Good morning, October!
I am ready to see some illuminated pumpkins (plus a 1000-pound pumpkin or two!) and then to start thinking about our Thanksgiving meal preparation! This is truly the best time of the year; mostly because I have a ton of sweaters. ☺
Enough about my wardrobe and on to some hopefully helpful grant writing information.
Today we are going to talk about mission statements. Without a strong mission statement that gets your goals and intended impact across clearly and succinctly, you will not have many opportunities to reach all of your nonprofit goals including: grants, private donations, volunteers, or staff who are aligned with your mission. In other words, think about how to communicate: why are you here? What are you here to do for your community?
Many people make the mistake of writing mission statements that are far too broad and don’t really say anything, or are far too narrow and leave one wondering how many people will be impacted by the work. You want your mission statement to be specific, realistic, and inspiring. You want it to stand out in the crowd! Remember my mantra, it IS a competition!
Before you put pen to paper to write your mission statement, consider what your goal is; and then use these four questions to guide you towards a basic structure:
- What does your organization do?
- How does it do it?
- Who does it do it for?
- How will this have a positive impact?
Ensure that you get some outside perspective on your mission statement from those who have nothing to do with your organization. When they read your statement can they immediately tell you what you are striving to do and what your projected impact will be? Again, remember my rule that an 8th grader should be able to understand it and get excited about it. If readers are confused about what you are stating, it might not be quite mission ready.
Do you need a grant for any of these unique opportunities?
- Adopt a Shelter Dog Month (grants for animals).
- Breast Cancer Awareness Month (grants for cancer awareness, grants for cancer research).
- Domestic Violence Awareness Month (grants to help prevent domestic violence, grants to provide assistance to victims, grants to create awareness).
- October 9 – Fire Prevention Day (grants for firefighters, grants for first responders).
- October 25 – World Opera Day (grants for the arts).
Back to our mission statements! When applying for a grant, include your nonprofit’s mission statement, most often found in the organizational background section, and make sure it is 100% aligned with your proposed project or plan.
Grant reporting to each Foundation at the end of your grant cycle is very important. It shows each Foundation how you used the hard-earned funding you received and how you can hopefully turn that grant into even more next year. Track any data and numbers that convey your story throughout the year for the report; take pictures of programs and events if possible; and most importantly, be completely accurate and honest with your report!
When writing, take the perspective of your busy and perhaps tired reviewers. The people reviewing your applications are reviewing a lot of them; they are doing a lot of detailed reading. You need to make your words come alive for them. The key to success here is to make your application jump off the page like an elephant in a tutu with a fiery hula hoop.
2024 AmeriCorps State and National Funding Priorities
AmeriCorps State and National seeks to prioritize the investment of national service resources in the following areas:
- Organizations leading service in communities with concentrated poverty, rural communities, tribal communities, and those organizations serving historically underrepresented and underserved individuals, including but not limited to communities of color, immigrants and refugees, people with disabilities, people who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, people with arrest and/or conviction records, and religious minorities;
- Evidence-based interventions on the AmeriCorps Evidence Exchange that are assessed as having Moderate or Strong evidence. Please note that many of these interventions have demonstrated effectiveness in improving outcomes for individuals living in underserved communities and that the agency has committed resources to supporting grantees seeking to replicate and evaluate these interventions in similar communities;
- Veterans and Military Families, Caregivers, and Survivors – a program model that improves the quality of life of veterans and improves the well-being of military and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors;
- Faith-based organizations;
- Programs that provide additional benefits to AmeriCorps members aimed at enhancing member experience and bolstering member recruitment and retention such as paying more than the minimum living allowance, transportation, housing, food, etc.;
- Programs that create workforce pathways for AmeriCorps members, including deliberate training, certifications, and hiring preferences or support;
- Environmental Stewardship, including supporting communities to become more resilient through measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve land and water, increase renewable energy use and improve at-risk ecosystems, especially in underserved households and communities;
- Community-based programs that enhance and expand services to second chance youth and/or engage those youth as AmeriCorps members;
- Programs that support civic bridgebuilding programs and projects to reduce polarization and community divisions; and providing training in civic bridgebuilding skills and techniques to AmeriCorps members;
- Programs focused on implementing or expanding access to high-quality early learning and those that prepare AmeriCorps members to enter early learning careers.
This is an exciting, inclusive grant opportunity and it is due: January 4, 2024!
Call or email us at email@example.com for assistance!
That is all for now! Stay hopeful and passionate!