“Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.” Martin Luther King, Jr. Most of us are intrigued by dreams. On that rare occasion when we remember a dream had while sleeping, we might ask ourselves, “What was that all about!?” or “Is there a message in my dream for me to act on?” Then, there are “goal dreams,” which are light years ahead of night dreams or even day dreams. Goal dreams occur when we are awake. They might come to us while sipping our morning coffee, driving in traffic, listening to a tragic news story or any number of other ways. Goal dreams get our juices flowing. “If I do this, I can change the world!”
I'm still working on becoming a 501(c)(3). Is there any way that I can still apply for grants from organizations?
Almost a Nonprofit
Dear Almost a Nonprofit:
Your question is a good one and it’s one that we see often at GrantWatch.com. You found a great grant opportunity for your organization, but the grant is only being offered to 501(c)(3)s. You haven’t quite gotten there yet. Is there still room to be hopeful?
The answer, in short, is yes.
As you are probably aware, a 501(c) organization is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization in the United States. There are 29 ways to receive exemption status under the Internal Revenue Code section 501(c), including the 501(c)(3). The 501(c)(3) determination is limited to organizations whose activities relate to religion, education, charity, science, literacy, testing for public safety, fostering of national or international amateur sports competitions or prevention of cruelty to children or animals.
Once an organization establishes its 501(c)(3) status, its donors can claim tax deductions, provided their contributions meets certain regulations.
Before you receive 501(c)(3) status, there are ways in which you can still apply for grants that will not turn off funders who want the IRS tax deduction. Fiscal sponsorship might be a good choice for you right now. By joining a fiscal sponsorship, you may qualify for more funding opportunities and be able to start your project sooner.
According to the National Network of Fiscal Sponsorship, this process refers to the practice of legal, nonprofit organizations offering their tax-exempt status to groups with similar missions as the nonprofit. It typically involves a fee-based, contractual arrangement between the organization which does not yet have 501(c) status and the established nonprofit. This will give you time to continue working on getting your own nonprofit status, your 501(c)(3).
Fiscal sponsorship has become more common in the past decade as there are many advantages to this arrangement. However, it is important for both parties to understand the exact terms of this set-up before an agreement is final. An organization that is joining a fiscal sponsorship must understand that its project will be controlled by its sponsor(s), who may be held legally responsible for the operations and activities of the venture. Therefore, it is wise to weigh the benefits of immediate tax-exempt status and administrative support against the lack of autonomy and the fees typically charged by the fiscal sponsor.
To find grant opportunities related to fiscal sponsorships for which you may be eligible to apply, search for "fiscal sponsor" at www.GrantWatch.com in the search box on the right side of the page.
On behalf of GrantWatch.com, I wish you success in receiving your 501(c)(3) status, and in funding all of your worthy projects.
All the best to you and yours,
Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Guide to Strengthening and Sustaining Organizational Achievement by John M. Bryson is a valuable resource for leaders and professionals in nonprofit and public management. This book offers sound advice for strategic planning and management. It is a solid choice for clarifying the process of successful strategic planning.
Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability by Jeanne Bell, Jan Masaoka and Steve Zimmerman is considered a “must read” for every nonprofit. It offers practical and sometimes revelatory advice for developing your own unique path to sustainability without compromising your mission. This book will empower your nonprofit towards financial viability for a long time.
Winning Grants Step by Step: The Complete Workbook for Planning, Developing and Writing Successful Proposals, 4th Edition by Tori O'Neal-McElrath is a great resource. It covers all the steps you’ll need to gain the confidence of funders. Offering hands-on tools and practical advice, this is the book to help you perfect your applications in order to get the grants you require for your nonprofit success.
In honor of Employee Appreciation Day, GrantWatch.com launched a contest last week. Participation has been pouring in and we are so touched by the responses and admiration that people have for their fellow staff.
Common terms used to describe beloved team members were; dedicated, selfless, positive attitude, passionate, encouraging, tireless, going beyond the call of duty, wearer of many hats, compassionate, committed and reliable. Clearly, our nonprofit workers are a unique breed of special people.
We thought that you might appreciate reading a few of the beautiful posts as much as we did. So, we have posted them below.
The contest is continuing for just a few more days. All entries must be in by March 6, 2015, Employee Appreciation Day. The winning organization will receive a FREE annual subscription to GrantWatch.com valued at $199 and the star employee will get a $75 Starbucks gift card!
You can still nominate a valued worker by clicking: https://apps.facebook.com/my-contests/ukbuea
And, now, for a few heartfelt responses (edited for the sake of space):
Christine Castles from Foundation for the Arts and Trauma, Connecticut wrote:“Dear Miss Kendra, All our staff, students, teachers, and administrators cannot thank you enough. Your name says it all: Kind, Enthusiastic, Nice, Devoted, Responsible, Accountable!… you are totally a remarkable woman! Your "List" is phenomenal and all who use it know first-hand how children should be treated, making for a more peaceful world, whose goal is to totally eradicate child maltreatment. Your personal response in penning thousands of letters each year to the children who write you is beyond comprehension. Your dedication to all the thousands of children we serve in Connecticut is a testament to your amazing character, something so rare, yet so necessary in these times.”
Julie Weaver from Amboy Elementary, Arkansas wrote: “Elena Reyes-Lovins is constantly going above and beyond to make learning exciting and hands-on. She shares her knowledge and expertise with the staff and helps new teachers learn how to write grants. She is passionate and is always seeking new opportunities to grow professionally. She is an amazing educator!”
Christine Randall from Philadelphia Senior Citizens Resource Center (PSCRC), Pennsylvania wrote: “Jacqueline Mack, our office manager trainee is the person that I take great pride in nominating for your "Employee Appreciation Day" contest. We thank her for the countless extra steps she takes to make sure that our tasks are complete….She brings us that "Let's Get it Down" attitude each and every day. She encourages all of us with her strength, faith and belief in God. Even when some tasks are difficult for her she still gives her very best and encourages the other staff members, trainees and volunteers to do the same. To be honest, it is truly because of Jacqueline's cheerleading of our organization that makes us all be mindful during difficult moments why we do what we do for senior citizens, their families and caregivers.”
Kelli Czaykowsky from Friends of refugees providing education and empowerment, Georgia wrote: “Allen Clark of FREE is always willing to go on short notice for anything that we need. If a mother calls and her baby does not have any diapers he will bring diapers to the mother. If the family is hungry and in need of food, he will go purchase food and take it to them. He is always picking up donated furniture, clothes, and other items sometimes the same day that people will call. He never says no when a person is in need and is always the first to be there to help a refugee. If he sees a child with no shoes he will go to the Goodwill and buy shoes for that child. He has given out hundreds of bicycles for the kids and then he will go and fix the bicycles as they start to breakdown.”
Congratulations to all of the nominees posted above and those we have not yet had a chance to feature. You are already winners in the eyes of so many!
(All entries are entered into the contest and one winner will be selected at random on March 6, 2015. Good Luck!)