Tip: Don’t add ongoing expenses to one-time funds

Thank you, Captain Obvious. This might sound like common sense advice but you would be surprised how often organizations receive a large sum of one-time funding and load it up with expenses that will outlive the money. Full-time personnel, cell phones and equipment requiring ongoing maintenance are just a few examples of expenses that can put your budget in a pinch once the funding runs out.

One-time funds are better suited for staff professional development, hosting a conference/workshop/symposium, preparing communications materials, working on policy papers, replacing program supplies and replacing obsolete technology. There will always be a temptation to hire that full-time position you need and to worry about the funding down the road; that doesn’t always work out. If the position is truly critical, find a stable source of funding at the outset.

Need help with your budgets? Reach out to us. We’re ready to assist.

Diversify your funding

Reliance on a single funding source can spell disaster for nonprofit organizations. A recent New York Times article perfectly illustrates this point. Popular programs one year can be cast aside the next. Politicians are fickle people; they want to fund their own pet projects, not the previous office holder’s projects.

We recommend nonprofits limit their federal funding to no more than one-third of revenues. Any more than one-third exposes organizations to unnecessary risk. If your organization is too reliant upon a single funding source, contact us and let us help you diversify.

Accepting new clients

The Grant Doctors is always looking for new client-partners. If your organization needs help applying for or managing federal grants, let us compete for your business. We have an extensive catalog of services to accommodate all needs and all budgets. We accept engagements of any duration: one hour (for technical assistance, document review, etc.); one project (applying for a grant, creating a sustainability plan, developing an indirect cost rate, fixing a grant management issue, staff training/coaching, etc.); one year (for ongoing assistance); or anything in-between. Visit our website to see all our services, then call or Email us for a price quote. We look forward to partnering with you!

Federal grants. Are you ready?

Federal grants are an excellent option for nonprofit organizations; they should represent a portion of every nonprofit’s annual revenue. Too often, however, many nonprofits go after federal grants before they have the capacity to manage the awards. Regulations involved with managing federal grants are more complicated than state and local government grants, private/corporate grants and private donations. Without the proper systems to manage federal funds, the consequences for a nonprofit can be severe: wasted funds, theft, audit findings, repayments, etc.

The Grant Doctors developed a free assessment tool to measure a nonprofit organization’s readiness to apply for, and manage, federal grants by looking at 24 indicators of organizational maturity across four major domains:

  • Governance
  • Organizational capacity
  • Policies, systems and controls
  • External environment

The 24 indicators are scored using a five-point scale: Exceptional (5), Very Good (4), Satisfactory (3), Developing (2), and Beginning (1).

It’s 100% free. Click here to download the assessment (a .pdf file). It’s a perfect discussion item for your next board meeting or planning retreat.