What funding sources are available for nonprofit
science museums?

CG’s response:

In order to answer your question, I looked at a few
science museum Web sites for guidance. My first suggestion,
Naola, is that you go to the following two sites:
the Detroit Science Center (www.sciencedetroit.org)
and the
and browse their “About Us” and “Donations”
pages.

Both are nonprofit museums. The Detroit Science Center
explicitly states that it does not receive federal
or state funding for operations. The Ann Arbor Hands
On Museum has received grants from the National Science
Foundation (federal funds). Both museums provide individuals,
corporations and foundations a variety of ways to
support them. Detroit has its 2001 annual report available
online, and you can take a good look at its funding
sources.

What’s clear in both of these examples is that
local support is critical to the success and sustainability
of these museums. The bottom line is that individuals
in these two communities recognized the need for a
good community resource and engaged a wide range of
community resources (big and small) to make them a
reality. Once you get a sense of how other science
museums are funded, see if your community has the
corporate and philanthropic resources required.

BR adds:

An organization’s annual report is a useful
document for familiarizing yourself with the financial
picture of a nonprofit. Also, the organization’s
financial picture is reported in the tax filing submitted
by nonprofit organizations called the “990”
(for IRS Form 990) by nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit
organizations are required to release copies of their
990 to the public on request. You can also access
basic financial information about a nonprofit organization
through on-line services such as GuideStar at http://www.guidestar.org.

Your questions regarding information about sources
of funding for science museums generally may be answered
by the association representing such institutions,
the Association of Science-Technology Centers. Visit
them at www.astc.org.

 


Carla,
Atlanta, GA
:: I run a grassroots nonprofit
for girls that was founded in November 2001. We are
volunteer-led, with very limited funds, and I am wondering
if you have funding advice for smaller organizations
that do not have an established track record with
foundations.

BR: Couple of thoughts on this.
First, start out asking for a small amount of funding.
This will provide the funder an opportunity to get
to know your organization and to witness that you
are wise stewards of funding. You may also want to
look for a funder that is interested in supporting
your special niche area. Or a new funder (such as
a new family foundation) that is looking to build
its own portfolio. Yes, believe it or not, there are
new funders as well as new organizations seeking funds.


From:
Judy Stauffer

Will you address the topic of finding “operating”
dollars to operate after school programs for small
nonprofit sites?

From: Pat Hunter

We are a 501(c)(3), youth/community center in a rural
area of northeast Ohio, about 50 miles east of Cleveland.
We are renting a building in a village where all the
middle school and high school students attend and
some elementary students (other elementary schools
are located in townships within 10 miles of the site).
We provide after school activities and a safe place
for students who need a place to be between school
and other school related activities as well as special
programs.

So far, we have been totally funded by grants, donations,
and fundraising efforts. We have no paid staff to
speak of...the volunteer board just hired a director
at $50/week! The main problem is getting enough volunteers
to keep the center open the hours that are needed
to provide the services needed for the community.
A survey has been done and most respondents would
be willing to pay $1 each time they use the facility,
but not a membership fee.

We’ve been successful in writing grants to provide
capital improvements and to purchase items needed
to run the center, but have not been able to find
monies to help pay people! We have been trying hard
to stay away from State or Federal

grants because we don't want all the strings that
are usually attached. PLEASE HELP!!!

From Laura, Houston, TX:
We recently had to close an after school program that
was housed in an area public school due to lack of
funding. The school is located in a very low-income
area. We not only offered a safe haven for the children
after school but also help them with their homework
and offer other fun activities based of values and
character development. Where do we find the funds
to re-open this program and be there once again for
the children?

CG’s response:

Judy, Pat and Laura,

Thanks for having such similar questions! Basically,
you both are looking for funds that are unrestricted
in their use. The good news is that many foundations
are recognizing the need to support the basic operations
of nonprofit organizations, rather than tying the
use of their investments to a specific program area.
The bad news is that it takes a fair amount of research
to find these sources of unrestricted dollars.

I worked for one major nonprofit that successfully
raised its annual operating budget at one huge fundraising
event, but it was a major enterprise that took months
of staff time to execute.

You both may be well aware of the Afterschool Alliance,
a national nonprofit organization dedicated to raising
public awareness of the importance of quality afterschool
programs. This organization’s web site is a
very rich resource, with a special section dedicated
to funding sources.

http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/funding_main.cfm


Anonymous:
What should I think about specifically when
preparing a case statement?

BR’s response:

Once you have concluded that you need external funding
to sustain your current operations or launch a new
venture, make your idea concrete by preparing a case
statement. Don’t wait to put pen to paper until
you see a funding opportunity announced that aligns
with your purpose. Be proactive by preparing a case
statement and then shopping your proposal to potential
funders. Also, having a case statement (or set of
statements) on hand will ensure that you always have
some material at the ready to take rapid advantage
of unplanned encounters with funders, such as sending
a follow-up letter to a funder introduced to you at
a networking event or referred to you by a colleague.
Finally, having a case statement on hand will make
it easier for you to respond to funding announcements
when they are issued. You can simply cut and paste
the bulk of your text into the application format,
and then adapt and tailor it to the specifics of the
funding announcement.

The case statement should include a your organization’s
mission, vision, structure and history; an organizational
capability statement, which highlights the features
that distinguish your organization from others [such
as the population you serve, the geographic area you
serve, your “share of market,” your unique
product(s) or service(s)]; a description of your organization’s
staffing, governance, and decision-making process;
a statement of the problem that your proposed project
will address; project goals and objectives; a work
plan detailing activities, timelines, persons responsible,
and desired outcomes and measurement methods; a statement
of funding need (i.e., how much you are seeking);
overall organization budget summary; a detailed project
budget; and contact information.

The case statement can be as short or as long as
you wish, as long as it includes the elements listed
above. Crafting a comprehensive document from the
outset will better enable you to use it as the source
of “boilerplate” for letters of inquiry
and full proposals (see below). But make sure that
the case statement has a crisp summary not to exceed
one page for those funders who want only a brief introduction
to your idea.


Mike,
Missoula Montana:
Finding private funds available
to Montana childcare is a time consuming task. How
do I find funders in a minimal amount of time, for
Montana childcare?

BR:First, let me caution you that
finding funders in a "minimal amount of time"
is not truly realistic. One way to narrow your search
is to look for foundations that focus primarily or
exclusively on giving in your state. You could use
the online or paper directories of the Foundation
Center and search for funders with a history of giving
to your state. Also, check out the Association of
Small Foundations (www.smallfoundations.org)
to see what's available in Montana. The world of philanthrophy
is pretty vast, and you should look into community
and family foundations as well. All of this is available
on the Foundation Center's Web site. www.fdncenter.org


Tammy,
Ceres, CA
: How can I bring attention to my
community's needs in a proposal, when neighboring
communities statistics are worst than ours?

CG’s response:

Tammy,

I understand your concern, but I believe that the
rule of thumb for every proposal I write is clarity
of purpose. Funders want to see a compelling statement
of need, a solid plan that describes how your organization
is meeting or will meet those specific needs, and
an evaluation that will document successful outcomes.
I think you have to really focus on your specific
community. In my experience, foundation program officers
are pretty sophisticated in their knowledge about
the geographic area they serve, so they will know
without you telling them the different socio-economic
conditions of your community. The point is for you
to be absolutely clear about why your organization
deserves consideration.

BR’s response:

You may also want to consider a services approach
that includes your neighboring communities. You may
be able to make an even stronger case for funding
if your proposal involves a collaboration among neighboring
communities.


R
P, Williamsburg, VA
: : With funding sources
drying up for grant writing is starting a non-profit
organization a good idea now???

CG: & BR:I understand your concern,
but the impetus for starting a non-profit organization
should be in identifying a real community needs, and
having a strong organization approach to address this
need. As tough as things are, I believe it's getting
better, with the stock market rebounding to some degree.
I believe the signs are getting more positive. Also,
be sure to conduct an environmental assessment to
determine whether there may already be other organizations
already doing the work you wish to commence.


Troy,
Pikeville, KY:
What are some good fundraising
efforts that work in rural areas?

CG’s Response:

I’ll throw this question open to those of you
who are far more familiar with rural areas than I
am. What has worked in your areas? Troy, I’d
also suggest checking the following sources for foundations
in your geographic area:

The Foundation Center (http://fdncenter.org/)
is an excellent resource for starting your research,
regardless of what your issue or geographic area is.
When you go this Web site, check the “Quick
Links” section for individual grantseekers.
This section will help you use this online resource
effectively. This site has a great section called
“SearchZone” that can be very useful.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy (http://philanthropy.com/)
is another “must” Web site for your research.
Even if you don’t subscribe, you can go to the
section called “Deadlines” and browse
through current postings by foundations on what their
funding priorities are.


from
Michigan
:I’m having trouble with my letter
of inquiry. Any advice?

BR’s response:

Many charitable and corporate foundations include
a letter of inquiry as a stage in their grant-making
process. This allows the funder to review a summary
of your proposal and determine whether it aligns with
their priorities and funding availability. After the
review, the funder will then either ask you to submit
a full proposal (see below) or inform you that it
will not be in a position to entertain a full proposal
from you.

Many funders accept “unsolicited” letters
of inquiry, that is to say you do not need to be formally
invited by the funder to submit the letter. Also,
a funder may invite a letter of inquiry as the next
step to a personal or telephone conversation with
a grant officer.

Typically the funder has a published set of instructions
for submitting letters of inquiry. The instructions
are likely to discuss whether a letter of inquiry
is required to initiate the grant-making process.
The instructions may also describe the contents, format,
and length of the letter of inquiry. If no such instructions
are given, then use your own method. We recommend
that your letter of inquiry not exceed three pages.
The letter should include your organization’s
mission statement; a brief description of your target
population(s) and services; a summary statement of
the problem or issue your proposed project will address;
a summary description of your proposed scope of work;
an explanation as to how your proposal aligns with
the funder’s priorities; organizational revenues
and expenses for past and current fiscal year; proposed
project budget; and the level of funds requested (the
funder instructions usually include information about
the maximum and average sizes of grant awards).

The instructions also will likely give you direction
on how the letter of inquiry should be sent. Some
funders desire a paper copy letter. Others will accept
letters sent to an e-mail address or, through an on-line
application system. If no instructions are given,
then address your letter to the chief executive of
the foundation and send a paper copy by postal mail.



From: Charles and Ann Palmer
How can a small nonprofit faith-based child
development center get grants for tuition reduction?
We have requests from families who would like to send
their children to our quality child development center,
and they cannot afford to do so. We have a program
for tuition reduction, but two of the three foundations
that funded it in the past cannot do so now.

Here is our Web site in case you need to learn more
about us: http://www.trinitycdc.org

CG’s response:

Charles and Ann,

I took a look at your Web site to see your contributor
base. It looks like you’ve been very successful
at attracting support from individuals, with a few
foundations and small businesses. I then took a look
at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce Web site
to get a sense of the business community in which
your child development center operates. As I suspected,
the Austin CC draws its membership from a pretty good
range of businesses and corporations.

You might consider launching a corporate campaign
that targets a number of area businesses to establish
a Trinity CDC Tuition Fund. If I were doing this,
I would start by examining the Greater Austin Chamber
of Commerce’s board of directors (it’s
easy to find on GACC’s Web site) to see if there
are any connections or possible relationships between
its directors and your own board of directors or governing
board. By the way, this is a perfect project for your
own board to help you with. I’ve been fortunate
to have a board of directors who recognizes its responsibility
to govern AND fundraise.

BR’s response:

You may also want to invite congregations or service
clubs (such as Elks, Kiwanis, Zonta) in your area
to “adopt your charity” and pledge annual
contributions to a tuition assistance fund. Congregations
have various methods to make contributions, including
special collections at services, allocations of funds
from social ministry committees, or special fundraising
drives. Service clubs may be looking for charitable
organizations to donate some of the proceeds of their
general purpose fundraising.

Be sure when establishing any dedicated fund that
you adopt the requisite policies and procedures for
accounting for those funds and segregating them from
your general operating funding. Contributors making
donations for a particular purpose will want proof
that the funds indeed went to that purpose. Work with
your accounting and bookkeeping professionals to establish
the dedicated fund. Work with your board of directors
to establish the criteria by which the funds will
be distributed (for you, the criteria by which families
requesting tuition assistance will be considered.)


Mary,
Omaha, Nebraska:
Alternative schools are often for-profit,
yet serve our at-risk youth population. Any ideas
for grant funding?

CG’s response:

Mary,

I’m most familiar with funding sources for
non-profit organizations, but you might have luck
with federal grants. I’d think about concentrating
on a specific program area that you’d like to
provide for your student population. Then, take a
look at Grants.Gov, (http://www.grants.gov).
This is a really good resource for finding federal
grants. I spent a few minutes on the site and found
it to be very user-friendly.


Mike
Schreibman, New York, NY
::
Here at Children's PressLine, we're having a hard
time monitizing our youth-media output, which should
fund the operation (but doesn't). Any suggestions
where we, and other youth media groups, should turn
to fundraise for covering the political conventions
and presidential elections this year?

CG:As you know, Connect for Kids
really likes your work! Maybe you've tried this route
before, but let me suggest that you approach the Knight
and Gannett Foundations, as their focus is journalism,
not necessarily political issues. You can also go
the youth development route here, which seems to be
a pretty popular funding area. You should make sure
your proposal intends to cover both conventions, so
that you do not appear to be partisan in your work.


Washington
DC:
How can I make my full proposal complete?

BR’s response:

Many charitable and corporate foundations permit
or invite full applications for funding only after
they have reviewed a letter of inquiry and determined
that your proposal aligns with their priorities and
funding availability. Some foundations may permit
the submission of “unsolicited” full proposals.
Public funders tend to skip the letter of inquiry
stage of grant-making and start at the full proposal
stage.

Typically the funder has a published set of instructions
for submitting full proposals. The instructions are
likely to describe the expected contents, format,
and length of the application narrative. If no such
instructions are given, then follow the content recommendations
suggested above for case statements.

In addition to an application narrative, you will
also likely be required to submit various attachments
including proof of nonprofit status; copies of past
audited financial statements; proof that your organization
adheres to generally accepted accounting practices;
position descriptions of key staff; biographical sketches
of key staff; and maps of the proposed service area.
You may also be expected to submit various assurances
and certifications—the “conditions”
the funder asks you to accept in order to receive
funds through them.

The instructions also will likely give you direction
on how the application should be sent. Some funders
desire an original only; others desire originals plus
additional copies. Others will accept submissions
as attachments to an e-mail. Still others have on-line
application system. If no instructions are given,
then send one original of the full application by
postal mail with a brief cover letter addressed to
the chief executive of the foundation.


Lisa,
Nashville TN
: I am the coordinator of an
enrichment program for inner-city children in grades
3-5. We are in partnership with the Tennessee State
University College of Business and the focus is to
introduce children to basic business concepts, encourage
vocational development in areas of business and instill
effective leadership skills. Would you know of any
individuals, foundations or otherwise that would want
to support those efforts?

CG’s response:

Lisa,

I suggest searching the Foundation Center’s
Web site for foundations that are interested in financial
literacy. American Express Foundation (http://home3.americanexpress.com/corp/philanthropy/default.asp)
comes to mind. Also, check the banks that serve your
geographic area. Many of the larger banks also have
foundations and may be interested in this topic area.


Kathy,
Harlingen TX
: We are a small non-profit with
only three part-time employees who are so busy running
the programs that they don't have time to research
and/or write grants. Do you know how we could find
someone with expertise in preparing grant proposals
for our organization?

BR's response: One idea is to ask
peer organizations in your community who they use
for grantwriting. They may have a favorite consultant
or cadre of consultants to recommend. Second, there
are some Web sites where organizations can post their
grantwriting needs, and then consultants can respond
to them. For example, you might want to post your
need to Idealist.org. Also check out the Association
of Fundraising Professionals and their state affiliates.
They may have a list of "vendors" to recommend.
Finally, search the Web and see what comes up.


K.L.
Quincy, IL
: Cecilia, In answer to Troy, Pikeville,
KY, question about rural fundraising ideas, our school
receives a newsletter called Fundraising For Schools
that has event and fundraising ideas included each
month. The Web site is www.encouragementpress.com


Jessica,
New York City:
I've been working on a proposal
for a couple of years to start a high school journalism
program to work in 4-5 high schools in NYC. I've been
told by any number of people that it's a very good
proposal. However, what I've found is that a number
of funding sources are less interested in working
directly in the schools than in after-school programs.
Is this a trend? Do you see it changing any time soon?

CG’s Response:

Jessica,

There are a number of foundations tied to the newspaper
industry that might be a source of funding for your
project. I would start with those. It’s certainly
true that after-school programs are a major priority
for a lot of funders, as is youth development. You
may want to re-think your rationale a bit, as semantics
is really important in the funding arena.

Here are a few places for you to start:
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (http://www.knightfdn.org/)

The Gannett Foundation (
http://www.gannettfoundation.org
/)


Sally,
Washington, DC
: I would like to add to Bob's response to
the first question regarding the materials one should
have prepared prior to seeking funding. I would also
suggest that you have a detailed budget and, if possible,
an independant audited financial statement. All potential
funders want to know what your operating or program
budget is or is projected to be and want to know that
funds are being spent accordinly. Also, regarding
the Letter of Inquiry and the Proposal, while you
should definitely have templates of these items, be
sure to personalize them so that they address the
prospective funder's goals, objectives and language.
Just like with a cover letter for a potential new
job, potential funders want to know that you have
researched them and understand their giving priorities.


ANONYMOUS
: I am external relations manager for a children's
research organization. While our company has hired
development firms to advise them HOW to raise money
(specifically operating support - we're already very
good at raising funds for specific research projects),
they don't seem to want to hire someone as a consultant
or as part of our staff to do the actual fundraising.
I know some of this has to do with how well they perceive
that the development consultants did their work, which
is, as I'm sure you can guess, not very well. But
how can I help convince them to give a "real"
development expert a try, especially when they don't
think they have the money to hire a fundraiser?

CG & BR: Somehow your management
team needs to understand that there is a tremendous
amount of work that goes into successful fundraising.
I personally was in a similar situation where the
people who were paid for running specific programs
were also tasked with raising the money to support
those programs. It was pretty inefficient, because
there are people who are very good at raising funds,
which requires a different set of skills than running
or managing program activities. The most successful
efforts involve partnerships between the program staff
and the developer.



Renee, Baytown Texas:

I have a 6-year-old Cochlear Implanted son. Right
now he is in the public school district with total
communication. I want him in a total oral school,
which are private schools. I have an appointment for
an evaluation at one in MO. However, I do not have
the funds to get there or pay for the $700 2-day evaluation.
Do you know of any means or resources that help out
with this sort of thing?

CG’s response:

Renee,

Generally, the foundations I’m most familiar
with do not provide funds for this kind of very real
need. There may be some organizations in south Texas
that can help. I recommend that you start your search
with your representative in Congress. There is nothing
more important (especially during an election year)
to members of Congress than constituent services.
If you don’t know who your representative is,
here’s how to find out. Log on the U.S. House
of Representatives’ Web site (http://www.house.gov/).
At the top of the page, enter your zip code. It’s
that easy. Then go to your representative’s
web site and find the contact information for his
or her district office. From my experience, the staff
in a congressional district office is generally well-connected
to local resources and are there to help us. Best
of luck with this.


LaTisha,
Memphis, TN
:: I am the program coordinator
for a transitional housing program for homeless pregnant
women and their children with a non-profit organization.
Currently we are only able to serve 6 women and their
children but wish to diversify and expand our funding
to serve more families. Do you have any advise or
know of organizations that offer funding for this
type of program?

BR: Keep your eye out for a federal
funding announcement through the Transitional Living
Program of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act. TLP
funds may be used to serve pregnant and parenting
youth without stable living arrangements. Register
your e-mail address at www.Grants.gov
to be posted of all federal grant opportunities, or
grant opportunties from only those agencies of interest
to you. In this case, RHYA programs are funded out
of the Department of Health and Human Services. You
may also want to contact your state TANF agency to
determine how they may make TANF or other state social
services dollars available to you to provide housing
for this group of vulnerable families. Also check
out a resource directory at www.spanonline.org.



Frank, New York
: Are there any resources
out there to fund attorney fees for setting up 501c-3s?
We have a non-profit called the North East Region
Coalition for Youth (NERCY). NERCY was set up by a
group of parents to support an ongoing program called
the Corps of Cadets. This program is year round and
free to young men and women ages 10-17. We work on
dangers of substance abuse, life skills, leadership
development, community awareness, violence resolution
skills, vocational opportunities, and physical fitness.
We currently need assistance both monetary and in-kind
service to continue what we have and with full intentions
of expanding. Any assistance in moving forward our
mission would be greatly appreciated.

CG’s response:

The Foundation Center has just what you’re
looking for in its “Frequently Asked Questions”
section. Go to http://fdncenter.org/learn/faqs/html/probono.html
and see if any of the resources listed can help you
out.


Cathy,
Jonesboro, AR:
Exactly what are the parameters
of what I can say to elected representatives as the
director of a non-profit? I know there are limits
to what I can say to abide strictly by the 501(c)3
rules, but they always seem so nebulous.

CG’s response:

Cathy,

This can be complicated and it’s critical for
nonprofit organizations to understand the law. Rather
than paraphrase the legal firm that provides guidance
for Connect for Kids, I’ll refer you to Harmon,
Curran, Spielberg and Eisenberg’s excellent
online newsletter that addresses this and other legal
issues: http://www.harmoncurran.com/navigator/index.html


Mark,
Vancouver, WA
: I have an additional response
Renee in Texas concerning her expenses for hearing
evaluation. Contact Sertoma International at www.sertoma.org
for information on a local service club that would
be very interested in supporting her needs. Hearing
and Speech disorders are a focal area for this service
organization--headquartered in Kansas City, MO.


Kate,
Wallingford,CT:
What are your thoughts and
experiences in seeking funding for start-up non-profits?
Suggested resources?

CG’s Response:

Kate,

Connect for Kids just went through the process of
becoming independent from the Benton Foundation, and
although we existed as a project for six years, believe
me, what we went through during 2002 and 2003 was
close to a start-up experience. Our experience was
a little different in that we did receive foundation
funding while a project of Benton. I spent a lot of
time discussing our status transition with foundation
program officers and was fortunate to have their continued
support through the process.

I think you need to conduct your funding research
around your area of interest, rather than your status.
In preparing your letters of inquiries, keep in mind
that while stating the problem or the need is important,
it is even more important that you accurately reflect
how you can make it better and why your organization
is the best org to do so.


Phyllis,
Kansas City, MO::
I'm interested in finding
funding to provide child safety seats to children
living in poverty in the greater Kansas City community.
As you may know, funding for child passenger safety
activities is usually driven by the federal governtment
- through the state's department of transportation.
As a non-profit, we do not qualify for that type of
support. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.

BR: Even if the federal funding
is restricted to state units of government, the state
has to spend those funds somehow. Often they delegate
that funding to nonprofit organizations via contracts
and grant opportunities. Perhaps this arrangement
can be structured in your situation.


Thank
you
all for spending this time with us and
a special thanks to Bob for his input! I hope this
information and resource sharing has been as helpful
to all of you as it has been for me. Time to go write
some proposals! Remember, if you don’t have
your question answered here today, check our archives
in the coming weeks.


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