Getting Started/ Lesson #1 Strategic Planning and #2 Budgeting

Greetings from GrantLessons!

I hope this email finds you doing well! I had the great pleasure of attending the Leadership Training Conference this past week in Glendale. It was rewarding and fun to hear from many of your chapter presidents as to the success you have obtained this last year. I was delighted to hear that many chapters like Assistance League of St. Louis have started a team and now are beginning to see the success from putting the work in to getting the team formed and educated. The day I met their President she told me she had heard from her chapter that day they have received two grants. I wished you could see how happy she was as she gave me a big hug! Congratulations to St. Louis!!

What is Coming?

I am refreshing the lessons previously shared on this blog to help you and your team write applications for corporate contributions and foundation grants. Over the next 6 months, each week two lessons will be released to engage chapter members to write applications for foundation grants and corporate contributions. This is the time to get your team signed up to receive the blog which comes every week in an email. This is easy. Simply go to http://www.grantlessons.wordpress.com/ and sign up by entering your email address in the upper right corner.

Lesson #1: Strategic Planning
Each chapter has a strategic planning committee and there is help on the National Assistance League website where there is a Strategic Planning Handbook for your use. To summarize, strategic planning is not a recap or summary of what you are doing today. It is a look into the future and how you will get there. Strategic planning should take place before the budgeting process. As an organization works through its assessment, goals and strategies, a plan will be established. When the goals and/or strategies identify either establishing application writing for foundation grants or corporate contributions or to improve on the current program, a committee will be established to complete the task. Many chapter committees are simply called the Grants Committee.
Attempting to write applications by yourself or without strong support of the chapter members will leave holes that will delay the process or lead to ineffectiveness. Let’s face the fact that we are all volunteers. Things happen and when we  do things by ourselves there may not be the backup system in place to sustain our work. So how do chapter members who have taken on this task begin? They really need to sit down and discuss the goal and strategies established by the Strategic Planning Committee and voted on by the membership. They need to understand the scope of the Grants Committee’s work and its requirements before they move forward. They should not start unless the chapter intends for this to be a long term effort and that there are a few people who really commit to the process. It will take time to do but not as much time as putting up a large fund raiser.

Lesson #2 – Budgeting
Each chapter has a financial committee and there is help on the National Assistance League website where there is a Financial Handbook for your use. Expressing the goals and plan of action for a chapter in dollar terms is the process called budgeting. When the budget is put together it is important that someone from the Grants Committee participates in the process. Again this is a discussion, where the chapter’s finance committee determines how the resources will come to the chapter and how they will be expended in their philanthropic programs. There are many revenue streams. Now that the strategic planning process has established that application writing for foundation grants and corporate contributions will be one of the revenue streams there are many questions that may come up.
• Will all the money raised during the fiscal year have to be spent in that fiscal year?
• In the fundraising process how many different funding streams are there?
• How much money can the Grants Committee raise?
• Which programs have the possibility of being funded by grants?
• What has been the previous record of the Grants Committee to raise money? Is the committee new?

After all these discussions, a budget document is constructed with targeted numbers by program for the Grants Committee. Time will only tell whether these numbers are realistic or not.  Budget adjustments may need to be made during the year, if the Grants Committee raises more money than anticipated or some previous funding sources dry up. If you need additional information about GrantLessons please go to http://www.grantlessons.wordpress.com .What are you thinking about the first two lessons? Come on leave your first comment or pose a question. Let’s make this fun!!

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

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