Greetings from GrantLessons!
It is cold here in Reno and we have even had some rain! 😉
The question of the week, is “So how are we doing”? It is early December. For many of us the hard work accomplished in June is now coming to fruition as checks or letters telling us checks will be forthcoming come into our chapter’s mail. Many of us are going to slow down for awhile why we celebrate the holidays with family and friends. One thing that we all should be doing is to develop a form that keeps track of our status of our grant writing activities. The form should have nine major columns.
Column A (Program) – identifies the chapter’s programs
Column B (Chapter Program Budget FYE 2015) – identifies the chpater’s program budget
Column C (Grants Committee Budget) – identifies the amount the grants committee needs to find through writing foundation grants and corporate contribution applications, it is the grants committee’s budget
Column D (Grants Committee Bank) – identifies how much money is actually in the bank for each program as a result of the grants committee writing applications
Column E (Grants Committee Expected Based on Letters from Funders) – idenitifies the amount a funder has committed in writing, but the check has not arrived
Column F (Grants Committee Total, Column D+E) – the total amount the grants committee has raised (the amount in the bank plus the amount promised in letters)
Column G (Grants Committee Remaining C-F) – the difference from the grants committee budget and the monies raised demonstrating how close we are to completing the goal for each program and the total grants committee budget.
Column H (Grants Committee Application Writing Status) – projects where we have written applications or intend to write applications and the amount that we expect to receive if successful.
I have uploaded a sample form that you can download and start to fill in your own chapter’s numbers. Select this link Summary It is a great communication tool helping everyone understand the status of the grant committee’s work.
One chapter asked me if we now have reached our goal and it is early December, do we just stop writing grants for the rest of the year. Isn’t that a loaded question? Loaded because there is really no correct answer. So many things have to be evaluated. Let’s start with the Board and your strategic planning process. The Board should be providing guidance to the Grants Committee. It is infectious once you are organized and you understand how to find and write grants. You may just want to bring more money in, others may worry that you now have the capacity to bring in more money than the chapter can handle. As our grants committee chair is frequently heard saying, “I don’t have a crystal ball. I can’t predict if we will be successful year after year with the same funders that have previously been so generous plus the new ones that we are cultivating.”
Here are some thoughts for consideration.
1) Does your chapter desire to spend all monies raised from grants for a program in one fiscal year in that same fiscal year?
2) Does the program where additional monies would come in have the capacity to spend the monies, especially if it needs to be done in that year?
3) Do the members of the grant committee want a program to grow and are willing to spend their time to find extra funding? Does the program want to grow?
4) Do you need to evaluate potential grants that need to be written in the Spring for the next fiscal year. As we find out it can often take 10 to 11 months before we hear the news from a funder that we will be funded.
5) How are the other fund raising components of the chapter doing? Are sales up or down in the Thrift Shop? Was the fund raiser a windfall or a bust?
As we can see it is a delicate balance and it is important to have good communication between all components of our chapters including the people who budget, the people who run the programs, and the people who raise the monies, including the application writers.
Together we can work at meeting our budget for application writing to foundations and corporate contributions with the other important chapter fund raising activities. If we find money that needs to be spent in the same year we need to understand if we have a place to store the goods and people to help with the program activities, and a strong commitment to ensure that our chapter is always perceived by the public as one that has a solid coordinated base of operations. So again, the question of the week is “So how we are doing?”
Tomorrow I will be on the road again, flying to celebrate the Christmas holidays with my 7 brothers and 5 sisters and their children and their grandchildren. It is a very large party filled with fun and happiness! It turns out that my husband’s family is celebrating the day before so one can say I will just be having one fun time for the next few days. 😉
Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon! Sandie