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

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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 made (see September blog post on IQCSS).

  1. Stay thank you – immediately and frequently.

Within 24 hours, call - or at the least send an email - thanking them for the donation. A formal thank you letter, signed by the principal or director, should be sent to the foundation within a week. If your school or program is a non-profit organization, be sure to include in the letter “No goods or services were provided in exchange for this contribution. XYZ School is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN ##.”

For an even bigger impact, have some children in the program send a handwritten note. Don’t forget to send a card around the holidays, especially Thanksgiving, to show your gratitude.

  1. Create a donor club or honor roll.

Ask the foundation if it would be ok to publicly acknowledge the donation on your website, social media or program brochure. Perhaps create a giving honor society segmented out by dollar amounts. For example:

GOLD LEVEL: $50,000 and above

SILVER LEVEL: $25,000-$49,999

BRONZE LEVEL: $10,000 - $24,999 and

COPPER LEVEL: $1,000 - $9,999

Invite the foundation to visit your program, take a picture with representatives at the wall and upload it to your webpage or newsletter. To be more memorable, place the picture in a frame and send to the foundation.

  1. Involve the funder in your activities

Invite the donor to visit your program to let them see how their donation is being put to good use. Prep your students and staff before-hand so they are comfortable discussing their thoughts on the program. Invite the foundation to other events including recitals and program open houses.

  1. Send a grant report/request for additional funding

Typically foundations require progress and/or final reports on the project. It’s critical to stay abreast of this reporting. Even if the foundation doesn’t require any formal reporting, it’s always good form to send at least a final report at the end of the grant period. Restate the problem that needed funding and share your outputs and results – positive and negative. Include updates on individual students who have gone through the program and what they got out of it.

To request second round funding, layout your next steps. Do you plan to increase the number of students from the previous year? If your request is larger than the previous year, spell out your fundraising plan – show the foundation that you are not relying solely on them. Outline your goals and activities to reach those objectives.

In closing, be memorable. Stewardship is a vital part of your fundraising program – as important as the solicitation.

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

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BY: Alex Crooks      05/14/19

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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

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BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/10/19

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BY: Dan Gilbert      12/04/18

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...

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Got a green thumb? Get a grant!

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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

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

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BY: Alex Crooks      05/14/19

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

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

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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