Archives:

Select:

An insider's guide to funding afterschool: Collaborating with communications

READ FULL STORY

An insider's guide to funding afterschool: Collaborating with communications

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the latest installment of "An insider's guide to funding afterschool," a blog series by the development team at the Afterschool Alliance, featuring strategies to successfully fund and sustain out-of-school time programs.

As fundraisers, we know that projecting the best information about our organizations is a key way to win new supporters and keep existing ones. The right messaging strategy can bolster support from donors and funders, and establish and increase your organization’s credibility. A close partnership with your organization’s communications team can make that happen.

Here’s a few ways collaboration with communications professionals can bring keep your fundraising strategy sharp or bring it to the next level.

Consistency is key

When writing a grant application, an annual letter of appeal to donors, or an email to a prospective new donor, it’s crucial to produce fundraising messaging that is consistent and aligned with the overall language and messaging of your organization. Delivering clear, consistent, and accurate messaging builds interest and trust in your organization while keeping current donors connected and loyal to your mission.

Because effective fundraising materials aim to inform prospective or current donors about the work of your organization, make an effort to coordinate with your communications, media, or quality control team to review your content. These staff are skilled in message framing, proofing, and polishing, and can review the accuracy of the information you’re presenting. Additionally, they can ensure your fundraising materials use the organization’s color palette, images, and logo. Details like visual branding and effective copy are foundational to conveying the best possible impression of your organization to prospective funders and external audiences.

Current events lead to currency

Another reason to loop in your communications staff is to make sure you’re including the most current news about your organization. For example, let’s say your organization has been responding to an urgent issue that is impacting your stakeholders or constituents. The urgency of the issue might mean that your organization will be rapidly responding with new talking points, data, or stories from your particular field.

Collaboration with your communications team ensures you’ll capture the latest and most compelling information in your fundraising materials. These efforts will keep your current donors engaged and informed about your work, while also piquing the interest of new donors.

For year-end appeals in particular, a common strategy is to use short stories or quotes from your field to demonstrate the need for your organization’s services. This is a compelling way to show the impact your organization has on communities, and can effectively motivate donor interest and support. In using this strategy, make sure to obtain approval from the individual(s) you will be quoting or highlighting in your stories.

Crunch the numbers

Infographics are effective tools that provide compelling information in an easily digestible, visually appealing format. When using them, it’s important to double-check the accuracy of numbers and statistics referenced in your materials. Data accuracy is especially critical when you’re citing your organization’s impact and accomplishments (i.e., number of people served, number of workshops conducted).

Communications professionals work with these numbers on a regular basis in their marketing and outreach tasks and should be able to help you confirm the data you’re using in your materials.

Fundraising and communications are a natural fit for cross-departmental collaboration. Communications professionals can bring their skillset to bear on your materials and help you present prospective and current donors and funders with the best possible version of your organization’s messaging and voice. When planning your next initiative, reach out and see what you can create together! 

Helping overlooked communities with crowdfunding tools

Over the last week, many Americans received stimulus payments via direct deposit from the IRS; however, many people were left out of this program. While some may still have funds coming eventually, many in the communities we serve will not. Additionally, some receiving stimulus funding may find...

BY: Nicole Pettenati      04/27/20

How federal legislation can help non-profits support employees during COVID emergency

The recent legislation known as the CARES Act provided a third emergency supplemental of funding and included direct help to people and businesses on the ground suffering the economic impacts of the pandemic. We have seen a number of great resources from organizations to help beneficiaries...

BY: Jillian Luchner      04/01/20

Maintaining and building relationships with funders during COVID-19

Photo courtsey of #WOCinTech Chat. This blog is part of a developing series on the state of afterschool funding and the changing landscape of philanthopy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch this space for more posts! As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, funders are responding to the changing...

BY: Nicole Pettenati      03/30/20

Service learning grants—up to $500!

With generous support for the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Youth Service Alliance (YSA) will award Afterschool Grants of up to $500 each to support youth-led service or service-learning in afterschool programs. Grants are offered on a competitive application basis and open to any afterschool...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      09/16/19

Up to $20,000 for out-of-school time educators working with kids & parents

Do you know a fantastic educator who goes above and beyond to engage not just the student, but also families, in learning? The National Center for Families Learning is seeking applicants for the 2019 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year competition, which will provide up to $20,000 to school or...

BY: Alex Crooks      05/14/19

Ameriprise Financial grants for supporting community vitality & more

Do you provide meals and snacks to children enrolled in your program? Rely on help from volunteers? Offer arts education or access for underserved populations? Ameriprise Financial is offering grants that can help you fund your work! Scope: Ameriprise Financial provides support in the...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      03/07/19

Now open: National block grant for systemic improvements & community transformation

Big challenges require lots of resources. If your organization, network, or agency seeks to create new economic opportunities in your community and improve quality of life for low-income individuals and families, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Community Services Block Grant...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      02/05/19

Grant opp.: Up to $500 for creative community projects

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation is offering funding of up to $500 to design and implement a creative program for your school or library! Public schools, public libraries, and public preschool programs are encouraged to apply. Previous successful projects have included a ceramic totem...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/18/19

Funding opp.: STEM learning grants from Honda

The American Honda Foundation supports youth education with a specific focus on STEM subjects, in addition to environmental science and stewardship. If these are key components of your afterschool curriculum, read on for details about applying for up to $75,000 in grant funds! Eligibility:...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/10/19

Grants up to $100,000 for middle school OST programs!

The New York Life Foundation is seeking applicants for $1,350,000 in grants to middle school afterschool, summer or expanded learning programs serving disadvantaged middle school youth. This is the third year of the Foundation’s Aim High grant competition. In all, 26 awardees will be...

BY: Dan Gilbert      12/04/18

Stimulus checks are being donated to support essential workers & immigrant communities

Over the last week, many Americans received stimulus payments via direct deposit from the IRS; however, many people were left out of this program. While some may still have funds coming eventually, many of those in communities we serve will not. Additionally, some receiving stimulus funding may...

BY: Nicole Pettenati      05/08/20

Need help navigating funding opps in the new landscape? Check out Children's Funding Project

As the COVID-19 pandemic has spread across the country, response efforts have emerged at varying rates to combat some of the ill effects of shutting down cities and regions nationwide. As our understanding of the pandemic has changed, so too have the nature of these responses – ranging from...

BY: Nicole Pettenati      05/04/20

New financial planning tool for afterschool programs in the COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the way we serve young people, forcing programs to adapt in myriad ways to ensure supports are available to students and their families. What once felt like a short-term shift is becoming the new norm, and the strain of lost revenue from program fees and contracts...

BY: Chris Neitzey      05/01/20

#GivingTuesdayNow: An opportunity to connect, share gratitude, and raise funds

Every year following the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, nonprofits around the globe participate in GivingTuesday, a day of international generosity and unity. In response to the demands and hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic, GivingTuesday has announced #GivingTuesdayNow, taking place on...

BY: Nicole Pettenati      04/29/20

Helping overlooked communities with crowdfunding tools

Over the last week, many Americans received stimulus payments via direct deposit from the IRS; however, many people were left out of this program. While some may still have funds coming eventually, many in the communities we serve will not. Additionally, some receiving stimulus funding may find...

BY: Nicole Pettenati      04/27/20

How federal legislation can help non-profits support employees during COVID emergency

The recent legislation known as the CARES Act provided a third emergency supplemental of funding and included direct help to people and businesses on the ground suffering the economic impacts of the pandemic. We have seen a number of great resources from organizations to help beneficiaries...

BY: Jillian Luchner      04/01/20

Maintaining and building relationships with funders during COVID-19

Photo courtsey of #WOCinTech Chat. This blog is part of a developing series on the state of afterschool funding and the changing landscape of philanthopy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch this space for more posts! As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, funders are responding to the changing...

BY: Nicole Pettenati      03/30/20

An insider's guide to funding afterschool: Stewarding a donor

What is stewardship? It’s the process by which a relationship is nurtured through communications and activities once a gift has been made. It’s about keeping a donor engaged between solicitations. Stewardship post gift is similar to cultivating a prospect before a solicitation has been...

BY: Christopher Vance      11/05/19

An insider's guide to funding afterschool: The basics of proposal writing

After you have identified, qualified and cultivated your prospect (see September’s fundraising blog, IQCSS), it is time to make the solicitation by submitting a proposal. The foundation will either have proposal guidelines available on their website or, you’ll be invited to submit a...

BY: Christopher Vance      10/04/19

An insider's guide to funding afterschool: IQCSS, the fundraising cycle

Raising the necessary funds to operate your afterschool program can often be one of the most challenging parts of your work day. It takes a great deal of time and teamwork to go from finding a donor to realizing a gift. A fundraising step-by-step guide can help. The fundraising cycle consists of...

BY: Christopher Vance      09/09/19

An insider's guide to funding afterschool: 5 steps to partnering with foundations

Running a successful afterschool program is half the challenge. You’ll need great educators, interesting curriculum, and engaged young people and parents. Finding funding for your program is the other half of the challenge and for some, the most daunting. Many programs struggle to maintain...

BY: Christopher Vance      01/17/19