Fundraising in a Nonprofit World

Fundraising is an interesting topic. Trends change by the minute, sometimes by the second. As a result of being on A and A Township VFD INC., in Eminence, Indiana, I have learned quickly how word of mouth and social media presence has helped raise dollars for our efforts.  Facebook is helpful. When we hold an event, promoting it on social media helps to create more interest. We advertise our events and events in the community on our Facebook page and stakeholders help share the information. In our community, word of mouth is equal to a field fire on a windy day. Information spreads and it spreads quickly. We work hard to have a good relationship within our community and surrounding communities, as we never know who will need assistance.

Research has become an essential part of my daily life.  It involves searching for grant funding or ways to create revenue for the two fire departments I serve, the Eminence Community School Corporation, and the Eminence Community Festival. On social media and other platforms, free grant writing videos have been extremely helpful.  The education has helped me draw attention to our projects.  I’ve learned a lot by taking the time to thoroughly read and understand the grant application, funder’s guidelines, and educating myself with previous grant narratives who successfully received funding. I’ve found that successful collaboration is possible with grantors by asking questions. We have also found grants through networking with those in our field and those familiar with funding resources.  These efforts are how the Eminence community has found funding to improve our community and take action.

The best grant writing strategy has a detailed project narrative, a storytelling component, and the impact the project creates for stakeholders. Regardless of the outcome, always remember the effort you put into your grant proposal will be affect the goals of successful fundraising. My favorite moto is the worst someone can say is ‘no’ and to try again. Asking for help and informing funders of what you need is the hardest thing to do.  Having a vision and selling that vision are not always easy. At the end of the process, if you did your best, were truthful, and crossed the finish line you were successful.

I would encourage organizations to review the unsubmitted proposal multiple times by a variety of individuals.  By having others review the grant proposal, the best version of the narrative will be submitted. Spelling and grammar also influence heavily on the grantor’s evaluation of the proposal.  I’ve always appreciated feedback and a different perspective of my grant writing abilities.

As a volunteer for the Eminence Community, I am always looking for a way to improve our hardworking and dedicated community. Between the fire department, the school system where I substitute, and the Eminence Community Harvest Festival, my goal is to make each day better for those I encounter. Life is short, tomorrow is not promised, and Lord knows being kind is all we can do.

Devoney Collins is a dedicated volunteer firefighter with A and A Township.

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