Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Upcoming SMART Growth Panel - The Role of Board Chairs

SMART Growth Panel – The Role of Board Chairs

We are planning our second forum to focus attention on the important role played by Board members in the evolution of an arts organization.  It will be held on Tuesday, February 18th at the Chicago Community Trust, which is located at  225 N Michigan Ave.

We  will begin with wine and snacks from 5:00-5:30.  The panel presentation will be from5:30 – 7:00.  It will feature the Board Chairs from five arts organizations at different phases of development:

  1. Evan La Ruffa, Founder and Chair of I Paint My Mind
  2. Randall West, Chair of Access Contemporary Music
  3. Vicki Woolner Samuels, Chair of Changing Worlds
  4. Joe Brady, Chair of Lookingglass Theatre
  5. King Harris, Chair of the MCA (and a member of the Trust Executive Committee)

This session is designed for Board leaders from SMART Growth grant recipient organizations and is being held in the evening to accommodate their schedules.  We will allow room for Executive Directors if they are accompanied by a Board leader.

Please RSVP to Rebecca Dill at with the name of all attendees or questions.

We recommend public transportation but there is parking located at the Michigan Plaza Parking Garage on the lower level of Lake Street or ABM Parking Garage located at 111 East Wacker Drive on the north end of Illinois Center. (Ask Rebecca in your RSVP if you want detailed map and rates.)  Attendees will need to bring a photo ID to sign in with our building security.

We look forward to meeting your current Board Chair!

NEA Applications for 2015 Art Works Grants

NEA Accepting Applications for 2015 Art Works Grants

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is accepting applications for Art Works 2015, a signature program supporting a variety of artistic disciplines through projects meeting the highest standards of excellence, while engaging the public and enhancing the livability of communities nationwide.

Fields such as arts education, design, dance, visual arts, museums, music and opera -- among others -- are incorporated into projects such as commissions, residencies, workshops, performances, exhibitions, publications, festivals and professional development programs. Grants generally range from $10,000 to $100,000, and a 1:1 match with non-federal funds is required.

Eligible organizations include nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3), U.S. organizations such as arts organizations, local arts agencies, arts service organizations and local education agencies (LEAs). This year’s proposal deadlines are February 20 and July 24, 2014, depending on the type of project submitted for consideration.

To learn more, visit, or sign up for one of the Guidelines Webinars.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Member Benefit

Nothing is more important to the health and sustainability of your organization than getting highly qualified and enthusiastic people to serve on your board.

We have a new member benefit that makes it easier for you to find the board candidates you need to succeed. BoardSource members now can post their open board positions on LinkedIn for free!

Learn more about this service by visiting our expanded Board Recruitment Center.

Learn more about the other benefits of membership.

Take your recruitment practices to a new level of effectiveness. Join BoardSource today!

Individual Membership: $99
Organizational Membership: Starting at $1,500.

Join Now!

DCASE Opening grant cycle for CityArts Program - Due March 5

DCASE Announces Grants

The City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE)
is opening the grant cycle for the CityArts Program. The program encourages the attainment of artistic excellence and financial stability through general operating support for artistic, administrative and program activities including expenses such as salaries, marketing, insurance, supplies, professional services, fees, and training incurred to programming.

Arts organizations with annual budgets under $5M are eligible to apply and can request a one-year grant. Grant awards range from $2,000 to $15,000. Grants can be no greater than 10% of an organization’s annual operating budget from the most recently completed fiscal year.

Visit or e-mail for additional information.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Illinois Arts Council Agency FY15 Grant Opportunity

Guidelines and applications are now available online for
Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) Program Grant,
Grants to Arts Service Organizations,
and Partners in Excellence Programs.

The FY15 deadline is 5:00 PM Monday, March 17, 2014.

Program Grant funds provide support to established not-for-profit organizations that make a significant local, regional, or statewide impact on the quality of life in Illinois.  Grants recognize arts programming of high quality that is appropriate to and reflective of the communities served and that broaden opportunities for the public to participate in the arts.  All FY15 grant programs support activities occurring between September 1, 2014 and August 31, 2015 

Follow these links to access the FY15 Program Grant Guidelines and information regarding the FY15 Grants to Arts Service Organizations and Partners-in-Excellence programs. Contact the appropriate Illinois Arts Council Agency Program Staff member with questions. 

  • Deadline: The FY15 deadline for the above programs is Monday, March 17, 2014, 5:00 PM CST for online submission of eGrant application and hand-delivery of required hard copy material. 
  • Illinois Cultural Data Project requirements for FY15 are as follows: 
    • Applicants must submit an IACA Funder Report which contains data for three consecutive fiscal years, one of which must be 2012.  All years must have "Review Complete" status.     
    • Recently established organizations with less than three years of financial data must submit an IACA Funder Report with at least one year of data reflecting the most recently completed fiscal year. For organizations in operation in fiscal year 2012, data for 2012 must be submitted. Submitted data must have received "Review Complete" status from the CDP.      
    • Colleges and Universities and organizations housed within a larger institution must limit the CDP information to arts activities in their division or department. 

The IACA Funder Report will be available to generate in early February 2014.  As a reminder, the process for completing an Illinois Cultural Data Project data profile and receiving "Review Complete" status can take time.  Applicants should be sure to begin the process early to allow enough time to complete the steps necessary to achieve "Review Complete" status before the application deadline.  It is highly unlikely for applicants who wait until the day of the deadline to complete the process to achieve this status.

Applicants are encouraged to submit an IACA Funder report which shows the three most recently completed fiscal years for which data is accessible (board-approved audits or board-approved year-end financial statements).

  • Eligibility Requirements: Prior to the deadline, applicants should check that they are in compliance with all eligibility requirements including Illinois Not For Profit and 501c3 status. For details, follow this link.      
  • Free Application Workshops: Illinois Arts Council program staff will conduct two online application workshop webinars to provide information on completing FY15 Program Grant and Grants to Arts Service Organizations applications.
Online Webinars
(pre-registration is required): 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What nonprofits should start doing in 2014

This article is part of our Outlook 2014 package. See more advice and ideas for the year ahead in our special section.

Keep an eye on the numbers

To improve performance, nonprofits should pick out key pieces of data from each of their departments and review them regularly at staff meetings, says Amy Sample Ward, chief executive of the Nonprofit Technology Network, who calls the measures “canary metrics”—figures that show the canary in the coal mine that could be a sign of future trouble.
Looking at important data regularly, she says, helps organizations stop making decisions based on hunches and identify potential problems early. She says, “That way you can always look up there and say, 'Gosh, tons of people are signing up for our e-newsletter. No one has registered for an event. Look at how low those numbers are. What’s happening here?’”

Think about the second gift

Instead of putting so much time and energy into winning new donors, charities need to do a better job getting gifts from the supporters they already have, says Farra Trompeter, vice president of Big Duck, a communications-consulting company that works with nonprofits.
She recommends that nonprofits start by reviewing exactly what happens after someone makes a first gift to determine areas that need improvement. Organizations should then seek to personalize the way they thank donors and better report on the impact of their gifts.
The goal, says Ms. Trompeter, is for donors to think, “Wow, I feel part of this organization. I’m not just this random person that’s disconnected and the organization just sees me as a credit card or a checkbook. They see me as a partner.”

Experiment with raising money from the crowd

Campaigns to raise money for specific projects on sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter are a great way for nonprofits to attract young donors, says Alia McKee, a principal at Sea Change Strategies, a fundraising consulting company.
The opportunity to contribute to an individual project, she says, is particularly enticing to millennial and Generation X donors who want to know exactly how their contributions will be spent and the impact they will have. Charities, on the other hand, are reluctant to let supporters direct their gifts because they need unrestricted funds, which, she says, younger donors are often unwilling to give.
“Organizations are going to really need to play with this,” says Ms. McKee, “maybe using a restricted-giving campaign to then start the conversation about unrestricted institutional giving.”

Step up efforts to show impact

Too often donor stewardship is an afterthought, and it shows. Nonprofits need to start thinking about how they will thank donors and show them the impact of their gifts when they are planning their fundraising campaigns, says Theresa Pesch, president of Children’s Foundation, which is the fundraising arm of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.
Her group’s fundraisers develop individual plans for how the institution will thank major donors and show them the difference their gifts have made and discuss stewardship activities at their weekly meetings.
For example: Less than a day after a couple made a donation to pay for a powerful new laser, the parents of a young patient with a brain tumor wrote the donors a letter telling them what laser surgery would mean for their son and what he hoped to dress up as for Halloween after he recovered.
Says Ms. Pesch: “We mobilize quickly.”

Think multigenerational

To tap into the growing number of donors who want to involve their children and grandchildren in their philanthropy, charities need to develop more opportunities for people of different ages to volunteer and learn about their work, says Ms. Pesch.
In 2014, Children’s Foundation is planning customized family tours and meetings with doctors for donors who made large contributions, as well as a wider gathering to celebrate the impact of philanthropy at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.
Says Ms. Pesch: “The event will allow donors and their children and grandchildren to see, feel, and touch the change.”

Take visuals seriously

Making a good impression is critical, so charities need to get more professional about the way they present themselves visually, say nonprofit communications experts.
Instead of using stock photos, experts recommend that nonprofits train employees to take photographs of their programs in action. Groups should also consider working with graphic artists and designers when possible.
And once organizations determine the key messages, colors, and typefaces they want people to associate with them, groups need to stick with them, says Ms. Trompeter.
“As soon as things start getting boring for you­—ugh, everything’s pink, everything’s blue, everything always says the same thing,” she says—that’s when supporters are just starting to get familiar with them.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Social Nonprofit: Smart Ways to Use Google+ and Vine

As new social networks like Google+ and Vine become more popular, many nonprofits are scrambling to figure out how to use them to spread the word about their causes.
Join The Chronicle of Philanthropy to learn how these emerging networks can help you connect with new donors and supporters. We’ll share case studies from nonprofits that have added these networks to their fundraising and social-media strategies and help you identify when and how to invest time in these networks.
You’ll hear from the social-media manager at Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, who uses Vine to connect with the group’s young supporters and has attracted close to 40,000 followers on Google+. As the sole person responsible for the group’s social-media outreach, she’ll share how she successfully manages numerous social networks and has helped increase the number of donors who support the organization.
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how, with little investment, Vine can help you share your mission with new supporters, build your digital brand, and inspire people to take action. You’ll also explore how Google+ can help people find your organization faster online, help you reach new audiences, and provide engaging ways to bring people together through live video.
What Will You Learn?
  • How to use Vine to get supporters more involved with your cause and raise your organization’s profile, especially among young people.
  • How to maximize your nonprofit’s ranking in Google’s search results by making your presence on Google+ more robust.
  • How to use the Google+ Hangout feature to connect distant supporters and staff members in engaging and productive ways.

Who Should Attend?
    • Social-media and online marketing managers
    • Marketing and communications professionals
    • Development directors and fundraisers

    Early bird price
    : $75
    After January 30: $96



    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

    Webinar: How to Engage Your Board in Fundraising

    Mission Possible: How to Engage Your Board in Fundraising

    Space is limited.
    Price: $77
    Date: Thurs, January 16, 3-4pm EST or Tues, February 4, 1-2pm EST
    Course level: Beginner

    Board members join your organization with the best of intentions. And can be among your most powerful assets. So how do you create an environment that causes board members to want to help with the important work of fund development? The key is to make the tasks of donor cultivation, donor acknowledgement and solicitation fun and easy to participate in so they become less scary or daunting. The truth? Your board members may need more clear direction and guidance about HOW to participate so it feels rewarding and is an integral part of their board involvement. In this webinar we'll discuss how the recruitment and onboarding of board members affects their willingness to help with fundraising. You'll learn communication and management tools and techniques to help make fundraising a rewarding experience for the entire board.

    What you'll learn from this Live Interactive Webinar:
    • When should the fundraising discussion begin with the board? 
    • What is the difference between fundraising and development? 
    • Whose responsibility is it for development outcomes? 
    • Why won't the board be more helpful? And how to get them to be helpful? 
    • What are ways the board can be involved in development and NOT have to ask for money? 
    • How to measure & share activity that will cause the board to be more interested in their role in fundraising? 
    • How to "train" the board to be an asset to your fundraising team? 

    This Webinar includes the following supporting materials:
    • The supporting slides from the webinar 
    • A mini board self-assessment questionnaire 
    • A simple Board Matrix Worksheet 
    • 3 Sample Annual Board agreements 
    • 3 Sample Board Dashboards 
    • Recorded Version of Webinar 

    Presented by Lori L. Jacobwith. Lori L. Jacobwith has a passion for the positive. Her strategies & tools have helped nonprofit organizations to collectively raise more than $200 million from individual donors over the past decade. She has coached and trained thousands across North America to raise more money and powerfully share their stories. Lori is the founder of the Ignited Online Fundraising Community, the author of Nine Steps to a Successful Fundraising Campaign and the "must-read" fundraising coaching blog: Withism's From Lori: Boldness, Clarity and Wisdom for Fundraising Professionals. In 2013 Lori created the Imagine What's Possible Step-by-Step Storytelling System for nonprofits who want to raise more money from individual donors with ease. Lori lives in Minnesota and is a long-time member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals [AFP].

    Monday, January 13, 2014

    CityArts Program Grant

    CityArts Program for Nonprofit Organizations

    The goal of the DCASE CityArts program is to encourage the attainment of artistic excellence and financial stability through general operating support for 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organizations. Through this program, DCASE provides one-year general operating support grants to arts organization with vibrant artistic or cultural programming. General operating support funds may be used for artistic, administrative and/or program activities including expenses such as salaries, marketing, insurance, supplies, professional services, fees and training. All grants are one-year grants.

    Eligibility Criteria

    Applicants must meet each of the following criteria. Applicants must:
    • Be a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) application incorporated in the State of Illinois for at least 12 months prior to applying (must have been incorporated as of March 3, 2013).
    •  Be a resident company in the city of Chicago with a valid street address (P.O. boxes will not be accepted).
    • Primarily serve the residents of the city of Chicago (able to demonstrate that at least half or 51% of programming occurs within the city of Chicago limits).
    • Have had an annual adjusted income budget under $5,000,000 during the last fiscal  year.
    • Have a primarily mission to create, produce, present, provide, or support arts and culture services for the public.
    • Be planning programing/activities available to the public during the 2014 calendar year.
    • Work in one of the following disciplines: Dance, Literature, Media, Music, Museums, Theater, Visual Arts, Architecture, Film, Interdisciplinary, OR serve as an arts service organization.
    Application Opens: Friday, January 24 at 12:01 am
    Application Deadline: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 5 pm
    Grant Request AmountGrant awards range from $2,000 to $10,000 and are based on your organization’s annual budget. Please note that we will not provide a grant that is greater than 10% of your annual operating budget from the most recently completed fiscal year.
    Click here if you are a 2013 CityArts Grant recipient.

    Application Assistance Workshops

    Prior to the opening of the 2014 CityArts grant application period, the DCASE Cultural Grants Team will offer five workshops for potential applicants. Workshops will review updates to grant guidelines and review criteria, and provide tips and guidance to help applicants to prepare the strongest, most competitive applications possible. All applicants, regardless of having previously applied for or received a DCASE Cultural Grant, are encouraged to attend. The schedule is as follows:

    Please note a few workshop dates have changed and are listed below in red.

    • Wednesday, January 15, 12 pm – 2 pm: 1st floor Garland Room
    • Wednesday, January 15, 5 pm – 7 pm: 1st floor Garland Room
    • Thursday, January 16, 10 am – 12 pm: 1st floor Garland Room·        
    • Thursday, January 16, 2 pm – 4 pm: 1st floor Garland Room
    • Wednesday, January 22, 1 pm – 3 pm: 1st floor Garland Room
    ***Note that all workshops will take place at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street.

    Monday, January 6, 2014

    Grant Writing 101 Webinar: How to write a competitive fundable grant

    Date: Wed, January 8 - 12:00pm Central
    Price: $77
    Length: 90 minutes
    Course Level: Beginner

    Participating in “Grant Writing 101: How to Write a Competitive Fundable Grant” will provide you with the basic knowledge and understanding of crafting the numerous components of a grant application that will be successful in securing funding.

    In this live, interactive webinar we will discuss how to create compelling grant application elements that tell a story. We will focus on how to use the common key elements to create a competitive grant application that tells a story which engages the grant reviewer and clearly outlines how you will use the requested grant funds to achieve the stated goals and objectives. We will look at individual samples of previous applications and discuss how to strengthen them in order to be more competitive and more successful in securing grant awards.

    Participating in “Grant Writing 101: How to Write a Competitive Fundable Grant” will give you a strong framework for your grant writing efforts to ensure that you are putting together highly competitive grant applications and ultimately achieving your desired grant funding success.

    What You Will Learn from this Live Interactive Webinar:
    • How grant applications vary by funder type
    • What are the common key elements of a grant proposal
    • How to develop an initial outline for a grant application
    How to create compelling grant application elements that tells a story including:
    • Cover
    • Executive Summary
    • Statement of Need
    • Project Description
    • Budget
    • Organization Capacity
    How grant funder research and relationship building is related to writing the grant

    This Webinar is Perfect For You If…
    You are new or relatively new to the field of grant seeking; or
    You are looking to increase your success percentage and craft more competitive grant applications.

    This Webinar Includes the Following Supporting Materials:
    A proposal development tool to help create your grant outline.
    A checklist for success to use before submitting all grant applications.
    A free 30 minute follow-up consultation with Diane about your specific questions or concerns about writing a competitive fundable grant application.

    Presented by Grant Writing Expert Diane H. Leonard, GPCDiane H. Leonard, GPC is an experienced and highly respected grant professional who has provided grant development counsel to nonprofit organizations of varying size and scope for more than a decade. Clients she serves include health care providers, advocacy organizations, social services agencies, elementary and secondary schools, and municipal corporations. Diane is an active member of the Grant Professionals Association and is proud to have earned her Grant Professional Certification, a credentialed certification conferred by the Grant Professional Credential Institute.

    Author: Diane Leonard
    Category: Nonprofit Grants
    Course Level: Beginner