Seeking Grants Through RFPs : Non-Profits
Request for Proposals are issued as a means of securing a commodity, service or valuable asset by a host of entities such as government institutions and foundations periodically. It is also the main medium used by some non-profits when soliciting the services of consultants.
The deadlines for RFP's vary with some being as limited as one month. Regardless of the deadline indicated in an RFP, responding rapidly is key to avoiding stress and likely errors that might arise as a result of a looming deadline.
Seeking funding from myriad sources is essential to non-profits as it ensures the survival and sustainability of their programs. This is the main reason why it is essential to include diverse fund seeking strategies in development plans. One such avenue includes seeking out and responding to RFPs. In responding to RFPs, some recommended steps that ought to be taken into account include:
Preparation is crucial to success in this endeavor. Non-profits should assess factors such as goals for seeking the grant and the need for the services they provide. Once these steps have been taken, non-profits can then proceed to respond to RFPs that match programs being run. Thereafter, a timeline of activities should be developed and followed closely. The timeline developed should be a direct reflection of the requirements/instructions indicated in the RFP. It is imperative to follow instructions in order to prevent the rejection of proposals.
Consistently researching government and foundation resources will pay due dividends. By regularly staying attuned to RFPs from these sources, non-profits can respond promptly thereby ensuring a smooth application process. Most importantly, non-profits with vigilant research processes in place have ample time to prepare and deliver their proposals in a timely fashion.
Some sources of government RFPs include www.grants.gov/ and the www.federalregister.gov/ . The Grantsmanship Center is an equally good source of RFPs' from Foundations.
Adequately preparing and researching appropriate resources for RFPs' will result in the identification of funding opportunities for Non-profit programs.
Written By Sherita N Brace
Sherita N Brace is an International Development Professional and a Blogger. She serves as a Consultant to non-profits and provides grant writing services, program planning services and communications services.
1. Basics of RFPs. Retrieved July 24, 2017 from https://www.thebalance.com/the-basics-of-rfps-requests-for-proposals-2502484
-2. What is a RFP, where to find RFPs, and are RFPs Relevant ? Retrieved July 24, 2017http://www.confluentforms.com/2013/05/requests-for-proposals-rfp.html
five reasons why non-profits should incorporate social media as part of their communications strategyRead Now
five reasons why non-profits should incorporate social media as part of their communications strategy
Social media is now ubiquitous and shouldn't be ignored. Incorporating an effective social media strategy will benefit non-profits in the long term and short term. Five compelling reasons why social media ought to be included in a communications strategy are:
1. Immediate access to Constituents:
A non-profits constituents, stakeholders and support base can be provided with immediate updates on programs, reports, activities etcetera through social media. Most individuals access social media on a daily basis. As a result, providing updates through social media is a quick way of sharing information.
2. Social Media is Ubiquitous
Social media is now part and parcel of modern life. People tend to use social media for informational purposes, entertainment purposes among others. By incorporating social media into its' communication strategy, a non-profit stands to reach wider audiences which in turn generates awareness for its' programs.
3. Social Media is Cost-Effective
Non-profits make tough financial decisions regularly. Marketing and advertising efforts can be expensive and leave a dent on budgets. For instance, generating publicity for an event by printing out 100's of flyers is not only expensive but can fail to achieve the desired goal. This is due to the fact that most of these flyers often end up in the garbage bin. Yet, there is a more cost effective and environmentally friendly way of creating publicity for an event without resorting to paper flyers. This equally effective medium is Social media. Thus, electronic flyers can be created and shared with the general public in a more rapid and cost-effective manner.
4. Improved Search Engine Rankings
A good search engine ranking will enable a non-profit to capture substantial traffic on the internet. For a non-profit, this means that it can be discovered by potential donors and individuals interested in its' mission! The criteria for search engine ranking is always changing. For instance, in recent times, it is simply not enough to blog regularly and use relevant meta tags. Google currently considers other factors such as social media engagement.
Therefore, a non-profit with wider following and engagement is deemed as more credible by search engines compared to a non-profit that doesn't have a social media presence. Consequently, a non-profit with social media engagement earns improved search engine rankings.
5. Effective Brand Insights:
Through Social Listening(process of monitoring digital conversations to understand what customers are saying about a brand and industry online - TrackMaven), a non-profit can gain insights on brand and program perceptions held by its' supporters. In essence, each time a non-profit posts on social media, it can analyze comments as a means of having first hand views on what its' supporters/stakeholders are thinking. A non-profit can also assess the kind of programs that generate the most interests by segmenting content syndication lists. Findings from this exercise can be incorporated into the planning of programs.
Social media is essential to a non-profits communications strategy and should be prioritized. Spending five to six hours weekly on social media branding will result in immense benefits for a non-profit.
Written By Sherita N Brace
Sherita N Brace is an International Development Professional. She serves as a Consultant to Non-Profits and provides grant writing services, program planning services and communications services.
Program Management Tips for Non-Profits
Non-profits differ from corporations due to their mission-driven outlook. Yet, in order for non-profits to be successful, strong program management skills is required. Key components of program management for non-profits encompasses Developing, Planning, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation.
This step is essential and usually consists of a brainstorming session followed by consensus between the project team regarding the objectives of the program. Some methodologies such as SWOT Analysis and Stakeholder Mapping are essential and ought to be utilized during this phase.
During the planning phase, the process for implementing the project is streamlined. Factors such as the skill set required for implementing the project, the timeline, budget, milestones and outcomes are also taken into consideration. Using an action planning chart during this stage will facilitate the attainment of positive results.
This is the point where tangible output can be realized. Knowledge Transfer is crucial at this point as well as regular meetings with team members. An open mind and strong people skills will come in handy at this point too. With strong people skills, the team leader can strengthen relationships and listen closely to suggestions that may be provided during the execution of the project. Some suggestions that can be of immense benefit to the project might otherwise be missed if the the Project leader has poor people skills.
Monitoring and Evaluation:
At this stage, it is important to develop a monitoring framework . This will help in tracking the progress of the project and ensure that goals are achieved in a timely fashion.
Evaluating the project after it has concluded will provide stakeholders with information on the lessons learnt from the project. Ultimately, information gathered at this stage can be factored into the next project.
Written By Sherita N Brace
Sherita N Brace is an International Development Professional and a Blogger. She serves as a Consultant to Non-Profits and provides grant writing services, program planning services and communications services.
1. Practical Project Management for Agile Non-Profits, Karen R.J. White, Pamela Puleo, 2013, Maven House Press.
2. Project Management. Retrieved July 9, 2017 from