New fellowship helps nonprofits improve grant application skills

March 4, 2018

With demand for services increasing, nonprofit leaders find that traditional sources of funding from foundations are not growing at the same pace. Application requirements for grants are changing, with a greater scrutiny on program effectiveness, financial sustainability and clarity of strategy.

To help nonprofits gain the skills necessary to compete for foundation dollars, the CenDel Foundation and the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement are teaming up to provide a nonprofit fundraising excellence fellowship. Over three months, participating nonprofits will engage in three workshops built around financial management, outcome development and grant writing. The agencies will also have access to a grant writer to provide coaching support or assist in writing grants.

"We have some incredible nonprofits doing very important work, but their success in sustaining or growing their programs relies on their ability to compete for grant dollars,” said CenDel Board Director Kathleen Hawkins.

Sheila Bravo, DANA president and CEO, said, "Nonprofits must articulate their effectiveness not only in managing donor resources, but also in mission delivery. We hear from our philanthropy partners that communicating outcomes and program financials is no longer an option when considering grant awards."

The six organizations participating in this year's fellowship are Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity, Arise, Hope Medical Clinic, Mom's House, Minds Over Matter Initiative and Uplift the Community. The cost of this program was underwritten by Faw Casson, with additional support from Del-One Federal Credit Union, Merrill Lynch  and Delaware Electric Cooperative.

The first workshop on financial management was led by Jonathan Moll of Belfint, Lyons and Shuman. He has served as a training partner with DANA for more than 10 years. Participants gained insights on how to track and account for donor-restricted and unrestricted funds, setting up the chart of accounts by program area and key considerations for completing the IRS 990 or 990 EZ tax form.

The CenDel Foundation is a charitable organization whose purpose is to foster philanthropy in central Delaware and provide for the betterment of its citizens. The Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement is a membership nonprofit agency whose mission is to strengthen, enhance, and advance nonprofits and the sector in Delaware through advocacy, training, capacity building and research.