Without surveying the readers of this blog, I am quite certain we could all come to an agreement that ministering to those with special needs would be far more enjoyable if it weren’t for fund-raising. Trying to do our worthy work while creating an emotional appeal for funding that work can be so maddening. However, if you are not already aware of these, here are some tools that can be of tremendous help in your work:
The gold standard of all non-profit databases is at http://www.guidestar.org/ If you do not at least have a basic listing with GuideStar, you cannot receive certain grants or plug into other networks. Filling out your corporate summary on this website will make your information available to any would-be donors. I would even go so far as to say your listing with GuideStar is critical in lending credibility to your ministry and in raising any serious funds.
Another terrific place to build a profile for your organization or ministry is at http://greatnonprofits.org/ This site interfaces with GuideStar, and it helps would-be benefactors take a peek at your work. On this site you can post your mission statement, have participants, volunteers, and benefactors all write recommendations on your organization, post photos and videos of your work, and describe what a donation of money or time will accomplish for your non-profit.
A great source of news on grants being awarded and weekly updates on RFPs (requests for proposals), http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/ should be a part of your regular reading. This will open your eyes to what grantors are looking for both within your area of service and beyond.
If you want the easiest way to locate grant opportunities in a given area of service or by geographical location, http://www.fundsnetservices.com/ is a must for you. I find this site to be the most user-friendly in trying to locate available grants when I am the one doing the digging.
NPT is a versatile tool on so many different levels. Not only will it make you aware of available grants, their newsletter offers tips on leadership, volunteer management, donor development, and so much more. Subscribing to the http://www.thenonprofittimes.com/ newsletter is also free.
This last resource is one of my favorites. I came to be acquainted with http://www1.networkforgood.org/ because they process the donations made on our Causes page through Facebook. They offer so much in the way of keeping charities on the cutting edge of fundraising and non-profit management. I find them to be extremely knowledgeable in all areas of social media and innovative tools.
Be aware that each of these resources offers a treasure trove of information, so you will have to narrow where to focus or that is all you will find yourself doing. Many of them offer extremely valuable free webinars, convenient for participation right from your desktop.
I pray this will be useful and fruitful information for you. I certainly wish I would have had a list like this when I got started doing the Lord’s work! God forgot to tell me how integral this fundraising piece would be in raising a budget to carry out His work. Nevertheless, He has brought these resources into my path in His perfect timing, and I continue to rely on them to this day.
What are your favorite non-profit budget resources? We would love to hear!