Don’t Need a Consultant? 5 Good Reasons You Might Be Wrong

Foundation and nonprofit staff are spread thin enough. And sometimes expecting hardworking staff to strategize and carry through an entirely new project, on top of handling their ongoing responsibilities, is asking too much. Consultants can take some of the burden off of staff while providing a new perspective and expertise. They may also increase your organization’s credibility. Here are the five reasons most foundations and nonprofits enlist the help of outside consultants. 1. Time. Staff temporarily busy, or not enough staff? A consultant can fill in for a staff member on leave or serve as a “staff extender” to an existing team. For example, one of my family foundation clients was growing quickly. The CEO planned to hire more program officers … Continue reading Don’t Need a Consultant? 5 Good Reasons You Might Be Wrong

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Sometimes We All Need Encouragement

I saw this sign yesterday morning on my way to Erie Island Coffee, one of my favorite coffee shops in Rocky River, Ohio,  and laughed out loud. Sometimes we all need a little encouragement and appreciation, not matter how small our accomplishment! Who could you give some encouragement to today? Your toddler who tried picking out his own clothes? An intern who took initiative? Your partner who launched his own business? A grantee who is persevering despite setbacks? I am sure they will appreciate it, and you will feel good too. Share

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10 Tips for Successful RFP Management

The Request for Proposals (RFP) is essential to the way many organizations make grants – so improvements in the RFP process can have a profound impact on grantmaking success. Over the years, my experience and research have revealed 10 steps a funder can take to help make RFPs successful: 1. Be crystal clear on what you want to accomplish with your funding initiative. This means understanding your vision, your mission, your objectives and strategies, and what dollar amount you want to use to achieve your goals. 2. Envision your ideal applicants. Who do you want to apply for this funding initiative? What kind of organizations? What skill level and experience do they need to have? Do you want an organization … Continue reading 10 Tips for Successful RFP Management

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6 Steps to Launch Your Next Funding Initiative

Many foundations pour money down the drain by launching grant programs without first doing their homework. Funders should understand the needs of the issue or population they want to help, identify best practices and models that are already demonstrating success, and find the right partners to help them succeed. Here are the minimum things you should know: 1. Understand current needs and challenges. You need to understand the scope and scale of the problem. How many and what types of people are affected? What impact is this having right now on families, communities, health care centers, or the local economy? Where, geographically, is this problem the greatest? 2. Anticipate future needs. You need to anticipate what is likely to happen … Continue reading 6 Steps to Launch Your Next Funding Initiative

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What Message Are You Sending To Grantees?

If I had a career do-over, I might choose to be a signage expert. I am constantly appalled by poor signage, and occasionally impressed by excellent signage. To me, useful, informative, and strategically placed signs are one way for people to be kind to each other.  “We’re thrilled you chose come to Stanford University’s campus, our signs will help you find your way.” “Road closed ahead? Don’t worry, our signs will provide turn by turn directions and  explain how we are redirecting you.” Good signs  signal “we’re glad to have you,” “we care about you and your experience,” “put your feet up and relax.”  Bad signs tell us we aren’t wanted, our experience doesn’t matter, nobody cares. A few days … Continue reading What Message Are You Sending To Grantees?

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