Tag Archives: Grants

How to Make the Most of Your Donor Prospect Research
How to Make the Most of Your Donor Prospect Research

Donor prospect research is no easy task, and takes a lot of time and effort. Selecting the right donor(s) are important, as their contributions are a direct reflection of your organization’s mission and goals. Prospect research is a great opportunity to learn more about potential or existing donors’ personal backgrounds, history of giving, indicators of wealth, their philanthropic motivations, and so on. You’re able to get a better gauge on a donor’s ability to give, and if they align with your nonprofits objectives and values. 

What is the best way to find prospects?

There are three main ways you can conduct your prospect research:

  • DIY. If you feel like you can find the right prospects using your own search methods, then go for it! This method won’t cost you any money, although it is a long and tedious process. Especially if you’re a one man show or doing research with a small team, there’s only so much information you can sift through between all the social networks and government and private databases. 
  • Use a consultant (hint hint, us)! Consultants have the knowledge and resources to find you the best prospects. They can also help train your staff on prospect research, develop research strategies, and build relationships in prospect relations.
  • Hire a prospecting company. If you’re looking to be almost completely hands off, then hiring a prospecting company is the way to go. They’ll be able to handle everything from start to finish, so you have more time to focus on other tasks. 

How do you know which prospects to screen? 

Each prospect will be unique in its appeal to you. But the first factor to consider is how large their past donations have been, as it’s a good indicator for what they could donate in the future. If the donation amounts don’t seem to align with your organization, give it a pass. Also, look to see if there are any personal or business contacts at the organization you can reach out to. A little networking never hurts anyone, and it’s a great way to start building a relationship with your prospects. You’ll also want to look out for consistency. How often is the organization donating? Is the amount they give consistent based on the nonprofits size? 

How do you utilize the research? 

Once you have the research, there are a few steps you want to take in ensuring you’re utilizing it properly. 

  1. Create an organized, centralized place for your research. Whether it’s Google Docs, spreadsheets, a project management app, etc, make sure you’re conducting research in a way that is organized and easy to reference. 
  2. Dissect the research. What factors are most important for your nonprofit when considering donors? Maybe it’s the amount they’re willing to donate, or their organization’s mission statement and values. 
  3. Make a plan to reach out. Once you have a prospects data, how do you plan to reach out? What does your timeline look like, and what methods of communication might work best for each donor?

Does your nonprofit need help with donor prospect research? RBW Strategy has you covered! Using a proven approach for success, we can help by performing detailed research to determine potential foundation, government and/or corporate funding prospects. Visit our services page to learn more!

diversity and inclusion
diversity and inclusion

In response to the prevalent racial injustice matters going on worldwide, many organizations have taken proactive measures to update their diversity and inclusion policies. In an effort to provide relevance and credibility, many organizations have released these initiatives quickly — but are not considering some key issues. 

Topics of diversity and inclusion are complicated and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s easy for leaders at an organization to make assumptions about the root cause of their employees’ problems, rather than putting in the effort to conduct proper research. The last thing you want to do is make false promises or provide surface level statements that cannot be backed up with specific actions. 

The success of diversity and inclusion programs will come to do the work of upper management (and we don’t just mean HR). Successful programs like these should be backed by measurable goals and targets, and consistently re-evaluated and adjusted by the leadership team. 

We’ve taken some time to evaluate diversity and inclusion policies of nonprofit organizations and found a few common areas that can be improved. 

  1. A lack of data collection.

    As we stated above, it’s easy for leaders to make assumptions on the root causes of employee dissatisfaction, rather than taking actionable steps to gather employee feedback. We highly recommend sending out employee satisfaction surveys on at least a 6-month basis. In fact, A UK report shows that evidence-based hiring practices are the most effective approaches to better results in diversity and inclusion initiatives. Having anonymous surveys will allow employees to open up more and admit their concerns more candidly. As the saying goes: numbers don’t lie! Employee satisfaction surveys are the most fair and credible ways of gathering employee feedback.

  2. Bias in the hiring process.

    In some cases, there seems to be a disconnect in the “quick fixes” an organization releases and their hiring process. For example, an organization may send out a list of diversity and inclusion resource groups, training courses, etc to their employees, but avoid those practices in the hiring process. It has to come from the top down! The best way to leave personal bias out of the hiring process is to ensure that hiring personnel don’t get to irrelevant personal details, like age, gender, ethnicity, and so on. 

  1. Using the “cop out” method when hiring leadership.

    It seems logical to hire a person of color into a leadership position to help address diversity and inclusion issues. But despite the beliefs of some organizations, that’s not enough. The leadership team as a whole should be diverse, not just one person. True diversity comes from having a unique set of backgrounds, and that can’t fall onto one person. It’s important that diversity is a part of the talent pipeline throughout the company, not a one time deal. And that process will require careful and thorough change in the talent acquisition system.

  2. Diversity and inclusion are important — but don’t oversell it.

    The last thing you want to do is set overly ambitious targets without a real plan in place. Internal targets your organization creates should involve managers, executives, employees, and other stakeholders so that the initiatives are owned, not thrown upon them. 

What steps has your organization taken to ensure diversity and inclusion policies are implemented properly? Leave us a comment below! 

If you’re a nonprofit applying for grants and need help conveying your organizations diversity and inclusion policies, we can help! Visit our services page for more information. 

grants lifecycle
grants lifecycle

The grants lifecycle refers to the entire process of a grant—from planning, to opportunity, to implementation, to closeout. The lifecycle of a grant has three major stages: pre-award, award, and post-award. The recipient and grantor both have unique tasks within each stage. 

Phase 1: The Pre-Award Phase 

The pre-award phase includes the grantor announcing the funding opportunity all the way through the application submission and review of grant applications. 

Here are the steps included in the pre-award phase:  

  1. The grant-making agency plans and develops a funding program based on its mission, the Administration, and congressional initiatives.
  2. The grant-making agency announces the funding opportunity and advertises it to applicant communities. They will also publish details of the funding opportunity on Grants.gov.
  3. Potential applicants will utilize Grants.gov to find funding opportunities by using the search tool. 
  4. Once an opportunity is identified, potential applicants will register with Grants.gov. and check for any additional registration requirements. 
  5. The applicant will spend a few weeks filling out the application. Note: it will take a lot of time, but you can download the PDF form and save the fields as you go. Once the application is complete, you submit it through Grants.gov.
  6. The application is then screened for compliance by the grant-making agency. If it passes, it then goes to the appropriate agency program for consideration. The applicant is notified via email if this happens.
  7. Applicants can then track the status of their application by communicating with the grant-making agency.
  8. The grant-making agency will continue to review the application. 

Phase 2: The Award Phase

The award phase is the shortest of the three phases, and starts taking place when the federal agency sends the Notice of Award (NOA) to the successful applicant and the grant becomes legally binding.

Here are the steps included in the award phase: 

  1. Once the application is reviewed, the funding agency notifies the applicants whether or not they have been awarded a grant. The agency also starts working with the award recipient to go over the legalities of the funding agreement. The funds are then dispersed. 
  2. Now the applicant will begin their project. The award recipient is responsible for meeting the administrative, financial, and programmatic reporting requirements of the award.

Phase 3: The Post Award Phase 

The final phase is the longest phase (despite fewer steps), as it includes the implementation of the grant program, along with all the reporting, audits, and closeout processes.

Here are the steps included in the post award phase:

  1. After an award has been granted, a grants management officer at the funding agency oversees the reporting compliance. This process involves reviewing reports submitted by the awardees. Representatives from the grantor agency might perform on-site visits with the project director and implementation staff. Oversight can vary based on the type of auditing done. 
  2. Award recipients submit two types of reporting to the funding agency: financial reporting and programmatic reporting. These reports are submitted regularly, and are helpful to the agency as they provide information about the overall financial status and program performance of the grant project. 

The grants lifecycle is complicated, and given the competition for funding, the process is often daunting to many nonprofits and government agencies. That’s where we come in!

RBW Strategy can help by telling you where to start with the grant seeking and writing process, how to best obtain funding, and how you can ensure you have the capacity to manage grants. Learn more about our services, or contact us via the contact form at the bottom of our website. 

For additional information on the grants lifecycle, please visit the Grants.gov page.