Lesson #3 – Writing Chapter History and Program Description

Greetings from GrantLessons! The Burners are moving through town on their way to create Black Rock City for a week. Burning Man has a colorful history. The most interesting element there is no trace that the city even existed for one week after it ends until it returns next year.

Now, we are off to our third lesson. Assistance Leagues across the country each have their own history. It is important to collect the facts. The facts need to demonstrate a solid and energetic nonprofit ready to serve its community. When one is completing an online application there often is a limitation of words/characters. I construct the chapter history in a Microsoft Word document and use the “word count” feature to determine the number of words or characters in my draft. I don’t use two spaces after periods when I am writing the material. You do not need to indicate that the chapter is a 501 (c)(3) corporation. The history does not need to include the mission since grantors specifically ask for that in their requests for information.

The history should include the date the chapter was established and its affiliation with National Assistance League. Next one can indicate the number of philanthropic programs that are supported by the chapter, the number of members and the number of service hours contributed by members in the last fiscal year. One can then start with the date and name of the first program and then in one sentence explain whom the program serves. The writer then proceeds to follow the same format for the rest of the programs. At the end, the writer refers the reader back to their website. After the draft is completed, be sure to have several people read it for accuracy, clarity, spelling errors and correct use of grammar. The writer then saves the document to Dropbox in a separate folder.

Writing a program description is a separate document and provides a more in-depth description each of the chapter’s programs. I have found that some grantors want to know a little about each program that is administered by the chapter and its auxiliary. Other grantors only want information about the specific program that is included in the application. I find that many of same rules apply as described above, such as, not using two spaces after a period. The writer needs to determine the program start date. The description should include outcome specific data. For instance, the statement could read, “In 1984, Assistance League® of Reno-Sparks started Operation School Bell® dressing over 40,000 children since its inception. Over 200 volunteers help with the program each year, which is done with the cooperation of the school district counselors and our local bank”. The writer can also reference the number of service hours spent in administering the program during the last fiscal year. After the writer has an editor proof the document it again is put in a separate folder in Dropbox, called “Program Description”.

Your homework for this week is to review your chapter history and program description documents and place the final copies into your Dropbox folders.

The smoke is continuing in northern Nevada which means the history for Black Rock City this year will not only record the level of dust but will also include the presence of smoke as well. I am still praying for rain and all the firefighters!

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

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