More Than 50 Community Groups
Community organizations are the lifeblood of the Harbour. The 52 page Pender Harbour and Egmont Community Resource Directory, prepared by the Pender Harbour Community School, demonstrates just how hard people are working on behalf of the community (Rotary, RCM-SAR, Seniors Initiative), pursuing special interests (gardening, quilting, golf, music) or just plain having fun (all of them!). It is not unusual for residents to be involved with half a dozen community organizations.
The Pender Harbour Advisory Council aims to support and assist our community organizations to be successful, through work in several areas: fundraisong resources, marketing resources, and annual events for the development of community organizations
Part of the Pender Harbour and Areas Residents’ Association’s Strategic Plan is to:
- Encourage communication and cooperation amongst residents and organizations, and
- Look for opportunities to share information and discuss collaboration opportunities
- Invite Not for Profit Groups to Council meetings
- Host at least one Town Hall Meeting each year to gather input and report project status
- Help organize and run 2016 Community Days
- Maintain two way communications between key Not for Profit Groups
Minutes of Community Organizations Forum
LOOKING FOR FUNDING?
There are thousands of funding opportunities out there. But finding the right ones to match your organization’s needs is a huge challenge, to put it nicely.
A FEW BASICS
You’re a small non-profit organization run by volunteers. You have dreams, but need money to bring those dreams to fruition. How to get it?
The question is easy. The answer can be quite complex as it leads to countless other questions that need to be addressed first. Fundraising is a great exercise in self-discovery. Like putting together a resume in preparation for a job search, it forces you to analyze your accomplishments, skill sets, goals and opportunities. Many questions need to be raised and addressed to help you determine how much you’ll need, in what time frame, what it’ll be used for and how to go about getting it. Etc., etc.
- Who are you? What are you all about?
- Do you have carefully thought out mission and vision statements? Those are the first things that many funding organizations look for to determine if your goals are compatible with theirs
- Are you a registered charity? If not, could you develop a supportive relationship with a like-minded registered charity? A huge majority of funders can only donate to registered charities. However, they may entertain applications from a registered charity which serves as an umbrella organization for a like-minded non-registered charity.
- Why do you want funding – Start-up? Short or long-term project? Operating costs? Capital purchases? Staffing? Funders have definite criteria about what they will support. It is best to know before you start if your needs fall within those parameters. There’s no point in wasting your time and theirs asking for help where they cannot give it
- Do you have a very detailed budget? A well-defined description of what you want to achieve and how you will go about it? A clear understanding of how it will benefit your community? A time-frame for every step of the way? The means to measure the level of success of your initiative and the ability to report on that?
- How soon do you need the money? Are you solvent enough to pay for a project up front and then seek reimbursement? Some funders will reimburse you for a preapproved project only after it is completed. Others will only support new, upcoming projects.
- Do you have the manpower and skills to undertake the fundraising which you feel is required? Who will take the lead? It’s no small task. To what extent will the rest of the group support that person(s)?
- Answering those questions will help you prepare for the search for funding sources. Yourselves? After all, people will support you better if they know that you have made a commitment yourself. Friends and neighbours? Local organizations and businesses? Government at any of the three levels? Corporations? Foundations, endowment funds, other societies? Are you thinking of exploring opportunities locally, regionally, provincially, nationally, internationally? Each one of these may require a unique strategy.
- What about on-line fundraising? How comfortable are you with computers? Are you prepared to put in the time to sustain a campaign and keep it exciting?
- Or, how about organizing fundraising events and activities which engage the community? Some groups in this community are very successful with a variety of such activities. The trick is to come up with something unique. Or perhaps form partnerships with other organizations?
- Approaching individuals or organizations personally also requires planning. Have they indicated a mindset compatible with your aspirations? Would they have the level of resources that you seek? Who could make the connection for you? Who will represent your organization? If different members of your group are engaging different people or organizations, are they all going to “sing from the same song sheet” in presenting your case? In what ways could these people/organizations support you? Money is not the only way. Consider materials, services, advertising, and introductions to other potential supporters. Do you have a plan to recognize these supporters, keep them informed about what you are doing and sustain their support?
- OK, you’ve decided that your project is an ideal candidate for grant money. Where to look?
- Do you have contacts with other organizations with similar projects?
- How have they been pursuing their funding?
- What’s working for them, and what isn’t? Why?
- Could you explore ways in which you might be able to work together and pool resources?
- Networking isn’t just a catch phrase. It works. That’s part of why we’re here today.
- Attend workshops, such as those offered by the Pender Harbour Community School or the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation. Run by experienced professionals, any one of those will point you to numerous funding opportunities with suggestions on how to best pursue them. If you anticipate fundraising becoming a very significant, ongoing activity, you might want to look into BCIT’s Nonprofit Management program, largely available on-line (https://www.bcit.ca/study/programs/6310acert#courses) . It allows you to pursue individual subjects like Essentials of Fundraising. The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) also offers several courses on-line. Take a look at http://afp.peachnewmedia.com/store/provider/custompage.php?pageid=148
- There are numerous resources to be found on the internet, but finding the right ones can consume huge amounts of your time. There are programs and businesses available to help you narrow your search for funders whose criteria are compatible with yours, and will even help you pursue them. But they’re not free. This is where you have to consider value and return on your investment. If you’re going for really big bucks and have a sound plan, this might be a good way to go. Or you could go to the Sechelt Library and access Imagine Canada’s and Grant Connect (http://www.imaginecanada.ca/grant-connect), an online database with detailed, searchable information about thousands of funders.
- Another superb collection of funding sources which you can study from your home computer is offered by the Victoria Foundation at http://victoriafoundation.bc.ca/grants-funding/other-funding-sources/
- Keep an eye on newspapers, newsletters and trade publications. Every once in a rare while you might come across a notice of an organization entertaining requests for donations.
- Hey, there’s still a lot more prep and fine-tuning of your plans to be done.
- Are you going to focus on a few high end sources of funds? Or are you going to use a scatter gun approach like mail outs which may generate more but significantly smaller contributions?
- How are you going to keep track of your campaign? To whom have you applied? What’s their history? Address and contact information? Contacts inside the donor organizations are very important. They can let you know whether or not you’re a good match, give suggestions on which points are most likely to get favourable results and even direct you to other opportunities. When did/should you follow up? When are the deadlines for submissions of applications? What have you received from them? Have you acknowledged donations (or refusals)? What are their reporting expectations? Have you met their requirements? Etc., etc. This is important, not only for the immediate situation, but for those who may follow in your footsteps with your organization. If you’re going really big, like a university or hospital, there is software available to help you with this
- Are you prepared to solicit and deal with more complex donations like pledges, insurance, investments and bequests? Now we’re getting into accounting and legal matters.
- It takes guts to ask for money in a face to face meeting. You need to plan your strategy in advance – how to present your case in a way that appeals to the donors, how much you’re going to ask for, and when to shut up. Do practice runs with other people first.
Donors give because they want to help. It is up to you to make that possible for them.