Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Holidays & 1st workshop of January details


As the end of year approaches and everyone is getting ready for the holidays season. We'd like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. May next year bring everyone more opportunities to grow and learn.

A&BC will be hosting a workshop in January focusing on building partnerships with corporations. See below  for details.

Upcoming Workshop:

Building Corporate Partnerships
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Columbia College Chicago
623 S Wabash, Hokin Hall, Rm 109
Click here to register and for more information

What you'll learn:

  • Demystify the process of partnering with the private sector
  • Develop a prospect list of companies to target
  • Communicate the value of an arts partnership
  • Design a compelling partnership package

Sylvia Alston, Principal & Owner, Write2Win Communications
Beth Gallagher, Director of Community Involvement, Aon
Megan Smith, Director of Corporate Relations, Steppenwolf Theatre
Ruth Meberg Stine, Development Director - Special Projects, Chicago Human Festival

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Looking for something different to do this weekend?

DanceWorks Chicago invites public to observe audition

DanceWorks Chicago welcomes the general public, FREE of CHARGE, to observe a professional dance audition – an intriguing part of the dance world that is usually off-limits to the public. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to view the search for exceptional young dancers to join the DWC family. 
DATE: Saturday, December 15, 2012

TIME: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. Audience members may come and go throughout the day.

PLACE: The Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago (on stage)

WHAT YOU WILL SEE: The audition will be conducted by Artistic Director Julie Nakagawa. Ballet class with eliminations will be followed by DWC repertoire. DWC representatives will be available that afternoon to answer questions about what’s happening on stage. We hope you will come away with a deeper understanding and fresh curiosity about dance that will inspire your continued relationship with dance artists and their art.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

End of Year Appeals article and Upcoming FREE webinar

Good morning SMARTies,

Can you believe it's December already? With the end of year approaching, nonprofits start thinking about their end of year appeals. I found this article that may useful; the article lists with detail five bad habits nonprofit should avoid when writing their end-of-year appeals.

Also, there's a FREE upcoming webinar about reporting to donors from newsletters to annual reports. Donor reaserch has found that donors want to hear what you did with their first gift before they are likely to give a second time. Translation: you need to figure out ways to report back to your donors throughout the year. While annual reports are important they're just one piece of the communication puzzle.

Monday, December 17, 2012
10:00 - 10:45 a.m.
Click here to register

What you'll learn:
  • What donors say they want to get back from the charities they support
  • Easy ways to integrate results and success stories into your existing donor communications
  • Sample wording that gives donors credit for your results, so they feel like part of the team.
Presenter: Kiki Leroux Miller.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Quick Question: Anyone know a bookkeeper skilled in Quickbooks?

Hey SMARTies,

We've received a request from one of your peer grantees about a recommendation for a bookkeeper who is skilled in Quickbooks. Do you work with anyone who you would recommend? Please let us know. You can comment on the blog or email Katie at

Thank you!

FREE Webinars: 11/27 Google Analytics and 11/28 Data Driven Decision Making

We hope everyone had a great holiday! We want to remind everyone of today's webinar, 11/27: Google Analytics for the Enthusiastic Beginner. The webinar is FREE. In this session you'll receive a FREE web analytics tool that shows you how visitors are using your site. Click here for more information and to register. 

Also,  tomorrow's workshop 11/28: Data Driven Decision Making for Nonprofits. This webinar is also FREE. In this session you'll learn the 12 stages of a driven process and show a full illustration of a project. Participant will also learn how to put together a simple one-page project planning brief. Click here for more information and to register. 

Stay connected with the blog as we'll post more information regarding webinars and workshops that are relevant to your goals. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Webinar: 11/28 Data Driven Decision Making

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
12:00 pm - 1:00pm

Have you been asked to conduct a survey for your organization at some point? If so, a survey is only one piece of a data-driven strategic process, which really begins with articulation of the core issues and ends with an assessment of how the strategy worked.

What you'll learn:
  • Learn the 12 stages of a data-driven decision-making process.
  • Understand the basics of when to choose different methodologies such as surveys, focus groups, interviews, and more.
  • Practice developing a one-page project planning brief.
Presenter: Rena Cheskis-Gold, demographer and founding principal researcher at Demographic Perspectives, LLC, a consulting firm that provides mission-driven demographic, survey, policy and market research services for non-profits.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

DanceWorks Chicago's New Avenues/Nuevas Aventuras

New Avenues/Nuevas Aventuras, DanceWorks Chicago's three-week cultural exchange project generously sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation's International Connections Fund, is heading for a finale this weekend after another action-packed week.

Last Sunday, DWC welcomed 124 dancers from across Mexico to our first-ever international audition, hosted by our partner, Escuela Nacional de Danza Clasica y Contemporanea. EXCITING! The focus of Week #3, however, is our collaboration with the Carlos Chavez Youth Orchestra on Magical Movements, a one-hour orchestral program developed in collaboration with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to be performed at two different venues this weekend. Speaking of magical movements, we are getting the full experience here in Mexico with earthquake #2 earlier this week. Always moving!?

We are grateful for the opportunity to connect with artists and audiences across borders. Cultural exchange makes us all more knowledgeable citizens of the world, better able to contribute to a richer environment.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

11/14: Nonprofit Resource Fair

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
4:00 - 7:00 pm
Holiday-Inn - Mart Plaza (Sun Times Building, 15th Floor)

Join Young Professionals of Chicago and over 30 Chicago-area vendors, all of which are willing to work with non-profit organizations (e.g. budget, structure, etc).Do not miss this opportunity to network with other professionals and vendors interested in working with nonprofit organizations. Vendors will include printing service providers, apparel providers, caterers, event/fundraiser planners, graphic designers, accountants, consultants and more!

The event is FREE for non-profit professionals! All attendees will receive one drink (wine or beer) and appetizers.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hola from Mexico City!

Just completed Week #2 of our cultural exchange project: New Avenues/Nuevas Aventuras. Follow us on Facebook to catch us in the studio, out on the town, and making new friends in Mexico City!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Webinar: 11/27: Google Analytics for the Enthusiastic Beginner

November 27, 2012 
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Join us for this overview of Google Analytics, a FREE web analytics tool that shows you how visitors are using your site. We will start from the very beginning and hit the highlights. This overview is for beginners and executives that want to know the value of the tool but not necessarily how to operate it!

What you'll learn:
  • How to define the business objective for your website
  • How easy it is to create a simple report and email it to your colleagues
  • How to find the most and least popular pages on your website
  • How Google Analytics is able to capture data on your visitors which may change the way you surf the web.
Presenter: Bonnie Massa, founder and president of Chicago-based Massa & Company, Inc

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hola from DanceWorks Chicago!

DanceWorks Chicago will be on a plane to Mexico City tomorrow to embark on a three-week adventure, New Avenues/Nuevas Aventuras, supported by the International Connections Fund of the MacArthur Foundation. Cultural exchange makes us all more knowledgeable citizens of the world, better able to contribute to a richer environment. True to our vision for DanceWorks Chicago, both the process and the product will be valued. The exchange of ideas, whether officially through the work or unofficially as visitors in each other’s land, will be the catalyst for continued individual and collective growth, development, and expansion. 

Hasta la vista!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Webinars and more webinars

SMARTies, we hope you're enjoying the Fall season! There are many great upcoming webinars and workshops.

Donor's Forum is hosting a FREE workshop where you'll receive a tutorial on using prospecting databases, which you can access free in the library. You'll also receive an overview of the free reference collection of books and resources on grantwriting, individual fundraising, and nonprofit management, leadership and governance. 

When: Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Time: 12:00 am - 1:15 pm
Where: Donors Forum Library, 208 S. LaSalle, Suite 1540

Other Events of Interest
Axelson Center Fall Workshop and Webinar Series

Remember: Nonprofits with an operating budget of $1 million or less receive a 20% discount on Full-Day ($150) Half-Day ($75) workshops, and webinars ($50).

Suggested Webinar:
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 from 12pm-1pm
Making the Ask: The Basic of Major Gift Solicitations
Mary Morten, President, Morten Group

This webinar will provide participants with an overview of how to make a successful major gift solicitation, including structuring the meeting (who should attend, what on the agenda, flow, etc); building rapport; turning the conversation around (how to overcome objections) and making the ask

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Webinar: Detonating Your Nonprofit Donor Data for Explosive Results

Thursday, November 1, 2012
12:00 p.m - 1:30 p.m
Click to register

How well do you know your donors and volunteers? When they talk about your organization what do they say? Why have they been giving for years? How did your donors and volunteers first come to you? Mail? Email? An event? A referral from a friend?

If you haven't considered these questions, you're not alone. Many organizations are not fully leveraging their data tracking system to support their individual fundraising program. In fact, a lot of organizations don't even realize this is something they can and should be doing.

Whether you're using a sophisticated donor database or a simple spreadsheet, this nonprofit webinar will show you how to view and analyze your most important data so you can start using it to raise more money and generate better results year-over-year. 

What you'll learn:

  • Basic reminders about the fundamental metrics to track & why you should track them
  • How to more effectively use your donor tracking data including: from 'how to calculate your donor retention & acquisition rates' to 'why to integrate all of your data to learn the real story.'
Webinar Includes:
  1. The slides from the webinar
  2. An Annual Data Review Checklist
  3. A step-by-step instruction sheet for figuring out acquisition & retention rates

Presented by Lori L. Jacobwith, who brings 25 years of professional speaking, coaching and training to her work with social profit organizations.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Webinar: R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Your Data

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2:00-3:00 p.m.
Click here to Register

Data = Your Donors = Revenue = Ability to Support Your Programs

The top issue for nonprofits today is prioritizing their data needs: customizing, integrating, cleaning, and management. In order to develop a strong fundraising plan, leadership needs to first take an analysis of your current database structures - from within.
  • How are your donors being tracked?
  • What is being tracked?
  • What is being stored?
  • How is it being managed?
  • Is your data handled manually or automated?
  • Is it helping your raise money?
We'll discuss the different ways to analyze and manage your data to ensure your fundraising team has the insight needed to construct targeted, insightful, and successful fundraising campaigns. Although your database is technology-based the output is fundraising-based.

Takeaways: You'll learn what R.E.S.P.E.C.T. really means:
  • Steps to ensure your data is managed properly and consistently through staff changes
  • Hos to maintain data integrity
  • Ways data can enhance your fundraising plans
Presenter: Margaux Pagan, director of strategic fundraising at DonorFuse, a consulting group specializing in fusing innovative technologies with strategic fundraising to help nonprofit organizations grow their mission,

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Workshop: Annual Appeals & Digital Campaigns

Are starting to think about end of year asks? Have you been thinking about digital campaigns? Then this workshop if for you! 

The last workshop of the year will focus on how to best utilize Email Marketing tools and Content Strategy techniques to develop effective Fundraising campaigns and End of Year asks. You will hear from an expert in digital media as well as from a panel of arts professionals who have development experience. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012. 5:30-8:00pm
Columbia College Chicago
623 S Wabash, Hokin Hall, Rm 109

Topics will include:
  • How to construct an effective e-mail: content and design
  • When and how to send emails
  • How to measure impact and improve results
  • The Who, What, How and Where of content strategy
Andy Crestodina, Strategic Director, Orbit Media Studios

Kaitlin Allen, Director of Individual Giving, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Amanda Delheimer Dimond, Artistic & Executive Director, 2nd Story
Bob Fiedler, Executive Director, People's Music School

Dance Chance: Redux

Join DanceWorks Chicago, in partnership with the Ruth Page Center, for Dance Chance: Redux 4.0, one-night-only at Northeastern Illinois University Auditorium at 8pm this Friday, October 5.

Inspired by the concept of open-mic night, Dance Chance has been introducing talented young choreographers to audiences throughout Chicago in this innovative monthly program designed to offer opportunities for choreographers to show their work informally, create a forum for dialogue among artists, and build audience for dance. Now in its fourth year, Dance Chance: Redux 4.0 brings the best of these choreographers to Northeastern in a program where these dance artists can take their work to the next level of development.

Tickets: $15-$20. Support of new work by young choreographers: priceless! Join the journey on Facebook.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Webinar: LinkedIn Board Connect for Nonprofits

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
12:00 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.
Register to attend the webinar!

With more than 175 million members, LinkedIn is ideally suited to help nonprofits leverage their board's network to search, find, and connect with prospective board members, donors and volunteers.

What you'll learn at the webinar:

  • Why LinkedIn is a powerful recruitment platform for nonprofits
  • How to get started with the LinkedIn Board Connect program (including Talent Finder promotion code)
  • Tips on how to quickly find your next board member

Note: After attending the webcast, you'll be given free access to a Talent Finder account ($1,000 annual value) as well as exclusive access to the LinkedIn Board Connect group.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Practicing & Teaching Art: Balancing the Teaching Artist Career

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm

National Museum of Mexican Art
1852 W. 19th St.
Chicago, IL 60608

For over a decade, teaching artists have been an integral part of the National Museum of Mexican Art’s art education team, delicately balancing their artistic careers and their roles as instructors teaching and empowering children to expand their knowledge and express their thinking and creativity through the beautiful language of the arts.

Through this engaging panel discussion, Chicago teaching artists Roxanne De Luca (visual arts), Ignacio Guevara (video, multi-media, theater), Anabel Tapia (dance), Victoria Martinez (silkscreen, fabric arts), and Chema Skandal (illustration, comic art) will share stories and insights of their experience as practicing artists juggling their career as artist and teacher.

Moderated by Nicole Marroquin, Assistant Professor in Art Education of the Art Institute of Chicago and practicing artist, this unique panel will explore the role and impact of the teaching artist in a community program and how teaching and creating art influence each other. Question and answer session will follow. Light refreshments will be served.

Suggested donation of $5

To RSVP call: 312.433.3950

Workshop: Working with Donors to Cultivate Major Gifts

Polish the skills you need to take your individual fundraising strategies to the next level and secure major donors - Thursday, October 4, 2012.

Register now for Individual Giving 201, an advanced - level Donors Forum workshop that will help you refine your individual fundraising strategies and secure major donors. 

A major gift is a big gift - how big depends on your organization and the state of your fundraising efforts. In this half-day, advanced - level course, you'll polish the skills required to take your individual fundraising strategies to the next level. We'll help you define what a major gift means to your organization and cover the strategies you need to secure them.

Individual Giving 201: A Major Necessity - Working with Donors to Cultivate Major Gifts
Thursday, October 4, 2012
9:00am - 12:00pm
Donors Forum Large Conference Room
208 S. LaSalle, Suite 1535

$90 for organizations that belong to Donors Forum
$150 standard fee

Register Now!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

LinkedIn Board Connect!

Exciting news, as announced at BoardSource Leadership Forum, LinkedIn has launched LinkedIn Board Connect!!!

LinkedIn is giving nonprofit leaders like you the tools you need to leverage your own networks to find the right skilled professionals to join your board. The program includes:

- Free access to Talent Finder, one of LinkedIn's premium accounts
- Access to an exclusive educational webcast
- An invitation to join the Board Connect Group on LinkedIn

To learn more and sign up for the program, please visit the LinkedIn for Nonprofit resource page.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Enjoyed seeing everyone at yesterday's meeting...and loved being in the beautiful new space!
Happy weekend! Savor the beauty in the transition of seasons.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Reminder: Sept. 21st Panel & Proposal Review Info

Smart Growth Grantees:

We will be scheduling site visits on September 21st when you come to the panel discussion.  Come prepared with a couple of dates that will work for you and any staff involved.  Site visits will be held during late September and early October at the Trust.

During the proposal review process Vanessa Johnson will be coordinating the site visits. You will receive a confirmation email from her after the panel discussion.

She will also review board, staff and participant demographics in your proposals and contact you as needed.  If you have any questions or updates on your organization’s demographics, feel free to contact Vanessa via email at:
I, Alma Rodriguez, will be reviewing the financials in your proposals.
If you have any questions or financial updates, contact me via email at:

I'll see you Friday!

FREE Webinar: Financial Roles for Non-Financial Staff

Another great webinar for everyone in a nonprofit, from the executive director to the receptionist, that has a role in financial management of the organization. Running a nonprofit is about more than just well-executed programmatic work; it is also about the organizational structures that need to be in place to help maintain financial sustainability.

When: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Cost: FREE
Register Here

What you'll learn:

  • Each staff member's financial role
  • Twelve ways every executive director should be involved in the organization's finances
  • Three things every receptionist should do
  • Helpful tips for trustees, program managers, fundraisers and administrators
About the Speaker: Paul Konigstein, is a Principal of Mission First Finance. He has over 20 years experience in as a controller and CFO at arts, culture, education and international development not for profits. Mission First Finance.

Free Webinar: Growing Your Nonprofit List

Are you tired of being the 'best kept secret' in town? If so, then this webinar is for you! It is possible to grow a larger - and more engaged - audience to help you advance your cause. In this webinar, we'll be covering both online and in-person strategies for getting the word out and increasing your list size.

When: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Time: 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Cost: FREE
Register Here

What you'll takeaway:

  • One often overlooked strategy to grow your list - just by making one minor change to something you're probably already doing
  • Ideas for getting your organization in the paper more often
  • Tips for getting the most out of the tree main social media platforms
  • The importance of partnerships for list building (and program impact)
About the speaker: Kirsten Bullock, CFRE, MBA is an author and nonprofit coach who works with entrepreneurial nonprofit leaders to help them involve more people in their organizations and raise the money they need. Bullock Counsulting, Inc.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Best wishes from DanceWorks Chicago

DWC is off and running in Season 6 having made our debut in Fashion's Night Out at Neiman Marcus/Northbrook, kicking off a new season of Dance Chance on Monday, and travelling to Michigan to represent dance in Chicago at Arts Midwest mid-week. Wishing everyone a wonderful start to your seasons. Hope to see some of you at the meeting on September 21st!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Webinar: Building Partnerships with Business

Employee Engagement and the Arts (The pARTnership Movement series)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
2:00pm - 3:00pm 

Even in the current economy, businesses are still searching for innovative ways to recruit and retain employees. Hear from businesses that recognize the arts can help solve these issues. Learn from the arts organizations and human resource managers who have successfully partnered for mutual success. 


Connie Valentine, President & CEO, Arts and Business Council of Greater Nashville
Laurie McIntosh, Director, Member Engagement, Society for Human Resources Management
Jeff Tetrick, CFO Pinnacol Assurance

Thursday, September 6, 2012

online form

250 characters for outcomes and measures?   I do appreciate the encouragement towards brevity, but 250 characters?   That's not even 2 tweets....

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

1st Meeting at CCT on 9/21

SMART Growth Grantees,

CCT has assembled an extraordinary panel of five Executive Directors from organizations representing each of the 5 phases of development. The panelists will address each of the 6 key management areas and how the role of the Executive Director changes over time as the organization evolves. There will be time for questions.

Phase 1 – Kendra Jorstad, Founder of JorsTAP Chicago (dance)

Phase 2 - Marcus Burks, Founder/Executive Director of Urban Aspirations (music/youth)
Phase 3 – Malik Gillani, Executive Director of Silk Road Rising (theatre) and SMART Growth “graduate”
Phase 4 – Jim Hirsch, Executive Director of the Chicago Sinfonietta (music)
Phase 5 – Gary Johnson, Executive Director of the Chicago History Museum

Friday, Sept. 21, 2012
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m
Chicago Community Trust Board Room (225 N. Michigan Ave. – 22 floor)

This session is highly recommended for Executive Directors.  Due to space limitations, we must limit the attendance to 2-3 people per SMART Growth group.  Our building security requires that everyone sends their RSVP to Vanessa Johnson ( 312-616-8000 ext. 174, so that you will be on the security list in the lobby.  Please bring photo ID.

Reminder: Year 2 Grant Proposal Due Soon!

Dear SMART Growth Grantees,

A quick reminder that your Year 2 grant  proposals are due to CCT on September 5, 2012.

Let us know if you have any questions. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

FREE Webinar: Intro to Silent Auctions: Raise More Funds with 5 Simple Changes

Thursday, September 13, 2012
2:00pm - 2:45pm
Register here

In this free 45-minute nonprofit training webinar, you'll get practical "how to" advice so you can transform your auction items into loads of money. Learn why a silent auction can't be silent, how to entice bidder wit disposable income, use of psychology to pull in bids among many more. Presented by the award-winning auctioneer and mentor to thousands of Auction Chairs, Sherry Truhlar.

Click here for more information and to register.

Donors and Digital Media: Lessons from the DonorGraphics Study

What does a donor-ideal communication strategy look like across demographics? Is there a correlation between preferred channel and actual donation behaviors? 

DonorGraphics is a national media usage study that measures communication preferences and behaviors of donors. The study highlights differences between the general U.S.A population and the active donor population to identify opportunities to effectively reach donors online. This digital landscape review is important to anyone curious about the shift to mobile communications (email, mobile, social media) and its relation to donations.

When: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Time: 1:00pm Central Time (11:00am Pacific Time) 
Price: $70 non-members/FREE to members

Participants will
  • Understand the differences in digital communication use across demographics
  • Understand the most useful communications channels for your donor base
  • Learn how donors prefer to be communicated with by nonprofits
About the Presenter:
Lori Connolly is Vice President of Research and Analytics at Gizzard Communications Group. Lori have over 17 years of research and analytics experience in multichannel marketing and optimization through quantitative techniques as well as donor insights. Click here to learn more about the presenter

Friday, August 17, 2012

7 Steps to Enlist and Build Your Dream Team Board

Monday, August 27, 2012. 3:00-4:30pm (Eastern Time)
Price: $77.00

Webinar Description:

How' your board doing? How much could you accomplish if you had the right people around the table? During this live nonprofit training webinar we'll show you step-by-step how to enlist and build your dream team board.

Consultant, Gail Perry CFRE, will guide you through a step-by-step process to determine what kind of board members you need and give you the right kind of process for recruiting them. Use these ideas and the step-by-step instruction to help your Nominating Committee get organized, productive and guide them to enlist the best possible leaders join your board member. Click here for more details. 

Bonus! You'll also get a 24 page Dream Team Board Workbook.

Sound Fiscal Practices: Budgeting & Planning

Are you looking to strengthen your organization's financial position or simply identify and implement best practices? Join the Arts and Business Council at an informative workshop to discuss topics such as strategic fundraising, building reserves, capital campaigns, the role of the board in it all and many more.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012. 5:30-8:00pm
Columbia College Chicago
623 S Wabash, Hokin Hall, Rm 109

Megan Angle, Accountant, Porte Brown
Tim Dunning, Representative, The Private Bank

$45 (NPO budget < 250K) / $65 (For-profit/NPO budget > 250K)

Click to Register.

Join A&BC at Summer Bash!

Start your Labor Day weekend with the Arts and Business Council family at Summer Bash! No program, no agenda - simply a chance to hang out and party with our volunteers, clients, board and staff.

When: Thursday, August 30, 2012 from 5:30-7:30pm

Where: Bull & Bear (431 North Wells St at Hubbard St)

Price: $30 per person (includes good company, unlimited wine and beer, appetizers and a change to win a prize) or $40 at the door.

Click here to Register.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


The renewal application for the SMART Growth program and your Year 1 report are due Sept 5, 2012.  A&BC will review your revised Year 2 outcomes & measures on Thurs, Aug 23, 2012.   

You should have received an email from Sandy Phelps at CCT with instructions for the process.  Here's the link with the forms: If you have previously submitted an application to the Trust using our online system, you can access the application with the username and password you previously created.  If you are a new applicant, CCT has created a login for you which is your email address, and a password which is your last name (all lowercase).  If your last name is less than six characters, your password will be your last name and 2012, i.e. jones2012. 

You have been provided with an Access Code to view a restricted application link.  Enter it under 'Access Code' at the bottom of the main menu and hit Enter.  The access code for SMART Growth is Smart2012.  You can now choose the SMART Growth and begin your application.  To save your work, click the “Save As Draft” button at the bottom of the page.  You must save the draft before you log off or close your browser; otherwise, your work will be lost.  You may continue to save and upload required documents until the deadline.  When you are finished with your application, click “Submit Form”.

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Sandy Phelps at or Janice Pacheco at

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Building Foundation Impact

Using Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for Strategic Change

Date: Friday, September 14, 2012
Time: 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Location: The Arts Club of Chicago, 201 East Ontario Street, Chicago
Registration: Register for this event 

About this event: Space is limited. Pre-registration is required. Donors Forum's Family Foundations Committee will host small gatherings for leadership of family foundations this season to foster discussion and generate ideas about current challenges for family foundations and create opportunities to deepen personal and professional connections. Join colleagues for a mini-series of intimate, confidential discussions focused on approached to strengthening foundation impact. This free luncheon is hosted by The Siragusa Foundation.

First Step in Fundraising!

Tools and Tips

Date: Thursday, August 16, 2012
Time: 12:00pm - 1:15pm
Location:  Donors Forum Library, 208  S. LaSalle, Suite 1540
Registration: Register for this event

FREE and open to the public but must register.

Alternate dates: Usually every other Tuesday. These workshops fill up fast; advanced registration is required.

About this event: You'll receive a tutorial on using prospecting databases, which you can access free in the library. You'll also receive an overview of the free reference collection of books and resources on grant-writing, individual fundraising, nonprofit management, leadership and governance. Plus, you'll meet our librarian, who is professionally trained to help you use these resources.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Coming Soon: Social Media for the Arts eBOOK!

An empowering guide for arts organizations and their audiences! 

For Arts Organizations
Are you looking for ways to engage your advocates by empowering them to share their experiences? If so, then this book is for you!

This book is designed to engage audiences in real life (IRL). 3 hour workshops can be customized and scheduled with your board of directors, volunteers, committee members, special interest groups, or other advocates for your organization. Attendees will leave with your tools and permission to realize the power of their own influence on behalf of your organization. 

About the author
Nancy VanReece's mission to help communities achieve their full potential through the advocacy of creative opportunities. VanReece is an engaging and regular speaker on issues such as online marketing, social media communications, branding, copyright administration and clearance. VanReece brings a wealth of experience and understanding particularly helpful to arts organizations and individual artists. Click here to learn more about the author. 
Sign up to be the first to know when the eBook is ready for download!

eBook release date late Autumn 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chicago Arts Marketing IdeaLab

Chicago Arts Marketing IdeaLab: Registration Now Open!
Open to arts and cultural marketing professionals, this event is FREE to attend. Registration is required.

When: Friday, August 10, 2012
Time: 10am to 4pm
Where: Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N Southport

What to expect:

  • Get inspired by six 8-minute case studies from local arts organizations
  • Share ideas and problem solve around the hot topics you want to talk about
  • Break out into groups for in-depth discussion
  • Network with your peers in the Chicago arts marketing community


Space is limited. Please register for no more than three representation per organization.
Costs of attending are sponsored by the League of Chicago Theatres and The Theatre School at DePaul University. Lunch will be provided.

More information can be found here:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Direct-Response Appels that Inspire Donors to Give

Craft a Direct-Response Appeal that Inspires Donors to Give!

Thursday July 19, 2012

1-2 p.m

$75 Early Bird (Ends July 12)
$96 Regular (Starts July 13)

Direct mail and e-mail marketing remain vital sources of income for nonprofits. Keeping those appeals fresh and effective is a challenge for even the most experienced fundraiser, so join this one-hour webinar to learn how to:
  • Develop powerful direct-response appeals and integrated print, e-mail, and on-line messages to generate stronger returns.
  • Craft appeals that motivate mid-level donors to step up their giving, and produce a sound return on your investment.
  • Raise more money using proven techniques
  • Make the most of a shrinking budget
This Chronicle od Philanthropy webinar will arm you with the ideas and skills you need to attract more money from loyal donors and gain new supporters. It is designed especially for fundraising managers and directors, communications managers and directors and executive directors.

Speakers include
  • Greg Fox, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Merkle
  • Lori O'Brien, Director of National Development, Youth Villages
BONUS: When you sign up for this webinar, you'll be able to continue the conversation with The Chronicle and speakers in a LinkedIn discussion group to continue learning long after this one-hour session ends.

Click Here for more information and to register.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Westward, ho!

Getting ready to head west and represent Chicago as a trustee of Dance/USA at the annual board meeting and conference.  Chicago was host to last year's convening, and this year, San Francisco welcomes the national dance community for the annual conference and celebration of Dance/USA's 30th anniversary!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fundraising in the one-person development shop: making the most of a shoestring budget

At the best of times, fundraising can be challenging. But, fundraising in the one person development shop can be daunting, especially when one is working with a shoestring budget. The key situation like these is to know what areas to prioritize, and how to get the biggest bang for your buck because you can't do it all. This seminar will focus on the issues unique to one person fundraising departments, and will drill down in the following areas:
  • Keeping your organization on track financially: create and maintain a year round fundraising plan
  • Research: research your prospects on a shoestring budget
  • Directmail: work with an established third party service provider to maximize your returns
  • Major gifts program: develop and maintain a manageable high dollar giving club
  • Planned giving: start simple with a will and bequests program
  • Donor solicitation: make it easy for your donors to give and for you to receive donations
  • Special events: conduct a unique annual event that makes efficient use of volunteers
  • Leaderhsip involvement: find creative ways to get your executive director and/or board involvement in the fundraising process
Attendees will walk away with fresh ideas to take their one person development shop to the next level. This session is intended for Executive Directors, Director of Development and any fundraising staff who are working with a limited fundraising budget.


Date: Thursday, July 12, 2012 (More dates are available on the registration page)

Time: 8:30am - 12:00pm

Price: $110.00

Click HERE to register.

Building a Solid Fundraising-Centric Mobile Website and App

2012 is the year of MOBILE fundraising! Today, 1.2 billion people in the world have an internet based smart phone or tablet accessing your website or downloading your app. Don't have one yet? Or have one and want to learn how to increase fundraising efforts? This webinar is perfect for you! We will discuss everything you need to get started with launching and supporting your fundraising-centric mobile website and/or application. Click HERE to register. Cost is FREE.

When:  June 26, 2012 from 2:00pm - 3:00pm

  • Why its a must to have a mobile website/application
  • The difference in purpose of a mobile website vs mobile application
  • Mobile fundraising best practices and tactics
  • Integrating your new mobile channel with traditional direct response initiatives to increse response rates

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fellowship Application Due June 15, 2012

Don't Miss the Deadline!

The Trust’s fellowship program is designed to elevate the careers of Chicago leaders and increase their future impact on the Chicago metropolitan area by investing in their professional development.

The Chicago Community Trust Fellowship provides financial resources which can cover current salary and benefits for time off, costs related to academic courses, coaching, learning from other practitioners and other associated expenses. Emerging leaders are eligible to apply for up to $30,000 and experienced leaders are eligible to apply for up to $60,000. The Trust anticipates awarding up to ten fellowships — up to seven for emerging leaders and three for experienced leaders. The Fellowship must be completed within the calendar year of 2013.

The deadline to submit the fellowship application is June 15, 2012.
More information about the program and application process can be found via

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Raising More Money with Event Sponsorships!

Event sponsorships are a pillar of corporate giving and a serious source of revenue for nonprofits. However, tough economic times and shrinking budgets are forcing companies to reevaluate their commitment to sponsorships and to seek better return on investment.

During this webinar you'll learn six proven strategies for raising more money from retailers, restaurants, department stores, fast lube centers, coffee shops and any other type of business.

Space is limited. Please select from one of the following date options:

Price: $69.99

Tuesday, June 12
1:00pm-2:30pm EDT


Thursday, July 12
1:00pm-2:30pm EDT

This Webinar Includes the Following Supporting Material:
  1. The supporting slides from the webinar
  2. A handy guide for creating and executing program that you'll refer to again and again
  3. A FREE 30 minute post-webinar phone consultation with Joe Waters, Cause Marketing for Dummies, to fine-tune your individual program. You can use this time with Joe to discuss which of his six strategies would work best for your organization and next steps. A
About Joe Waters:
Joe has been creating corporate partnerships and raising millions of dollars for nearly twenty years, most recently at New England's largest safety-net hospital.

Joe is also the blogger behind the web's #1 cause marketing and sponsorship blog,, which chronicles his insights on running a successful corporate partnership program on a shoestring budget.

Friday, June 1, 2012

DanceWorks Chicago's 5th Anniversary!

DanceWorks Chicago is counting the days until our 5th Anniversary LIVE Art Benefit on Sunday, June 3 in our home at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. We value being part of a vibrant artistic community in Chicago and hope to continue to contribute to the cultural landscape!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Year 1 Outcomes Mid-point Check-In

It's hard to believe we're already halfway through Year 1 of the 3-Year SMART Growth grant.  You should have received an email regarding a mid-point check-in/status update.  If not, please let me know by contacting me at or (312) 372-1876 ext 229.  Hope all is well and that you're making great progress!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Successful Event Planning: Friend-raiser vs. Fundraiser

Tues, June 26 from 9:30 – 12:00pm
Columbia College Chicago, 623 S Wabash Ave, Hokin Hall, Rm 109

Carolina Jayaram, Executive Director, Chicago Artists Coalition
Erik Schroeder, Director of Marketing, Lookingglass Theatre Company
Megan Smith, Executive Director, Sideshow Theatre Company
Stef Tovar, Founder/Artistic Director, Route 66 Theatre Company

What does it take to execute a successful  fundraising event and how do you define success? What's the difference between a friend-raiser and a fund-raiser? What are the advantages of each?

This workshop will discuss the benefits and challenges of different types of events, including budgeting, marketing, acquiring donations, and board engagement. Panelists will share their experience creating, managing and evolving their organizations' events and tips for fundraising success.

Who should attend:
  • Organizations that are planning a fundraiser for the first time
  • Organizatins that have had small, singular events and are hoping to plan 1-2 years ahead
  • Board Members, Event Committee Chairs, and staff interested in innovative themes and programming for their upcoming fundraisers.
Price: $45 (npos under $250,000)/ $65 (for-profit/npos over $250,000)


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund
333 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 510,
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 236-1192

The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund is an Illinois nonprofit corporation organized in 1947 as a general-purpose private foundation.
Funding Opportunities in CULTURE

The Fund supports the efforts of Chicago's cultural organizations - both large and small. It considers applications from the full spectrum of arts endeavors. Projects that seek to spend audience access or to educate new audiences through outreach activities are encouraged.

The next deadline is July 1st.
For more information:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Master the skill of Grant Writing!

NEW: Grant Writing Masterclass Series: How To Write a Compelling Needs Statement to Mesmerize Grant Funders - and Win!

Space is limited. Please select from one of the following date options:

Price: $87.00

Wednesday, May 30
3:00pm - 4:30pm EST


Monday, June 11
3:00pm - 4:30pm EST

Webinar Description:

The success of every grant proposal hinges on its needs statement. If the need for a project lacks concrete evidence, funders may not believe the need really exists. If it lacks passion or impact, reviewers' heartstrings are not pulled. This webinar will show you step-by-step how to create a fundable needs statement that will win your nonprofit money to keep your organization's mission on track and serving your community well.

CLICK HERE for more information.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mission - Driven Business Planning 101

Nonprofit organizations have complex operating environments, multifaceted markets, missions with social impact as the bottom line, and unique financial considerations. Have you ever asked yourself the following questions:

  • How does a business plan for a mission-diven venture differ from a traditional business plan? 
  • How can a nonprofit take these differences into account when developing a business plan?

In this FREE webinar, TCC Group Partner Shelly Kessler and Senior Consultant Nadia Gomes will explore these questions along with the building blocks of a mission-driven business plan.

Participants will take away an understanding of purpose, use, and components of a business plan, as well as how to incorporate mission into organizational decision making. This introductory session is appropriate for executive staff who are considering the launch of a mission-based enterprise or assessing how to start developing a business plan.

When: Wednesday,  June 6, 2012, 1pm Eastern Time/ 2pm Central Time

Where: Click here to register

Monday, May 14, 2012

Arts Organizations & Community Engagement Workshop - May 22

Tues, May 22 from 5:30 – 8:00pm
Columbia College Chicago, 623 S Wabash Ave, Hokin Hall, Rm 109

Michael Rodd, Founding Artistic Director, SoJourn Theatre
Kimberly Bares, President, PLACE Consulting 

The Chicago Way: Working together and building more vibrant, socially and culturally inclusive, and economically prosperous neighborhoods. We will discuss how supporters, residents, civic and business leaders can engage with arts organizations in their communities to reach these mutually beneficial goals.

You'll hear case studies from our lead presenters on how successful cross-sector partnerships were established and maintained. This workshop is intended to ignite dialogue from a variety of perspectives, so we encourage an audience across sectors.

At this workshop, we will discuss:
  • What do arts organizations offer the community?
  • What does the community offer the arts organization?
  • What are ways to partner that help build a better community?
Price: $45 (npos under $250,000)/ $65 (for-profit/npos over $250,000)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

DanceWorks Chicago and Muntu Dance Theatre collaboration

DanceWorks Chicago is excited to partner with Muntu Dance Theatre at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie this weekend in a spirited program of dance and music. Highlights include a premiere by Monique Haley featuring artists from both companies, a collaboration between DanceWorks and Muntu musicians, and a finale created for the occasion by Muntu Artistic Director Amaniyea Payne. We are proud to be a Critic's Choice from the Reader.  Happy (Mother's Day) Weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Financing Not Fundraising Webinar Series

Social Velocity is proud to unveil its new Financing Not Fundraising webinar series based on the popular Financing Not Fundraising ongoing blog series. The webinar series shows nonprofits what the broader approach to securing the overall financing necessary to create social change looks like, including:
  • How to align your nonprofit's mission with the money needed to deliver on it
  • Why a message of impact results is more money
  • Understanding the critical difference between revenu and capital
  • Why overhead isn't a dirty word anymore
  • How and why to calculate the net revenue of money raising activities
  • When to explore new revenue stream
To learn more about the webinar series, CLICK HERE.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Chicago Community Trust Announces Fifth Annual Fellowship Program

Emerging and Experienced leaders invited to apply  

The Trust’s fellowship program is designed to elevate the careers of 9 Chicago leaders and increase their future impact on the Chicago metropolitan area by investing in their professional development. The Trust Fellowship offers professional development opportunities for both emerging and experienced leaders. Successful fellows must be open to new learning, have a track record of accomplishments, have potential for significant community impact and possess a strong commitment to building organizations in the nonprofit and public sectors.  

The Chicago Community Trust fellows have the choice of taking a leave from work or continuing to work while engaging in professional development activities. The Chicago Community Trust Fellowship provides financial resources which can cover current salary and benefits for time off, costs related to academic courses, coaching, learning from other practitioners and other associated expenses. Emerging leaders are eligible to apply for up to $30,000 and experienced leaders are eligible to apply for up to $60,000. The Trust anticipates awarding up to ten fellowships — up to seven for emerging leaders and three for experienced leaders. The Fellowship must be completed within the calendar year of 2013.  

More information about the program and application process can be found via The deadline to submit the fellowship application is June 15, 2012.

The Trust will hold a Q & A session on Friday, May 18, 2012 from 9:00– 11:00am at The Chicago Community Trust, 225 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 2200, in Chicago. Please note that this is the new office location of the Chicago Community Trust. Please register for this information session by sending your RSVP to Elizabeth Weldon at Please bring a photo ID and check in at the Security desk.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Webinar: Grant Basics!

Webinar: Grant Basics: What You Need to Know to Get Started

Space if limited. Please select from one of the following date options:

Price $77.00

Monday, May 7, 2012
Start Time: 1:00pm - End Time: 2:30pm (Eastern Time)


Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Start Time: 3:00pm - End Time: 4:30pm (Eastern Time)

Webinar Description

** Bonus Material: Also included in the webinar is copy of The GRANTstarted - The Complete Guide to Writing Winning Grants

Anyone can write a grant application - but there are steps for doing it right. And the economy's not to blame for losing out on grant after grant. Private foundations and corporations gave $56 billion in the U.S. alone last year in grant money.

Are you wondering why you're not getting your share? The solution to accessing foundation grant money is simpler than you think and this webinar will teach what has worked consistently for grant writers that earn millions of dollars in grant funding. Webinar Outline: A getting-started guide to writing grants the correct way that will win your nonprofit organization grant funding.

  • An overview of the 5 step process of grant writing.
  • Basic documentation that grant funders expect in your grant applications.
  • Six things that signify an organization is ready to ask for grant funding.
  • Free and paid sites for your grant research.
  • What you need to be ready to answer in a grant application.
  • The importans of cultivation for grant funding success.
Presented by Betsy Baker, MPA: Betsy Baker is President of She is an author, trainer/coach, public speaker and grant writing consultant having raised $10 million in grant funding for her clients. Betsy has spent her entire career in the nonprofit worls and understands both the rewards and the challenges that grant writing present.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Arts Writers Grant Program—Deadline June 6

Arts Writers Grant Program
2012 Grant Open for Submissions
Deadline: Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program supports individual writers whose work addresses contemporary visual art through grants ranging from 3,000 to 50,000 USD, issued directly to individual authors. The first program of its type, it was founded in recognition of both the financially precarious situation of arts writers and their indispensable contribution to a vital artistic culture. The Arts Writers Grant Program aims to support the broad spectrum of writing on contemporary visual art, from general-audience criticism to academic scholarship.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A&BC Board Basics Workshop Tomorrow

Tomorrow's workshop is from 5:30 - 8:00pm at Columbia College, 623 S. Wabash Ave, Hokin Hall.  It will be led by Lisa Tylke, who is also a smARTscope consultant.  Online registration closes this evening, but we will accept walk-up registrations at the door tomorrow.  More information can be found here:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Successful Kickstarter for 16th Street

Hello Smart Growth blog!

We just exceeded goal on a small Kickstarter campaign to help fund costume expenses for our current production of Enfrascada (A Hoodoo Comedy of Jarring Proportions.) It was an easy way for us to fund-raise a modest amount of $$ and had good novelty appeal for our email list, I feel. If anyone has any questions about crowdfunding, feel free to reach out to me.

Check it out!

Eddie Sugarman
16th Street Theater

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Using the Trust Logo for PR and Marketing

When using the Trust logo for PR and marketing materials remember to use these guidelines:

Forward all publicity requests to  We ask that you allow 5 days for the approval process; however, turnaround is usually within 24-48 hours.

All press releases must be sent to Eva Penar at for her approval.  Please allow 5 days for approval of press releases.

Feel free to contact me with any questions at

Click on the link to download the logo.

Neighborhood Arts Program (NAP) Grant Opportunity

Great grant opportunity! Apply and/or pass the information along.

About NAP:

The Neighborhood Arts Program (NAP) program is designed to encourage and support the presentation of high-quality instructional arts programs benefiting youth-at-risk, seniors, or persons with disabilitites in Chicago's low to moderate income neighborhoods. Individual artists with demonstrated teaching and/or performing experience in these communities may request up to $4,000 for workshops or touring performances suitable for Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago Park District, community centers, schools, or facilities serving senior citizens or persons with disabilities.

What We Fund: Funds may be applied to project related costs such as artist salary, material and supplies, printing and mailing, etc.

CLICK HERE for more information. Deadline is Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 5 p.m.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Upcoming workshops and webinars

A  couple of workshops and webinars that may be useful to SMARTGrowth grantees:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 9:00am to 12:00pm:
An Introduction to Strategic Restruscturing for Nonprofit Organizations.
Details: This workshop will introduce nonprofit leaders to the concept of nonprofit strategic re-structuring and cover the following topics: The definitions of four basic restructuring models (joint venture partnerships, parent corporations, shared servuce alliances and mergers), the business drivers for nonprofit strategic restructuring, the process for selecting a partner and where to go for more information. Whether you are considering a strategic restructuring strategy for your organization today or not, strategic restructuring is something all nonprofit leaders need to have in their tool box in the 21st century and this workshop will explain why. CLICK HERE for more information and registration details.

Monday, April 23, 2012, 2:00pm-3:00pm:
FREE Webinar: Sharing Your Fundraising Message so You Raise More Money.
Details: Words create experiences. Being clear about what your organization does and that you need more funding is critical to talk about in today's competitive fundraising climate. Lori L. Jacobwith has coined the term: "funding gap" to help nonprofits more easily talk about "the money" and to more easily generate financial support. Register for the FREE webinar to learn what a funding grap is and if you have one, why you want to talk about it! CLICK HERE for more information and registration details. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

DanceWorks Chicago and After School Matters: Tuesday, April 10

DanceWorks Chicago has been working intensively with the After School Matters Dance Ensemble in a multi-week residency this spring, and and our culminating event is coming up in G.A.R. Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center at 6:30pm on Tuesday, April 10. It would be an honor to have the SMART Growth community join us. It's been a wonderfully collaborative residency with dancers from both organizations taking responsibility for the work on stage as well as behind the scenes (flyer, program, costumes, etc.).

An inside look at the process is available via this link. Hope to see some of you there!

Happy Holiday Weekend!


Julie Nakagawa
Artistic Director
DanceWorks Chicago

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development recently awarded grants to the following SMART Growth organizations. Congratulations!
Chicago Jazz Philharmonic
Chinese Fine Arts Society
Kuumba Lynx

The next proposal deadline for the Arts Work Fund is May 15th, 2012.
For more information regarding the Arts Work Fund visit their website at: