“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”
You have heard the advice — plan ahead! Finally, after many years of working with other nonprofits, worrying about emergency situations we would regularly see and responding to requests for funding something that did not seem to be quite the right solution, we stepped back to think about how we could do this better.
One of the final experiences that led to our “a-ha!” came from two nonprofits leaders. Both executive directors’ grant applications were declined by the same committee, but the committee had offered funding for planning instead. Surprisingly, expressions of relief – and thanks — came in response.
“I’ve been trying to get my board to engage in strategic planning for years but they won’t take the time,” one said.
The other said that planning had always been treated as taking away from the focus on the organization’s programming. With the offer of a Community Foundation grant, the issue of planning came front and center.
That was the beginning of our considering ways to better support nonprofits. The development of our planning grant program in 2010 is the direct result. Since that time, we have approved a variety of planning grants to 14 different organizations, ranging in amounts from $2,000 to $15,000.
Last year, we introduced the option for collaborative groups to apply for a planning grant. This is to recognize the amount of time it takes to develop the relationships and then the ideas that would lead to great solutions to organizational or community challenges. Check out this option for changing the world in a new way and let me know if you have questions!