News, comments, resources, and more for nonprofits.
...Yes, you can do it! Have you ever sat down to write a grant proposal, marketing piece, or fundraising letter, and found yourself staring at a blank sheet of paper or computer screen?
You know you have to ‘hook’ the reader with a compelling story…but how? When the needs of your clients are getting greater every day, what do you say? When you’re faced with a fund deficit and staff stretched to their limits, what do you say and how do you say it without sounding desperate?
Stories. Simple, identifiable stories. Take a story writing approach: the hero (your agency), and your characters (the people you serve), your actions (programs/services), and the tensions between them (not enough capacity to serve all who need your services).
Start writing. It won’t be the final version, but start writing your story. Then, edit until it is concise, engaging, and compelling.
Not comfortable yet, then don’t miss “Telling Your Nonprofit’s Story: Men and Women Against White Space” on Tuesday, May 19, when professional writer Bill Truesdell will tell you ‘the rest of the story’ about writing your stories.
Telling Your Nonprofit’s Story
Gov. Granholm has proclamed May as Leave A Legacy month in Michigan. As you read her statement, consider what your legacy will be.
STATE OF MICHIGAN
Jennifer M. Granholm
Certificate of Proclamation
On behalf of the citizens of Michigan, I, Governor Jennifer M.
Granholm, do hereby proclaim May 2009, as Leave a Legacy Month
Whereas, Michigan residents have traditionally demonstrated their generosity, even in the face of difficult economic times, through their annual support of charitable causes; and
Whereas, Surveys indicate very few of the 42 percent of Michigan residents who have even executed a will have included a bequest to charity; and
Whereas, All adults should have a will, the starting point of an effective estate plan regardless of family wealth or circumstances; and
Whereas, The Partnership for Philanthropic Planning believes that the American people make few bequests in their wills simply because they have not been asked to consider doing so; and
Whereas, Nonprofit organizations provide effective and essential services in all areas of our lives — religion, education, health care, research, the arts and social services for the poor and disadvantaged; and
Whereas, Charitable giving through bequests in a will provides each of us the opportunity to support and perpetuate for future generations those values and ideals most important to us and our families that we cherished during our lifetimes; and
Whereas, Many Michigan nonprofit organizations, allied professionals and community leaders are engaged in the LEAVE A LEGACY® public awareness effort that aims to “Make a Difference in the Lives that Follow” by encouraging estate gifts which will continue the work of non-profit organizations in serving and sustaining the quality of life that makes our state and its communities good places to live, work and raise families; and now therefore be it,
Resolved, That I, Jennifer M. Granholm, Governor of the State of Michigan, do hereby proclaim May 2009, as LEAVE A LEGACY Month. I encourage all citizens to recognize the value of leaving a legacy through wills as vital support of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations in the very important work they do.
Two ‘must attend’ events for staff and board members responsible for nonprofit financial management and fund development will be offered during the next couple of weeks at ONEplace: Step-By-Step: Through The New 990 on Thursday, April 16, from 1 to 4 pm; and, Creating Sustainable Funding for Your Mission on Wednesday, April 22, from 2 to 4 pm. Both will be in the Van Deusen Room at KPL Central and both require preregistration.
The new 990 requires additional information aimed at increasing transparency and accountability in your financial management, relationships, and mission-focused activities and outcomes…items that will make the form more time-consuming to prepare and more helpful to donors and other funders. Come and learn what is expected with this year’s filings.
Sustainable Funding for Your Mission focuses on building a stable funding base through an individual-donor focused plan. A balance of funding sources is critical to NP stability. Too much emphasis is generally given to grants. Learn how to change that balance to individual donors for greater security over the long-term.
ONEplace Workshops & Events
It’s the first day of Spring—one of my favorite transition days of the year. As a gardener, it marks the start of the new season of growing.
“Growing” is already happening at ONEplace! Since our launch a couple of weeks ago, we’ve had workshops with maximum numbers of people attending and had to stop registration on one for next week, already! We added a new date for the same topic in late April and already have five people signed up. This is exciting growth, and we’ve just begun.
Please check our website calendar regularly for new events and workshops—and register early!
Flowers (photo by Bobbe A. Luce)
Opening week at ONEplace has been a grand! Our launch event on March 3 found over 160 enthusiastic people gathered in the Van Deusen Room at Central Library to learn about our new support services and programs for nonprofits in Kalamazoo County. The energy was palpable!
Our speakers—Ann Rohrbaugh, Rick Hughey, Dave Gardiner, and Kyle Caldwell—joined me in sharing the value of centers like ours at all times—and, especially in difficult economic times. Building infrastructures and capacities in and across nonprofits will “float everyone’s boat” and create a stronger community for all.
Thanks to everyone who came to the event or asked about it afterward, thanks to the Kalamazoo Gazette for featuring ONEplace on the front page, and WMUK for their interview. We’re off and running…and we welcome your participation.
Since joining KPL on October 1, 2008 to build a concept into a center for nonprofit organizations (NPO) in Kalamazoo County, I’ve been doing a lot of asking, listening, planning, and building…building systems, service models, and programs. And, a distinctive brand so you’ll remember us and look for our resources, services, and programs.
This has been a “group” effort. I’ve been working with many wonderful and helpful people—talented colleagues here at KPL, community advisors and supporters, nonprofit support center directors, consultants, graphics experts, and others offering their help and expertise. Thank you, every one!
In addition, I’ve worked with several patrons who’ve come to KPL for help—mostly people working in all-volunteer nonprofits—not knowing a center for nonprofits was in the making. They’ve left with new perspectives, resources, and recommendations to help improve their organizations. Having worked mostly with staffed NPs, I appreciate learning more about the needs of all-volunteer NPs from them.
As I write this, we’re approaching the day to “open to the public”—what a thrill this is! March 3, 2009 is here!
There will always be a lot to do as ONEplace evolves to meet the changing needs of individuals and organizations in the nonprofit sector. I’m looking forward to working with many people and organizations as we venture beyond this exciting March 3 milestone