Monday, March 12, 2012

Conversations for Nonprofits

Bremer Bank Brainerd hosted the monthly Bremer Brown Bag Conversations for Nonprofits in the Brainerd area March 1. Participants included: Aitkin County CARE, ANGELS, Victim Services, Junior Achievement, CLC and CLC Foundation, Good Samaritan Society, Sexual Assault Services Inc., Crosslake Community School, Lakes Area Interfaith Caregivers, Breath of Life Adult Day Service, Lakes Area Restorative Justice Program, Kinship of Aitkin County, Community Member, Center for Lifelong Learning, BLACF, Hunt Utilities Group and Productive Alternatives.

After the welcome, participants introduced themselves positively with two adjectives, which nonprofit they represented and a short summary of its mission and vision.

Participants were then asked to identify one question as it relates to grant writing, fundraising or financial sustainability that they hoped to have answered during the brown bag conversations. The conversation revolved around grants and sustainable funding.

The following questions were formulated and will be the focus of the April Brown Bag:
* How do we convince our donors that being a sustainable member with regular donations is an advantage to them?
* What is the best way that you have found to effectively “spread the word” about your organization’s objective?
* What is the best way to propose grant funding from multiple sources either as matching fund or wages, etc.? [How can we request multiple funders to collaborate funding one project?]
* It seems as though there are plenty of learning opportunities regarding sustainability and nonprofits spend a lot of time “talking” about sustainability. Why do you think it seems to be such a struggle or why are we not effective?
* What are the most important tools an organization needs for successful fundraising?
* Financial sustainability: Is there an ideal ratio of annual budget income between grants and fee generating services or products?
* How many times can you ask businesses for donations in a year?
* Where do I find new granting resources?
* What is the key element or key elements to writing successful grants?
* How do you know where to go to diversity funders….and get them “in” to present to them?
* What are the top three resources for grant writing recommended for a beginning grant writer?
* How do you go about establishing an endowment fund?
* What is the best way to keep grant applications fresh without saying the same thing year after year?
* How can I work better within the guidelines of where the grant funds should be spent?

Amy Wyant, NRS, Brainerd

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