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Supporting your re-grant recipients

In the nonprofit world, success is ultimately measured not by dollars raised but by the differences made to the lives of others. In most cases, though, the two go hand-in-hand: The bigger the difference made, the more people are willing to support a cause. This in turn, provides the resources needed to grow an organization’s impact even further.Many nonprofits recognize that in order to grow, they cannot do it alone. Perhaps they lack funding to develop a new program, the knowledge or expertise to fill a particular need, or a lack of person-power. This is where re-grant programs provide the perfect opportunity.

Re-granting is an age-old strategy that turns nonprofits into intermediary organizations. Your nonprofit identifies a need within the community, seeks a grant and then divides that grant money among other organizations. The resulting re-grant relationship allows the granting nonprofit the ability to reach more people and make a bigger difference with fewer resources. The relationship also strengthens re-grant recipient’s leadership role in the community while providing them an opportunity to leverage additional support from other funders or donors.

Ultimately, if your nonprofit provides a re-grant to another organization, that organization’s success with whatever project or program they are using funding for is your nonprofit’s success, too. So, consider these five suggestions to boost your re-grantees support and ensure that a difference is made for your cause:

1. Develop a program and set forth clear expectations
Start by assessing a need for a re-grant program. Ask your nonprofit and your board:

a. Is there a service area that has a need for programming?
b. Is there an underserved aspect of the community that is in-line with our mission?
c. Does our organization lack the resources to fulfill this endeavor ourselves?
d. Can our infrastructure support the time required to review applications and provide adequate support?

Then, develop an action plan and outline goals for your program. Consider working with your local council for nonprofits, and within your state laws, to establish a formal re-grant program. Seek foundation support to begin funding and apply for grants that allow for re-granting.

2. Provide communications tools
Have your communications staff develop a toolkit for re-grant recipients to help spread the word of the difference that is being made through your re-grant program. Make sure that this toolkit clearly outlines the objectives of the grant and the goals your organization has set for the overall re-grant program. Include branding guidelines (how they are supposed to use your logo and when), lists of websites or links with communications and social media how-to’s, suggested language for communications and templates for press releases and marketing materials. Consider giving them a jumpstart on programmatic promotions with giveaway items, like Rulers for staff and volunteers branded with your logo and the project’s name. Deliver it with a message that speaks to “Measuring the project’s success.” Provide Stickers by the Roll for prospective program participants to use in their messaging to their constituents.

3. Stay connected
Check in on recipients from time to time. Are they meeting goals? Do they need reminders for deadlines or upcoming events? Do they need help? Do they have the contacts they need? Keep them in the loop through phone calls, e-mails and meetings, but consider using social media as a way to stay in touch. Create a Facebook group for recipients or an online community through Ning. You can also take cues from broadcasting information through Twitter, like the CF Community Foundation, which profiles grantee success; or the Hawaii Community Foundation, which shares important programmatic deadlines.

4. Provide evaluations
Throughout the terms of the re-grant, offer recipients the opportunity to provide feedback on the grant program and the support offered from those involved. Doing so will give recipients the feeling that their opinion matters and that your organization does care. Additionally, evaluations will provide your organization with a way to gauge the level of support required and the level of resources given to assist re-grantees. Entice them to respond by providing in-kind donations for staff to keep or giveaways to stakeholders, like T-Shirts and Lunch Bags.

5. Thank them for making a difference
At the close of the re-grant period, be sure to thank recipients for the work that was completed with their help, and for the ways in which it advanced both the cause and your own nonprofit’s mission. Send their offices Gourmet Coffee or something more long-lasting, like a Plaque of appreciation.

Sometimes, a mission requires more person-power and resources than one organization can provide. Re-grant programs help to overcome this obstacle. Expand your nonprofit’s reach, better your community and aid another nonprofit in the process … just don’t forget to support them to guarantee a true win-win situation!

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