Posts Tagged ‘grants’

Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal homeLuke 16:9 (NLT)

The issue is about how we use our “worldly resources.” Does what we do “benefit others and make friends?” Are we doing any good with our earthly treasures? Look at what we do with what we have and see what it is accomplishing.

If you are on the other side of the equation, we need to see where our resources originate.  Some companies seek to do good simply because their products or services are questionable such as alcohol, tobacco and some gambling institutions.  For many Christian ministries and nonprofits, it may be tempting to receive much-needed dollars to make good works work.  yet, what message would be sent by trying to present the King of Kings brought to you by the king of beers?  just think on it. Here are some simple strategies for getting support for your ministry and/ or charity during hard times like these;

  • Try companies that need to improve their public image.  Check out the news on Toyota and other companies that need good press.  Speak with local dealers who are feeling the impact of the negative press.
  • Look local.  Check out your local better business bureau and your chambers of commerce on the local level as well as local business associations and Christian business networks. 
  • Does your church have a business directory of congregates who own small businesses and purchase advertising? Check out the shepherd’s guide, “the Christians’ Choice of Yellow Pages.” See if there is something like this in your community.
  • Start with something small like gift cards, paper products or items from a wish list.  Find out who would be willing to supply or doante specific items from your wish list by distributing among local businessmen and through your email contacts.  Also, post your wish list at your local Starbucks coffee shop (after checking with staff, of course) or in the break room at your job, ensuring that you have stated your cause and your need in a brief message prior to the list of items needed.
  • Prepare an announcement for Sunday services and ask local congregations to partner with you for food drives, community events, rummage sales, and other things, especially volunteers and senior citizens.  You have to connect  it to faith and service, especially if you can relate it to the Scriptures.
  • Check out “church grants” like Urban Ministry and Church Biz as well as other church grant resources.   Also, try foundations such as Christian foundations and  other sources like Your Church.
  • Look at free and donated items as giveaways and prizes
  • Do good… others will take notice, and then they will support it by volunteering, offering money, asking what you need or simply staying out of your way.

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Faith-based organizations and churches may not always have the deliverables desired by most funding sources such as foundations. Even some grassroots organizations may have difficulty with this.  Let me add a warning at this point.  Chasing the money can lead to serious problems that may not be worth the strain a grant opportunity can place on a small agency or church.  What we may not have in the tangible results may actually be offset by the intangibles that exist in our daily work, serving the people of our community.  I learned early on in writing grants that a compelling story should be shared, an ancedotal narrative of the change that occurs as a result of the services that you provide. Yes, I agree that you should track your numbers with outputs and outcomes, even SMART goals where applicable, but that may not convey the story of a child learning to love literature by presenting a culturally-relevant reading curriculum.  Think of how you make a difference and share that with those with your potential contributors and donors.  Make an argument for the little things that occur that lead to you making a big difference.  Survey your clients.  Conduct focus groups.  Host forums and discussion groups.  Do all that you can to reach those who you claim as your target audience.  Craft your proposals so that they point to the results that go beyond the numbers.  You’re already making a difference by what you provide.  Now make a difference by how you present it to others.

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