Archive | September 2014

Lessons – Public Foundation – New Video

Greetings from GrantLessons!

The King Fire is still burning close to Sacramento as I am sure you have seen on the news and bringing smoke into Reno! So more time to stay indoors and work on grant related tasks.

We have several new followers and we want to bring to their attention that if they scroll back in the blog, they will find 32 lessons to get them started, just start with #Lesson 1 and move forward one step at a time.

Have you ever wandered what rules that a public foundation has to follow in order to protect their 501(c)(3) status?

  • A public foundation must verify that the award receipient is registered with the Internal Revenue Service(IRS).
  • A funder may ask to conduct a pre-grant inquiry.
  •  A public foundations needs to have a written agreement (often times the application) but in other cases an actual agreement document signed by both parties or a letter sent along with the check identifying their requirements.
  •  A public foundation needs to assure itself that the award is spent according to the application document and/or agreements and may require reports to validate.
  • A public foundation must properly report their awards given to the IRS;  if the nonprofit organization who has received funds has not expended the funding in accordance with the application or agreement, then the public foundation must take action.

Each public foundation must expend a small percentage of their holdings each year to keep their IRS status and protect their holdings from high taxation.

GrantLessons had two brave souls who made a comment that said having a video on how to find funders using GuideStar if you are a Gold Participant would be helpful. A new video called, “Training Session – How to Find Funders Using GuideStar” can be found within the video tab at

Our Grants Development Subcommittee went well last week and we did identify some new potential funders. I learned some lessons in working with a small team in evaluating potential funders. Here are some pointers to help you along in the process if you should decide to do.

  • Ask eveyone to bring their computer so you can use the Internet to search or secure some of the chapters laptops for their use;
  • Ask everyone to have Dropbox available on their computer;
  • If a member wants to connect to the chapter’s wifi be sure they do in advance of the meeting;
  • If you are demonstrating how to do the different tasks be sure to have a helper who can help those who are a little slower;
  • Be sure to stop before those you are teaching get to tired to absorb the material;
  • Be sure to give those who attended a short assignment within a couple weeks of the training; and
  • Have fun teaching others how to search for funding because it is the beginning of helping your chapter help others in your community.

The message is writing applications and accepting awards (checks) from public foundations is important and there are responsibilities we have to meet to keep everyone happy, the funder and the IRS 😉

Pray for the fire fighters!

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






Do You Need Training?

Greetings from GrantLessons!

The fires are burning in California and the smoke has come “over the hill” as we would say, actually it is a mountain or two. The smog is reason enough for me to stay inside and play on my computer.

I looked at the blog’s statistics this morning and we have 114 followers and there is more activity where followers are viewing material on the blog. Blogs were made for followers to ask questions or to make comments. We have very few comments on the GrantLessons blog. If you have a question or need some help in your application writing efforts be sure to see the GrantLessons blog as a resource to help you out.

I am conducting a training session for my local chapter this afternoon with what we call our Grants Development Subcommittee. The purpose of the subcommittee is to make sure that other members know how to find new funders. We just can not be complacent that the funders that have supported us in the past are going to support us in the future. We also can not have how to find funders in the brain cells of only one team member. A strong chapter Grants Committee must teach each other how to find new funders. A few posts back I discussed the way to find funders using GuideStar. Today we are going to look at some of the funders profiles identified by the GuideStar search and determine if they are a match for us to spend time writing an application using criteria.

So let me ask you, would you and members of your Grants Committee be interested in a training session on this topic? I would consider doing a video training session if there were enough followers that were interested.

So here is your chance to make a comment on a blog. At the end of the post there is an opportunity to make a comment. If you think it is worth my time to complete a video training session on how to find funders using databases, just send me a comment. If you have a specific issue that you would like covered then be sure to put it in your comment.

For now, it is time for me to put the final polish on my work for today’s meeting of the Grants Development Subcommittee and hope my friends over in California can get a handle on the fires, my thoughts and prayers are with those fighting the fires.

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


This entry was posted on September 17, 2014. 2 Comments

Back Home and More GuideStar

Greetings from GrantLessons!

It is good to be home after the fantastic conference in Orlando, it was so good to see so many people interested in grants for their chapter’s philanthopic work! Welcome to the new followers! If you are interested in learning more about how to access the ability to do an advanced search to identify funders in you local area, see the Part IV – GuideStar Benefits. The video provides a step-by-step approach to getting the names and addresses of potential funders. The link is at under the “Videos”. You can use this list to identify potential funders for any of your fund raising work.

As of today with GuideStar, we have 26 Gold Participants, 40 Silver Participants, 9 Bronze Participants, and 45 with No Participants. Our goal is to help everyone obtain Gold Participant status by the end of the fiscal year, May 31, 2015. Again, if you need help go to and check the Videos tab for four videos that will help you get started. Lets just do it! Need help, you can contact me at

If you were not able to go to conference, I promised I would put the material up for you to review. I decided to do a voice over for our slides and make it into a short video, you can access under the “Videos” tab, National Conference – Orlando 2014.

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


Grants Development Subcommittee Work Continues

Greetings from GrantLessons!

By the time you read this I will be going to the airport to travel to National Assistance League National Conference.

I did get a little more work done on using the GuideStar database to determine if there are more opportunities for us to review when we meet on September 17. If you are following along, we put search criteria into GuideStar’s “advanced search” including Reno, NV and received an Excel spreadsheet which I then pared down by removing those who were already giving to us.  Next, I copied the individual EIN (employer identification number) for each organization into the GuideStar search field which brought up each nonprofit organization’s profile (searching by EIN is the best way to go direct to the correct profile rather than typing a whole name). I then opened the Form 990 which is under the “Document” tab. I looked to see if they were still in business and if they had information for grant writers in Section XV on whether they only gave to preselected charities or had a mailing address for a letter of inquiry. If they gave to preselected charities only I looked to see if they gave locally or to China. This was done quickly, I only wanted to see that they had funds available and whether they gave to preselected or if they welcomed a letter of inquiry. I looked at 50 organizations.

If they had specific information in the Section XV, I saved the Form 990 to a new folder called “Potential Funders” in Dropbox and highlighed the organization’s information on the spreadsheet for further committee review. I also noted on the spreadsheet for each organization if they gave to preselected organizations did they give locally or not. Next, I prepared a new spreadsheet with the names of the organizations that I desire to have our Grants Development Subcommittee review. For the first review it will be only those who welcome letters of inquiry. We will do that on September 17. We will also discuss what to do with all these preselected organizations that give locally. I might add that I found leads this way that I did not find on either GrantStation or Foundation Directory Online.

This is a significant reason for each chapter to obtain Gold Participant status on GuideStar.

More to come later in the month to see what happens next with our team! I hope you or members of your chapter are flying to Orlando. Be sure to stop in Friday afternoon for the grants session and say “hello”! If you are not coming but other members from your chapter are going be sure to send them an email or text them and tell them to stop in and say “hello”. I also will be joining the GuideStar session as well.

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon, some of you very soon! 😉 Sandie