LIGHTS ON AFTERSCHOOL
Lights On Afterschool
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 and grow their funding streams to ensure children and youth continue to receive vital academic and social enrichment while supporting working parents. For better or worse, it is up to the individual programs to find funding for the services that are most important to their community.
There are myriad ways to raise funds, but for this article, we’ll focus on working with foundations. Here’s how to get started:
Step 1 – Find funding
Develop a list of institutional funders with a history of funding in your community (including community foundations) or state. Rank them in terms of:
You can find prospects by tapping into your supporters such as board members and community leaders, as well as through any free search engine. There are also fee-based online tools such as the Foundation Center Online.
Step 2 – Create a budget
Determine the amount of funding you need to run/expand your program and create a detailed budget of expenses such as staff costs, meals, supplies and field trips. Knowing what the total afterschool program budget is allows you to solicit foundations with a higher capacity to give, as well as reaching out to smaller foundations to support the individual activities.
Step 3 – Develop a pipeline
A pipeline is your list of donors, lapsed donors, prospects, and suspects and includes pertinent information such as contact information, giving priorities, application deadlines and actions you are taking in the relationship building process.
Proposal Due Date
Phone call introduction
Follow up with proposal
Declined or approved
Invitation to visit program sent
Note: You’ll need between 9 months and 1 year to fully realize a gift.
Before reaching out to the foundation, thoroughly investigate their website and materials for the following information:
Your goal is to move entities through the pipeline; from suspects to prospects to donors.
Step 4 – Submit proposal
You can find some great tips on proposal writing here.
Step 5 – Stewardship
Continue building your relationship with the foundation whether or not you received funding. Provide a regular stream of program-related content and invite them to events, site visits, etc.
In conclusion, remember that fundraising last three seconds – "will you write a check?" Development, the process of cultivating a prospect or stewarding a donor, is never ending. Because it is less expensive to renew a donor than to bring a new one on, building and maintaining a relationship in a strategic manner will pay off in the long run for your program.
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