Organizational Readiness

What to Expect When You’re Prospecting Or: What to Know About Working with a Consultant A scenario: your small nonprofit organization has been in operation for several years now, thanks to the generosity and trust of individual donors and supporters. You have generated some promising outcome data from your programs, have a clear direction, and are making a positive impact on your target population. You feel you’re ready to move on to the next step in your organization’s growth: diversifying funding streams by adding in some grant dollars. But you’re busy running programs, your board is stretched thin, and you’re just not sure where to start. Choosing to seek outside assistance from a grant professional is a big step for an organization. The combination of a very small staff (or perhaps even a one-person shop), a small pool of invested donors and volunteers, and the amount of time, energy, and resources spent in getting a nonprofit off the ground can make this a deeply personal decision. An outsider consultant who suddenly asks lots of specific questions about your policies, competitors, and finances might feel a little intrusive (at best) or downright offensive (at worst). But wait! That consultant means well. They’re likely trying to gauge your organization’s grant-readiness and capacity for managing different types of funding opportunities to determine the most effective and efficient next steps. Here’s what to expect as you enter this new relationship.

Conducting Mission-Focused Planning and Needs Assessments with Applicant Organizations: Part 2 – Assessing the Need Written by Julie Alsup, GPC and Tom Assel, GPC In Part 1, we talked about finding and using existing needs assessments. But suppose no appropriate needs assessment data already exists. How do you start the needs planning process?

Part 1- Accessing existing information The big question: What do you do when you identify a grant opportunity that requires discussion of how the project fits into the agency’s larger mission and/or existing needs assessments? This may initially cause concern and prevent an organization from pursuing the opportunity. The truth is there are likely existing documents within your organization and the community that may provide you with what you need.

There are lots of activities that can help a nonprofit organization become grant ready, and one of them is their internal roadmap of tasks that define their grants program. The purpose of these practices is to help ensure staff have a documented process that covers the A to Zs of a comprehensive grant program.

During my experience working for and in partnership with nonprofit organizations, one common thread is the perpetuation of a “scarcity mindset”                                                                               (http://www.socialsectorpartners.com/?s=scarcity+mindset ). This mindset is based on the idea that nonprofits exist to help others in need and serve the greater good, therefore, staff and anything they might need to do their jobs (salaries, benefits, training) is often last on the list of funding priorities.