Can you identify? Nonprofit Interviews-Challenges Solutions Funding

Can you identify with these results? Nonprofit Interviews: Their Challenges, Solutions & Funding Plans
In May, I was fortunate enough to visit 16 non profit organizations in Southern California—all within easy reach of Claremont, California where we will be holding a training workshop in September in partnership with Pitzer College. To get more background, feel free to download my complementary eBook on Designing and Funding Non Profit Projects.
Non Profit Surveys  

Workshop participants working on a program design.
I wanted to see firsthand what challenges this range of nonprofits was facing, what goals they were hoping to achieve over the next six to 12 months, and to make sure that our training workshop—Designing and Funding Non Profit Programs—will present an appropriate step-by-step process in helping them reach their goals.
The non profits I interviewed worked with:
  1. food banks/emergency food assistance
  2. community gardens that provide food for members, food banks and restaurants
  3. community education program
  4. social justice for women in the prison system
  5. community development/community organizing
  6. urban agriculture/local farming and markets
  7. student scholarships, and high school and college mentoring
  8. youth and the environment
  9. emergency rental assistance/shelter
  10. community centers
  11. after school programs
  12. parental support and skill building
  13. social services
  14. community emergency funds
  15. senior citizen centers
  16. and included colleges and a graduate school
The programming challenges and goals that they prioritized during the interviews included:
Staffing and Volunteers
  • increase in committed volunteer base
  • volunteer management; volunteer coordinator
  • staff for youth programs and parent liaison programs
  • volunteers and funds for program expansion
  • work load reduction for core staff
  • staffing: funds for trained, long-term staff and support staff
  • improved case management with clients: re-assess client need and expand case support
Organization and Program Management
  • increased communication for donors on their organization’s programs
  • quantifying impact
  • assessing community needs
  • increasing/maintaining client base
  • relating organizational wants and needs with client wants and needs
  • setting up a planning process for improving current programs and developing new programs
  • better analysis of success in moving people forward to independence
  • funding, funding, funding
  • increased donor, membership & customer income
  • funding for experienced staff, volunteer coordinators
  • donor communications: newsletters, blogs, social media
  • identifying donors
  • assistance in paperwork: accounting, reporting and grant writing
  • keeping kids in high school
  • more robust program in college access for constituents
  • community education: facilities, supplies and facilitators
  • finding organizations for placing undergraduate and graduate interns
  • expanded educational facilities/locations
  • elementary children learning onsite about farming, gardens and where food comes from
Food banks, community gardens and urban agriculture
  • food delivery vehicles
  • equipment: refrigerators and walk-in refrigeration, food storage, bigger buildings
  • community garden supply and tool storage
  • community garden tools, equipment, supplies and delivery trucks (and drivers)
  • community gardens and urban farms: more customers
  • living wages for urban farmers
  • garden coordinators
  • land
  • access to and funding for participating in farmer’s markets
  • community input: what do food clients want?
  • greater diversity of food at food banks—especially more eggs and meat
  • vegetables that clients will eat and enjoy
Community Development
  • rapid re-housing for homeless; permanent apartment units & support
  • financial literacy courses; managing income
  • reduction in energy use city wide
  • getting personal items, fun things and food packages into the hands of women in the prison system
  • space and places to stage and prepare for programs
After the interviews, we looked through the workshop syllabus and we discussed how the different phases of the workshop could help them to achieve their goals—and more clearly communicate these goals to potential donors.
How the September workshop will help these organizations achieve their goals:
The workshop is not based upon lectures—it is based upon action. We will not be using case studies. We will be doing it.
We will start the workshop off with our partners at Pitzer College and their Huerta del Valle community garden in Ontario on Saturday and Sunday so that we can better understand the process of facilitating a needs assessment and developing a simple project outline.
We will then reconvene on Monday at Pitzer College. We will develop the following tangible outputs, tools and techniques for your specific project based upon your own community’s assessment. They will include:
  • developing a project outline with a problem statement, underlying causes, and goals
  • researching solution oriented activities that have worked to solve the project challenge
  • developing project funding documents: log frames, budgets and schedules
  • writing a newsletter or blog announcing the new program for your current donor base
  • developing a letter of inquiry for a donor presentation
  • exploring ways to identify donors
  • writing a detailed workshop plan for your first community capacity building workshop
We provide cutting-edge information, tools, time-saving templates, training and expert consultancy through this diploma program—and lead you in developing a real project for your organization.
DIPLOMA 240: Designing & Funding Non Profit Programs
Blended Training Program—Including:
A 5 Day Live Workshop. Pitzer College, Claremont, California.

Enroll in this blended training program.

Program Information
In this blended learning, 4 month training program you will participate in:
PHASE I: Four weeks.

  1. 3 weeks pre-workshop. Guided Field Data Collection: Community Needs Assessments. Conduct a needs assessment with a community where you work in preparation for use in the workshop—guided through distance learning by CSDi staff. We will provide all of the tools and information you need to conduct the needs assessments.
  2. 2 optional field days. Don’t have community access? Participate in two additional, optional field days the Saturday and Sunday prior to the workshop conducting a participatory needs assessment with our local partner near the workshop venue.
  3. 5 days. A Face-to-Face Workshop. Full Project Design and Development. Working with the CSDi workshop leader, you will use your needs assessment to begin the development of a complete, fundable, launchable project.

PHASE II: 12 weeks.

  1. Post-workshop: In OL 203 and OL 204 form a project team, design capacity-building workshops and launch your project.
Detailed information and logistics. Visit the Non Profit training program page to find full, detailed information, logistics and a syllabus.
We look forward to working with you in our training programs.
Tim Magee, Executive Director
Center for Sustainable Development
Tim Magee is the author of A Field Guide to Community Based Adaptation published by Routledge, Oxford, England.
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