Thursday, August 24, 2006

Planned Giving - Are you Ready?

First of all the qualifier - I am not a fundraising expert.

I am interested in planned giving because I think this is a key ingredient to long term sustainability and is very often overlooked by smaller nonprofits. If fundraising is an issue in my strategic planning consulting work (it usually is) I usually like to see planned giving as part of the mix of their future plans.

It does take more work than an annual appeal and requires that certain systems be set up to function properly so like a trip to the dentist it is often delayed. But like the trip to the dentist, the upfront discomfort of setting up what needs to be done first is well worth the lasting results. A recent article in
provided some baseline entry points that a nonprofit should meet before starting a planned giving program. I thought I would share those with you today:

The non-profit should be at least 10 years old and have an established annual giving program that is growing year to year in donations.

At least 10 - 15 of the donors should have given every year for more than five years.

You should already have an establised major gifts program because this is your relationship base.

My thought for the day...Think about how establishing a Planned Giving Program can work for your organization...and do some homework on the subject. There is plenty of information out there on this subject.

Philanthropy Journal

Marion Conway Consulting

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Institute of Museum and Library Services annouced that October 1, 2006 as the deadline for applications for 2007 grants.

IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Its mission is to grow and sustain a “Nation of Learners” because life-long learning is essential to a democratic society and individual success. Through its grant making, convenings, research and publications, the Institute empowers museums and libraries nationwide to provide leadership and services to enhance learning in families and communities, sustain cultural heritage, build twenty-first-century skills, and increase civic participation.

IMLS is accepting grant applications to the agency’s FY 2007 Conservation Project Support (CPS) program. “Roughly 190 million objects held in America’s collecting institutions are in need of treatment,” said agency director Dr. Anne-Imelda M. Radice citing the Heritage Health Index, the first comprehensive survey of the condition of preservation at museums, libraries, and archives. “We must do better. I strongly encourage museums to apply for these grants.”

CPS awards matching grants to help museums identify conservation needs and priorities and perform activities to ensure the safekeeping of their collections.

The 7 categories of Conservation Project Support are:
General Conservation Survey: to broadly assess all of the museum’s collections and environmental conditions
Detailed Conservation Survey: to systematically examine, item-by-item, all or part of a museum’s collections
Treatment: to conserve, preserve, or stabilize collections
Environmental Survey: to assess a museum’s environmental conditions, including temperature, relative humidity, and light
Environmental Improvements: to improve and/or stabilize climatic conditions such as light, temperature, relative humidity, vibration, mold/fungus, pests, or air pollutants
Research: to conduct innovative conservation research projects with potential benefits to the field of conservation
Training: to train staff (including volunteers and interns) in conservation and collections care*
The Institute will provide up to $150,000 for successful grant proposals. For Impact Projects, proposals with broad-reaching effects that benefit multiple institutions, the maximum is increased to $250,000. All applicants may also apply for up to $10,000 in additional funds for an Education Component that will educate the general public about their conservation project. Click here for grant application and guidelines.

To help museum applicants prepare proposals, the Institute will host technical assistance audio conference calls--dates, times, and telephone numbers to be announced.

Institute of Museum and Library Services

Marion Conway Consulting

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

When a Grant Is Worth More Than the Money

Some grants are worth more than the dollar value of the grant. And the extras can be pretty important. All large foundations consider the sustainable of your organization as a factor in whether or not they provide support. But some foundations are building in programs to develop their grantees' sustainability. These "extras" can be worth a lot to your organization and frequently they are available to even small nonprofits who never could have afforded these extra services on their own. Here are a few examples.

Kellogg Foundation - Ensuring that its grantees survive is the goal of a new partnership the foundation created with a $9.3 million grant. The grant brings together the Fieldstone Alliance and the Nonprofit Finance Fund in a partnership whose aim is to help Kellogg's more than 800 grantees improve their performance, effectiveness and financial sustainability. Fieldstone Alliance helps nonprofits fine-tune their organizational planning and management structures. The Nonprofit Finance Fund provides groups with financial analysis and access to capital – an investment bank of sorts for the nonprofit sector.

Geraldine Dodge Foundation - Offers an ongoing series of workshops on important topics to its grantees. Nationally recognized experts are brought in to conduct the workshops.

Bank of America - The BOA Neighborhood Builders Awards for $100000 in selected designated cities across the country also include a year longprofessionall leadership development program for the nonprofit's leaders.

Look for those extras that your major funders may provide and hop on board! Sometimes the extras are available to staff, board members and even your consultants!


Sunday, August 06, 2006

The increase in gasoline prices is probably affecting your nonprofit finances in more ways than one but perhaps you haven't thought about the details yet. Guidestar's newsletter this month has an interesting article on this subject based on the results of their monthly poll. Here are the results which you may want to use to benchmark your own results.

73% of participant nonproftis said that gas prices were affecting their organizations

31% of respondents stated that fuel costs were affecting their personal charitable giving.

This is a double whammy. As discretionary income is squeezed, individual giving is being affected. On the other side of the coin, organizations' costs are increasing as energy costs go up. Organizations from the Special Olympics to Goodwill to Meals on Wheels and other social services are feeling the pain of increased transportation costs. Some organizations say that volunteering is also affected by transportation costs.

Just some thoughts to consider in your budget and fundraising plans. See the whole article at:


Marion Conway Consulting