In early December I finished facilitating a 10-week Strategic Planning Group. Those nonprofits are definitely set up and ahead of the curve in 2019! In any case, even if you haven’t sat down and did your planning yet, or even if you have, you are going to want to listen to this episode. This is a snapshot of one of the modules from the Strategic Planning Course. It is one that the nonprofits in the group got really excited about and will give you excellent tips on how to get ahead of your 2019 and make sure that you have the most funding success, eliminate unnecessary burnout, and avoid competition.
Before we get there, though, a quick reminder that we are starting our BETA Changemaker Membership soon and our Advanced Reader Team (ART)! I know I’ve been talking about it over the last few podcasts, but I really want to make sure that you get to take advantage of the Beta $27 per month deal. The amount will go up substantially in 2019, so if you want to get in at the $27 per month rate and STAY at that rate, then just send me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The paid membership includes:
- Real awarded grant applications
- An archive of training videos on grant writing, research and, funding WOWS!
- Checklists for grants and funding
- Discounts on our services
- A community of other nonprofit organizations and grant writers
- Q & A sessions with yours truly
I also have the Advanced Reader Team open right now – so if you would like to get on the ART, and have access to free e-books on grants and funding in exchange for reviews, then send me an e-mail at email@example.com and just say add me to the ART!
Okay, let’s get into your 2019 Calendar Tips.
The best thing to do is to print out a full-page of a 2019 calendar that lists all the months and dates, and a piece of paper. Check out your FREE printable below, where we have everything set up for you! You can also just utilize a calendar and a piece of paper if you already have one in front of you!
Let’s say you have a nonprofit that serves women who are victims of domestic violence. By looking at the calendar circle in blue the dates of all the events and milestones your nonprofit will reach in 2019. These are internal events that your nonprofit will drive forward.
On your piece of paper (or Click HERE to get your FREE Printable!) write down what all the events and milestones are, such as your outreach events in April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a conference that your nonprofit hosts each year, or training that is done for your clients each year. This is not necessarily fundraisers or money events; we will get to those soon. If you don’t know the exact dates yet, that is absolutely fine, just select a tentative date for now.
On your piece of paper write down the dates and the description of each activity.
Next, go ahead and circle in orange all of the external events going on in 2019. This can include holidays, other conferences or training that your nonprofit does not host, other large events, your competitor events, other large fundraisers (such as Giving Tuesday), and so forth.
Write these down on your piece of paper. Once again, if you do not know the exact dates, go ahead and circle a ballpark date.
Now, go ahead and circle in green all of the large fundraisers your nonprofit does, grant season, and any other funding strategy dates. You may not know what date a grant is due, but chances are if you have applied to a certain foundation or federal funding source you may have an idea of when those grants usually close. If you have never applied for grants before, go ahead and circle the months of July, January, March, and October. These are some pretty big months for different types of grants and go along with fiscal years. This is because the federal year is from September to October each year.
The same thing goes for fundraisers. If you do not know when then try and schedule it with the fiscal year. A fundraiser in October can be great as for many it is the start of the fiscal year. But having a fundraiser in January might be tough. Even though it’s the start of a calendar year, many companies may not have much funding in January as they may have just given out bonuses or their staff is still off for the holidays.
Okay, go ahead and write these down. Now, I want you to go three months prior to when you marked major grant deadlines or fundraiser target dates and I want you to circle those months in yellow. Now go back to your paper and write down the yellow circled months and write, “Start planning for grant or fundraiser”. You are not looking at the deadline as the time to start, but are looking at how you to start the preparation process.
In this way, you can now see everything that is going on in the year at one glance, and you can make any changes now. For example, if there are other major events going on internally in the month leading up to a grant being due or planning for a fundraiser you may want to reschedule that event. Or you may notice that RAINN, coined the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, has their annual gala in your city in October each year, and you scheduled your first ever gala in October. That might not be the best time to schedule that particular fundraiser and you may seriously consider changing your gala date.
Here are some questions to consider:
- What are our nonprofit’s milestone events for 2019?
- What are other community-wide big events for 2019?
- Do we need to adjust the dates of our events?
- What are the grant and funding timelines in 2019?
Once you have really nailed down this calendar, then make it available and visible for your staff. Let people know what projects are in the works and what they should be prepping for.
This activity really shouldn’t take very long at all yet will save your nonprofit hours and hours (maybe even eliminate repeating the same unsuccessful year) and will help everyone understand the vision. You can also mitigate having an unsuccessful fundraiser or missing a grant deadline simply by planning it in advance, getting corporate funders before to commit to funding your event before others, and prepping for grants!
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Talk with you all next week, as I share more grant writing and funding tips to help advance your nonprofit organization.
Happy New Year!
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