Is Your Program Grant Ready?
FMS Interviews: Operation Code’s Executive Director Talks About Nonprofit Innovation
Private foundation funding (grants) is a great source of income. These gifts have the potential to be much larger than your average major donor’s, can provide stability through multi-year investments, and often open the door to other foundation investments. Yet foundation funders almost always require more of their grantees than a typical individual donor, in terms of recordkeeping and reporting.
You need more than just a good program to attract and keep foundation funding. Here are six questions to help you assess whether your program is ready, and some tips to help you get you there.
Get Your "Nonprofit Judo" On
It’s fair to say that almost every nonprofit professional I’ve ever met has a passionate interest in doing better, or in a word: innovating. At the same time, innovation is often elusive, especially in under-capitalized smaller nonprofits, but also in larger institutions that have a way of stifling initiative.
We do know innovation when we see it, though, so that’s why we recently spoke with Conrad Hollomon, Executive Director at Operation Code, a truly innovative nonprofit run by veterans that helps veterans and military spouses break into the tech industry.
Are You Tracking What Matters?
Nonprofit leaders should make greater use of what Kevin Barenblat calls "nonprofit judo."
Writing in a recent Harvard Business Review piece, Barentblat recognizes that nonprofits are typically focused on providing services in situations where markets either don't work or aren't working. The best, he says, successfully leverage what would be a weakness in a for-profit context to their competitive advantage. Nonprofit judo, in other words.
Nonprofit leaders worth their salt know this…
You Need a Logic Model. (You really, really do.)
When it comes to assessing our work, very often we’re only tracking things such as how many people participated in our programs, and not what happened as a result of that participation. And if we’re not tracking those results then we have no way of knowing whether we’re actually making progress toward our big, ambitious, long-term goals. To do that, we need to track outcomes.
The Five-Fold Path to Living in Harmony: Program and Fundraising, Perfect Together
Logic models (and their close relatives logframe, theory of change, and the like) are a mainstay of effective nonprofit management and an essential tool for Boards and executives, program staff, and fundraising teams alike. Like all tools though, the usefulness of logic models depends on how and to what end you use them.
It’s no secret that high-functioning causes thrive when program and fundraising staff work well together. Neither is it a secret that very often they don't work well together, or don't work together at all. What is surprising to us, though, is how often this tension is left unmanaged, or assumed to be a feature and not a bug of nonprofit culture.