A Toolkit for Funding

January 15, 2010

The library at your daughter's elementary school has about as many reading materials as a doctor's office waiting room—can you arrange for more books? Your neighbors work until 6:30, but school lets out at 3:00, leaving the kids with nowhere to go—can you start an after-school program? You've been active in a local organization, but need more money to do the job right, or tackle a new problem—where can you turn for help?

Whether you're an individual with an idea to help your community, or already at work on behalf of kids and families, you can make a difference. But not without adequate funding. We've compiled some resources to help you.

If you have other resources or experiences to share, let us know.



The Fieldstone Alliance has created two toolkits to assist non-profit organizations with funding in difficult economic times: 20 Emergency Funding Sources for Nonprofits and 20 Cost Cutting Ideas for Nonprofits.

This NEA Today article offers timeless grant-writing tips from teachers who were successful in securing funding.

A successful child care provider shares her advice for getting the help—in-kind or in dollars—you need for a good program.

Stephanie Karr Dodson, executive director of the Child Crisis Center of El Paso, listed dozens of ways child-centered groups can raise funds or collect items making a difference to children. For instance, she said, keep wish lists of desired items so you are primed when a group or individual asks how they can help. Dodson has a "Hush Baby" list of sleep-related items, a "Squeaky Clean" list of cleaning supplies, an "Office Supplies" list and so forth.

Approach local employee groups about specific projects. In Dodson's experience, local UPS employees painted and fixed up two offices in her headquarters.

Finally, talk to anyone anywhere at any time. Dodson reports success appearing on local TV newscasts on slow news Sundays; the appearances are just another way Dodson has become a high-profile leader on behalf of kids. The crisis center just marked its 20th birthday. For more information, you can write Stephanie at skdod@aol.com.

For news from the world of donors—who's giving how much in support of what cause or institution—OnPhilanthropy puts out useful e-mail newsletters with links to articles from a wide range of news sources.Subscribe to one of five newsletters (fundraising, trends, corporations,technology, nonprofit jobs) by visiting the homepage and checking the newsletters you want to receive in the box on the right-hand side of the page.

According to the National Staff Development Council, funders are looking for proposals that reflect tough thinking and concrete plans. Here are some tips to make your proposals a success.

If you want to try an online fundraising campaign, Affinity Resources and Michael Stein have helpful advice.


The Foundation Center is a nonprofit clearinghouse of information on foundations, corporate giving and related subjects. If you're looking for help with youth programs, check their timely list of RFPs.

Common application forms make it easier for smaller organizations to apply to state and local funders. The form for your state is online at the Foundation Center.

Network for Good is a nonprofit organization that uses the Web to help people find the right way to get involved with their communities. Be sure to visit the resources for nonprofits.

Yahoo! lists many foundations that support projects and programs to improve children's lives.

FundsNet catalogs corporate funding opportunities.

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance has a database of all Federal programs, a good one-stop for all federal assistance programs and grant opportunities.

If you take the time to fill out and fax back the form on the White House faith-based initiative web site you will begin receiving emails about many grant opportunities.
Also, look at their guidance, grant proposal and resources sections.

Senator Lugar posts the Congressional Research Service's federal grants links on his website, to help constituents identify funders and opportunities.

The federal grants website, Grants.gov is designed to help nonprofits find, apply for and win federal grants by starting in one place.

If all else fails, try a search engine, like www.google.com to find grant makers appropriate for your program. Use a keyword like "grantmaking" along with a word that describes your program, like: literacy, juvenile justice or childcare.

For Grantmakers

In January 2004, Connect for Kids hosted a TalkTime Live! Web chat on effective strategies for finding nonprofit funding for children's programs. The questions and answers are still relevant today.  Take a look at the advice-filled transcript.



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Dear SparkAction,

Please, our organization is seeking for grants/fundings to renovate our youth resource center! please how do we connect to the right source! thanks

Hi Shola,

We have a lot of resources in our action center for organizations like yours that are looking for ways grants and other financial resources. Go check it out! http://sparkaction.org/act/fund

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hello we are looking for a grant to improve the livelihoods of Children and youth while venturing in their education and well being.