Non-Profit Grant Writing Info

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To start out with, these are my notes from the Non-Profit grant writing workshop run by Congressman Mike Quigley on 3/21/2012:

  • Nonprofit Nuts and Bolts: Donors Forum and You
    • By "Donors Forum"
    • Membership assoc. of grant makers and non-profits (big and small)
    • Mission: Bring the non profit sector together and advocate public policies that help non-profits
    • Sources of giving:
      • Individual Giving
        • Individuals
        • Bequeths
      • Foundations & Corps
        • Indep. & Community Foundations
        • Family Foundations
        • Corps.
      • Government
        • Support secotr through contracts + grant sevices
        • Significant Capacity Needed to manage
    • National giving breakdown (mirrored in IL):
      • 73% individuals
      • 15% Government
    • Prospect Research: finding possible donors
      • Why do it?
        • The #1 advice given is "do your homework"
        • You feel more prepared and confident when submitting the proposal or making the ask
      • How to do it?
        • Three steps
      • Step 1: Build a prospect list
        • Scan databases to familiarize yourself with the sources
          • Foundation Directory Online (EDO)
          • WealthEngine
          • Others (Marquis Who's Who, NOZA)
        • Websites
        • Print directories
        • Informal sources
      • Step 2: Narrow your list
        • 12 - 15 prospects
        • Focus on the match - look at their mission!
        • Look at funding history, do they fund groups like yours?
        • Look at tax reports (990s or 990-PFs): create a free account at guidestar.org
        • Pay close attention to exclusions: ex. Don't apply if they say "not accepting applications at this time"
      • Step 3: Make Contact
        • Follow guidelines closely
        • Some common "initial methods of contact"
          • Telephone calls (call first to make sure you fit their targets before applying)
    • What funders look for...
      • 501(c)x
      • Within their giving priorities
      • Compelling need statements with objective evidince
      • Organizational credibility
      • Diversity: composition of staff and board
      • Plans for continuation of project grant ends
    • Donors Forum Library
      • locations all over the city and suburbs
      • not a leding library but open for free use
      • open 12-5pm for the general public
      • Member organizations can use the databases off-site and get them to do the research for you
      • free orientation sessions
  • Illinois Art Council
    • Board makes final grant decisions
    • Funded by the state and NEA
    • One of the few groups still giving "operating support" grants (non specific grants to keep organizations going)
    • Average grant $6500.00
    • Can be re-applied for every year
    • only needs to be a state non-profit, not 501c3 (maybe required next yesr)
    • do your research before calling
    • www.arts.illinois.gov
    • Deadline for arts organization finding just passed, next cycle starts in January
    • Most grants expect matched funds
    • 90% - 95% requests are funded
    • Other good organizations to look into
      • Arts and Business Council - classes (with nominal fee)
      • National Endowment for the Arts
      • Federal Department of Education
    • Watch event advertising at similar groups to find out who funded them
  • Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs (run by the Office of Tourism and Culture)
    • Serve the arts and cultural community
    • offer general opperating support (grants) to arts programs
    • offer program support (grants) to other organizations with art programs
    • offer project specific support (grants) for small organizations and individual artists
    • support about 250 organizations across the city
    • support (grants) art teaching programs in communities with low to moderate income
    • next funding opportunity is for 2013
      • will be posted on the city website
    • www.chicagoartistsresource.org
    • Neighboorhood Arts Program
      • Low to moderate income communities
      • focused on teaching artists
      • for youths, seniors, or people with disabilities
      • up to $4000.00
      • looking for some kind of sustained presence in the community
      • any art discipline
      • Application workshop Tues. March 27 at the cultural center @ 3pm
      • Not for organizations to apply, for individual artist that wants to lead class
    • Panels of experts in your subject decide on grant request
      • panel meetings are open so you can show up and hear what you're doing right vs. what you're doing wrong
    • Creative Chicago Expo
    • Additional Resources:
      • BoardSource.org - organization for non-profit board members. National conference is in Chicago this year (September?)
      • Lumity - IT support
      • CPAs For the Public Interest - workshops
      • Lawyers for the Public Arts
  • Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunities
    • www.illinoisbiz.biz
    • Primary focus is to create jobs
    • Offer tax credits to films
    • Energy and Recycling Office - works with non-profits the most
      • upgrade their building for energy efficiency
    • Office of Entrepreneurship Innovation and Technology
    • New program - rebate program for installing electrical vehicle charging station
      • 50% of the cost up to $3000
    • Angel investor program
    • Digital Divide program
    • Sends out weekly e-mail newsletter listing various grants available