Archive | January 2013

Budgeting and Walmart Grant Potential

Greetings from GrantLessons! We added a couple of followers during the last month we are now at 59 followers.

Well yesterday I was in Burbank at the National Committee Meetings working on more fun activites with the GrantLessons Team. I had a fun day last Friday as I worked with a new Grants Committee member. We are lucky that one of our new members happens to be someone who had worked on developing grants for a school district in Ohio and has retired in Reno. As we talked, she had one very interesting comment about the importance of the Grants Committee working very closely with the Budget and Finance Committee to develop the amount of grants for the budget each year. She wants us all to think about stretching ourselves a little when we put our targets out there to obtain grants for the year. Her reasoning is that if we budget for just the amount we think we will need for the year to fund our program we then may not be in the position to apply for additional grants later in the year that may become available. Food for thought!

Since, there is at least one Walmart in most of our communities, I wanted to bring to your attention that the Walmart Foundation is entertaining grant proposals ( There is a local grant program that awards $250 to $5,000 and a state grant program that awards $25,000 to $500,000. A chapter can apply for both programs. The application process for the local grant program opens on February 1, 2013 and the application process for the state program runs from January through March and the second funding cycle begins in June and ends in August. The areas of focus are education; environmental sustainability; health and wellness; hunger and nutrition; workforce opportunity; and women’s economic empowerment. Check it out there may be money in there for your chapter ;-).

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie

This entry was posted on January 30, 2013. 6 Comments

Grants Committee File Maintenance

Greetings from GrantLessons!

Well the weather in Reno continues to be cold. This last week our Grants Committee reviewed its work since June 1, 2012, the start of our last fiscal year. We were surprised at the total number of grants we had written. We started to do some work on our file maintenance. Here are a few suggestions your Grants Committee may want to consider.

  • Locate all your grant files in one file cabinet
  • Include all grant files completed by the chapter and auxiliary in the same file cabinet
  • Audit the files to make sure that copies of the application and funder’s response are present
  • Ask committee members to make a working copy of the file if they need to work on the application at home so that the permanent copy is always presnt
  • Archive old funder files to a separate section in the file cabinet
  • Alphabetize the files so that they are easy to find
  • Label the files using the full official name of the funder
  • Separate grant files from corporate giving program files
  • Review Dropbox files to make sure that a copy of the funder application and most recent Form 990 have been put into the proper folder
  • Check your master list of grants against the file to make sure all are included

Be sure and smile and give the committee a high five when all the files are in order. It will make the auditing process later in the year go well. It will also help the members of the next Grants Committee be able to find the documents that were used this year.

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie

This entry was posted on January 23, 2013. 2 Comments

GrantStation – Foundations and Corporate Contribution Programs

Greetings from GrantLessons!

Did you know that GrantStation identifies both foundations and corporate contribution programs? I also have learned that there is a lot of inconsistency in the names of the programs. Sometimes the word, “foundation” is used to describe a corporate charitable donation program. The online application process can be very similar since both must make sure that the organization is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit. One attractive factor about corporate giving programs is that they generally do not have many reporting requirements tied to their donations. The corporate giving programs generally are giving out smaller donations than foundations. One wants to look carefully at the guidelines and application to determine whether it is a foundation or a corporate charitable donation program.

Johanna Morariu, Kat Athanasiades, and Ann Emery from Innovation Network have published a great report called “State of Evaluation 2012: Evaluation Practice and Capacity in the Nonprofit Sector” . This report is well done in that is uses many well done graphs to explain its findings. I found one statistic interesting for our work in grant writing. Of a sample of 745 funders, 70% indicate that they (funders) evaluated the work that it funded. I am definitely going to look closer at this report over the next few weeks (p. 14).

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie

This entry was posted on January 17, 2013. 2 Comments

Update on GuideStar Exchange Seal and Personal Reviews


Greetings from GrantLessons, we continue with 57 followers. Let us get back to our discussion about the GuideStar Exchange Seal and GuideStar Personal Reviews. When I first started doing work for our chapter on grants and then working with National Assistance League Resource Development Committee, I did not realize the significance of GuideStar. I simply used it to look up information about a grantor’s Form 990. I did this because I wanted to get a good idea about what amount of money the funders were giving out to nonprofit organizations.

Two weeks ago, I promised more on the GuideStar Exchange Seal. There are 120 Assistance League chapters and 47 or 39.2% have obtained the GuideStar Exchange Seal. You may be wondering why this is so important.

Let us take a deeper look into GuideStar. GuideStar is a database that contains the IRS documents to thousands of funders. Additionally, many funders subscribe to GuideStar to assist them in their research about nonprofit organizations who are looking for resources to support their programs. In short, if a funder is looking at your chapter on GuideStar you want to have a completed profile, which will then gain you a GuideStar Exchange Seal.

Another element worth spending time on is the “Personal Review” component of GuideStar, which is hosted by GreatNonprofits. Again, out of the 120 Assistance League chapters, 16 or 13.3% have reviews that are available to funders. Again, if a funder is looking at your profile and wants to see what reviews you have before they give you some funds you want to have some for them to review.

After getting the GuideStar Exchange Seal and GreatNonprofits Badge, I wanted to immediately put it up on our website. Here is what we have found out so far that we will have to pay $50 to $100 to our chapter website host to have the needed code placed on our website so that the seal will show. We will not be able to get this done until sometime during the first quarter of 2013.

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie

This entry was posted on January 9, 2013. 1 Comment

Setting Goals for the New Year


Greetings from GrantLessons, we continue with 57 followers. Well the new year is here and we always start with some good resolutions. I got a comment from Wendy over the holidays from the RanchoSan Dieguito Chapter. She said, “Your emails are helpful. There is normally so much to do each grant year that some of your ideas have not YET been implemented by our chapter. But, 2013 lies ahead.” Good point Wendy!

What resolutions did you make for your chapter? Have you found some new members that could be trained to join your committee? This is not a job you want to do alone. Has your chapter established Dropbox for your grant documents? This is the one strategy that has assisted our chapter team in being able to write a number of grants. I just completed a grant for our Food Pantry which I call a continuing grant because we got a $20,000 grant from the foundation last year and I simply needed to update the information and apply again. It was easy since all the documents were at my “computer” fingertips.

I am doing some research on the number of Assistance League chapters that have gotten their GuideStar Exchange Seal, more on that next week. I am hoping this year that we can dialogue more on GrantLessons with the followers. You can do that by simply selecting the comment button. Let us know if there is a particular topic that you would like more information on or just hit the comment button to say, “Hello”.

I am starting to plan a vacation to Florida to see my sister, at least it will be warmer than 20 to 30 degress that we are having in Reno for the last week. For now, have a great start to the New Year by setting a goal or two.

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie