An insider's guide to funding afterschool: Connecting donors to your mission

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An insider's guide to funding afterschool: Connecting donors to your mission

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the second installment of "An insider's guide to funding afterschool," a new blog series by Ed Spitzberg, Vice President of Development at the Afterschool Alliance, featuring strategies to successfully fund and sustain out-of-school time programs. 

So now that you’ve leveraged the resources you have (see last month’s post), let’s talk about how to link donors to your organization.

What’s the best way to connect donors to your organization?  Well, personal relationships are important, sure. But you want long-term gifts… gifts that are tied to the organization, not any one individual. You want donors to have a relationship with the organization.

And what makes a relationship between a donor and your organization? Many things of course, but most important (and most obvious if you’ve peeked at the title of this post) is connection to your organization's mission.

So, how do you make this connection?

  • Stories about impact – Share with donors about specific kids (without identifying information, of course) who have benefited from your program. How did they participate in your program? What changes did they have in their lives after participating in your program?
  • Chance to observe program – Even better than stories: have them see your work, meet your kids and understand firsthand the impact you make.
  • Chance to participate in program – And even better than observing is participating. They can volunteer to be a mentor, serve on the board or enroll their own children. 
  • Persistently friendly communication – Make sure they know the work you do throughout the year. Call, send e-mails, etc. Persistence is good. Annoyance isn’t, so make sure you have a good feel as to where to draw the line.

If you do all that, when it comes time for the ask, you’ll have a much easier time of it. You’ll be spared from having to make the ask along the lines of, “You like me, I like this person, so please give,” and instead can make the easier-for-them-and-you (and more successful) ask, “As you know from your experience seeing our work first hand, we help X number of people by doing ABC really well.  Will you please give us $Y, which will help make the B part of ABC possible?”

After your donor has generously given his or her gift in support of your mission, don’t forget to make sure that the donor’s connection to the mission continues. We’ll talk more about stewardship in a later blog.

Until then, I hope you’ll remember all the good work you’re doing for young people in your community. We at the Afterschool Alliance appreciate it, and your prospective donors will too.

Grant opp.: Support for STEM, arts, community service, and more

Established in 2005, the Henderson Foundation seeks to provide support to community organizations across the country. Nonprofits (including afterschool and summer learning programs!) are encouraged to apply for funding that would support initiatives in the following areas: Education and...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/08/18

Got a green thumb? Get a grant!

If your program features a youth garden, Green Education Foundation and Gardener's Supply Company want to help it thrive! To enter the Green Thumb Challenge, schools and youth groups (including afterschool programs) are encouraged to to submit chronicles of their garden projects...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      09/04/18

Grant opp.: Funding for hunger relief, environmental stewardship, and more

Looking for grant opportunities that will help your program do even more in your community? Save-A-Lot can help! Save-A-Lot supports organizations whose primary mission addresses the following focus areas: Hunger relief: Comprehensive hunger relief organizations and non-profit...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      08/13/18

Grant opp.: Fund a digital learning center for your program

Afterschool is an excellent opportunity to provide quality digital and computer science learning experiences to students who may not have the chance to get online during the school day – but only if the program has the resources to connect them to computer science education. If you’re...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/22/18

Grants for eco education from Captain Planet Foundation

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Tips for applying to the New York Life Foundation's 2018 Aim High Grants

We here at the Afterschool Alliance are once again excited by the opportunity to administer the New York Life Foundation’s incredible Aim High Grant Program. For those of you who may not be aware, the Aim High program is part of the New York Life Foundation’s ongoing...

BY: Dan Gilbert      01/16/18

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

The New York Life Foundation is seeking applicants for $1,050,000 in grants to middle school afterschool, summer or expanded learning programs serving disadvantaged youth. This is the second year of the Aim High grant competition. In all, 26 awardees will be selected based on their ability to help...

BY: Ursula Helminski      12/12/17

Up to $500 for creative programs from the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation

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 public story walk, a...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/04/17

New funding opp: Discretionary grants up to $20,000

Looking for a way to inspire the youth in your afterschool program? Want to start a project but don’t have the necessary funds to start? The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation offers grants of different amounts for projects big and small! Through a fairly simple application process, you...

BY: Marco Ornelas      10/02/17

Grant opportunity: Start a garden or wildlife habitat at your local school

If your program focuses on local beautification efforts or gardening and ecology, the Wild Ones Seeds for Education program has a creative way to fund your projects! Your program could be awarded up to $500 to start a garden or wildlife habitat for native plants and animals in your local school....

BY: Marco Ornelas      08/15/17

Grant opp.: Support for STEM, arts, community service, and more

Established in 2005, the Henderson Foundation seeks to provide support to community organizations across the country. Nonprofits (including afterschool and summer learning programs!) are encouraged to apply for funding that would support initiatives in the following areas: Education and...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/08/18

Up to $75k for innovative initiatives and ideas to benefit kids

Take a moment to think about the work your organization does in promoting information and resources to your colleagues in the field. If you’re a communication and information leader in your community, apply for the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation’s 2018 grant...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      04/05/18

Up to $500 for creative programs from the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation

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 public story walk, a...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/04/17

New funding opp: Discretionary grants up to $20,000

Looking for a way to inspire the youth in your afterschool program? Want to start a project but don’t have the necessary funds to start? The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation offers grants of different amounts for projects big and small! Through a fairly simple application process, you...

BY: Marco Ornelas      10/02/17

Funding opportunity: Up to $1,000 for environmental service-learning

The future of the planet belongs to our kids, and afterschool programs offer one of the best opportunities for students and youth to engage in environmental stewardship projects that connect classroom experiences of environmental science with the real world. If your afterschool program has a focus...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      06/15/17

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

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8 firsthand tips to win the sustainability battle

Sustainability: it’s an ongoing struggle in the nonprofit world. Afterschool and summer learning programs are no strangers to writing sustainability plans and working tirelessly toward this goal. For many, sustainability is elusive. For all, it’s hard work. In...

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An insider's guide to funding afterschool: Year-end appeals

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the latest installment of "An insider's guide to funding afterschool," a blog series by Mike Burke, Director of Development at the Afterschool Alliance, featuring strategies to successfully fund and...

BY: Michael Burke      12/13/16