Source: Sarena D. Seifer and Stacy Holmes, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, June 2002
Acknowledgments: CCPH would like to thank the following individuals for their contributions to parts of this document: Dr. Barry Daneman, University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Dentistry and Dr. Timothy K. Stanton, Stanford University
Introduction to funding and fundraising for service-learning in higher education
Whether you are seeking funds to support a college-level service-learning course or planning to launch a service-learning center, this fact sheet provides resources on how to start and where to look for assistance. Many of the publications and directories listed below can be located through the Foundation Center and/or through your local library system.
For the purposes of this fact sheet , the term "funder" means a whole spectrum of entities, including: governmental agencies, public foundations, private foundations, corporations, and individual philanthropists. For funders or philanthropists who desire to provide funding please see the section For Funders.
Actions to consider
Below are a number of actions that you might consider as you search for the most appropriate tools and resources to raise funds for your service-learning program. Reflect on your fundraising strategies and do some background research on funder priorities and charitable giving patterns in order to build a solid foundation for success.
Make a plan...
Drafting a plan of action will help you to clarify your funding priorities. How much of your time will focus on writing proposals, soliciting individual donations and/or seeking corporate sponsorship? How much assistance will you need? What categories and amounts of funding are you seeking? The Fundraising 101 section below includes links to materials and websites to help you answer these questions.
Talk to people:
- Call your colleagues - Find out what fundraising strategies your colleagues utilize. They might give you some creative ideas and/or be able to refer you to other resources.
- Start within your institution - Before seeking external sources of support, make sure you investigate funding that may be available within your institution. For example, departmental seed grants or funds to attend a relevant conference, or campus funds for new course development. Further, many funders require evidence of institutional commitment; these internal sources can be used as matching funds.
- Connect with the development directors at your institution - These individuals raise money for a living and will probably be able to offer you some insight and guidance for your fundraising efforts. At the very least, these individuals will be aware of any fundraising efforts underway at your institution and whether/how your program can be included. In addition, they might be able to solicit funds on your behalf --so make sure they know about your project!
- Collaborate with your community partners - Some funders will only support proposals from community-based organizations. Your community partners are important allies in your service-learning program. They can be the lead applicant on grants, and build the service-learning program into the proposal.
- Contact potential funders as you shape your ideas - So much of fundraising is developing relationships with potential funders. Find out what funders think of your service-learning project by asking them. Make sure to coordinate your activities with your institution's development office to ensure that you are not competing or putting other fundraising efforts in jeopardy. Once you have coordinated your efforts with your institution, you can call potential funders to find out if your project fits within their funding priorities and/or if they have any advice before you write a formal proposal. People are often surprised to find out how forthcoming and helpful funders can be:if we only ask them! Engage potential funders in your program, for example, by inviting them to serve on an advisory committee or attend the students' final presentations.
Do some research:
Visiting some of the resources on this fact sheet and taking a trip to your local library will provide some background on the types of funders you should contact. In addition, organizations such as the Chronicle of Philanthropy and the Independent Sector (see Giving and Volunteering in the United States, a biennial national survey that reports trends in charitable behavior) publish research on the state of charitable contributions.
Build on the past and diversify:
Raising any amount of funds can act as leverage to raising more funds - especially if you are able to show the positive impact of your program. Some funders prefer to fund "start-ups" and provide seed grants while others want to support projects that have a history of success. Some funders will be interested in supporting service-learning as a topic whereas others might be more interested in the community that is being served (e.g., serving the homeless community) or the intended outcome (e.g., environmental justice). You can capitalize on all types of funders by tapping into a diverse range of funding streams, including:
- Individual donors & bequests (alumni are an important subgroup).
- Corporate sponsors
- Public and private foundations
- County, state, and national governmental funding
- Faculty development and curriculum development grants from your institution
- State, regional and national Campus Compact grants
- Professional associations (e.g., education & social service associations)
- Initiatives to improve education, civic engagement, community development, and individual health
Be prepared to pull a proposal together quickly:
Funders often have short turnaround times for their "requests for proposals." Not infrequently, a funder may request a concept paper or brief proposal after a conversation. Prepare in advance for these opportunities, by keeping all of your proposal-related materials and documents in a readily accessible format. For example, many items do not change much from proposal to proposal - such as a brief description of your program, biosketches or CVs for key staff and descriptions of your community partners.
Review others' grants to become a better grant writer:
Another way to do research is to be a grant reviewer. Periodically, federal agencies and large foundations will put out a call for objective reviewers to assess a group of grant proposals. The experience of reading and judging a group of proposals will help you learn to think like a funder and to sharpen your own proposal writing skills.
Remember, always follow the funder's instructions:
Whether you are writing a grant or making a presentation, you should follow the funder's instructions down to the last detail (i.e., font size, line spacing, length of time). You run the risk of not having your proposal reviewed or considered since funders might by-pass the candidates who do not follow instructions. Unfortunately, you also run the risk of leaving a bad impression no matter how objective the funder tries to be in the future. Avoid these risks by following all instructions and asking for clarification whenever there is confusion.
The following resources focus on the basics of fundraising. Most of these websites include links to many other useful websites and resources. Let us know if you have found a useful resource that should be listed!
The Association of Fundraising Professionals website provides links to a number of resources, including grantwriting tips.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy website includes many free resources, tools, and links on fundraising. Paid subscribers have expanded access to directories and archives.
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education has a number of resources for professionals in higher education, including those focused on fundraising. Their website also includes a list of publications.
Cyber-Fundraising-Tools and information on using the internet to help raise funds can be found on a number of websites.
The Foundation Center's Learning Lab offers a Virtual Classroom on such topics that include an Orientation to Grantseeking, Guide to Funding Research, Proposal Budgeting Basics, and Proposal Writing Short Course.
The Foundation Center website highlights a number of publications, including:
Seltzer, Michael, Securing Your Organization's Future: A Complete Guide to Fundraising Strategies, New York, NY: The Foundation Center, 2001.
In this extensively revised and updated edition, author Michael Seltzer acts as your personal fundraising consultant. Rely on his proven experience to strengthen your organization's capacity to successfully raise funds and create long-term organizational stability. Recommended for novice grantseekers, experienced fundraisers and nonprofit management courses.
The Society of Researchers and Administrators International website includes resources on government funding and resources for finding all funds available from local, state, federal and international governments.
Teaching.com includes a comprehensive list of links on grantwriting resources and funding directories.
General Fundraising Resources
Most of these websites include links to many other useful websites and resources that can be applied to any type of project. Let us know if you have found a useful resource that should be listed!
The Foundation Center maintains a comprehensive website of resources and publications. Many of their resources are free of charge. For a fee, you can obtain access to their online directories (check first to see if your institution is already a member). Some of the resources highlighted on the website include:
Annual register of grant support: a directory of funding sources, 35th ed, xxxiii, Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc., 2001.
Includes details of the grant support programs of government agencies, public and private foundations, corporations, community trusts, unions, educational and professional associations, and special-interest organizations. Each complete program description contains details of the type, purpose, and duration of the grant; amount of funding available for each award and for the entire program; eligibility requirements; geographic restrictions; number of applicants and recipients; and other pertinent information and special stipulations. (Abstract source: the Foundation Center Online Library)
Grants for higher education, xxii, New York, NY: Foundation Center, 2001.
Lists 20,534 grants of $10,000 or more made by 968 foundations, mostly in 1999 and 2000, to colleges, universities, and technological institutes, for programs in all disciplines at the undergraduate and graduate levels (including professional schools). These grants include those made to academic libraries and student services and organizations. Grants are indexed by recipient name, location, and subject. (Abstract source: the Foundation Center Online Library)
Larson, R. Sam and Sonia Barnes-Moorhead, How centers work: building and sustaining academic nonprofit centers, Battle Creek, MI: W. K. Kellogg Foundation, 2001.
A report on nonprofit management and philanthropy-related academic centers published by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Examines the origins, missions, leadership, and challenges of academic nonprofit centers. Includes recommendations for center directors and funders. The findings are based on literature about nonprofit centers at higher education institutions, personal interviews with center directors, and program proposals and annual reports submitted to the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. (Abstract source: the Foundation Center Online Library)
The mission of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) is to make philanthropy more responsive to people with the least wealth and opportunity, more relevant to critical public needs, and more open and accountable to all, in order to create a more just and democratic society. (Source: NCRP website) The website includes a variety of links in the following categories:
- General Philanthropy/Nonprofit Links
- Alternative Funds Assistance Project Links
- Democracy and Philanthropy Project Links
- Corporate Grantmaking to Racial and Ethnic Populations Project Links
- Affinity Group Links
- Civil Society and International Links
- Academic/Research Philanthropy Links
Fundraising for service-learning: Resources and possible funding sources
The resources listed here are intended for individuals or organizations seeking funds for service-learning, service-oriented, community-based, and/or experiential projects.
Campus Compact has a variety of fundraising resources, including links to state Campus Compacts, other major funders, and publications such as:
Establishing and Sustaining an Office of Community Service, 2000. A comprehensive guide to assist community service directors in creating and sustaining a campus community service office. Student recruitment and training, liability and risk management, program assessment, and funding are some of the topics covered. Also contains an extensive appendix of forms for working with faculty, students, and community agencies. (Available for order from Campus Compact site).
The Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) website includes links to funders that relate to health, higher education, service-learning, civic engagement and partnerships.
Partnership Matters is the biweekly, electronic newsletter published by Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) that includes grant announcements for service-learning in health and higher education. Partnership Matters is delivered via email and archived on the CCPH website. To subscribe, please send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Corporation for National and Community Service has been a large funder of service activities.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of University Partnerships provides funding for community-university partnerships. This particular web site contains links to a variety of funders that support community-university partnerships. Their publication, the Foundation Resource Guide, lists foundations likely to augment the funding of HUD Office of University Partnerships grants. More sources can be accessed using the Foundation Resource Guide Online Database.
The Learning In Deed website provides a list of potential service-learning funders, including:
- The Pew Charitable Trusts
- William T. Grant Foundation
- The Spencer Foundation
- Open Society Institute
- National Science Foundation
- National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- National Institute of Mental Health
- National Institute of Justice
- National Institute on Drug Abuse
Besides general information on fundraising, the Foundation Center's website also includes resources related to civic engagement projects such as:
Grants for civic participation, xvi, New York, NY: Foundation Center, 1999.
Lists 2,691 grants of $10,000 or more made by 425 foundations, mostly in 1997 and 1998, for programs that promote citizen involvement in public life, including reform of political institutions, the promotion of ethics in the public sphere, citizen education, freedom of information, reform of the tax and Social Security systems, election regulation, voter education and registration, naturalization, adult and youth leadership development, voluntarism promotion, adult and youth community service clubs, community organizing, and community coalitions and alliances. Also included are grants that promote democracy, civil society, citizen involvement, and democratic institutions abroad. Grants are indexed by recipient name, location, and subject. (Abstract source: the Foundation Center Online Library)
The WK Kellogg Foundation employs a number of approaches in addressing education and the development of young people. One major approach is to develop a more seamless educational pipeline, especially engaging post-secondary education institutions with communities to achieve mutually beneficial goals. Visit their website for information on their funding guidelines. (source: Kellogg website)
The Surdna Foundation's Effective Citizenry Program supports young people to take direct action to solve serious problems in their schools, neighborhoods and the larger society. Visit their website for information on their funding guidelines. (Source: Surdna website)
Other links on funding and fundraising
The NSLC Resources and Tools section includes additional funding sources (some overlap with this fact sheet).
Resources intended for funders
In addition to the resources listed above, the following links will be especially useful for funders and grantmakers.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy website includes several resources specifically for donors/funders.
Connolly, Paul, Building to Last: A Grantmaker's Guide to Strengthening Nonprofit Organizations, Philadelphia: Conservation Company. This report from a Conservation Company principal addresses the common concerns of grantmakers and nonprofits: how to make better use of limited resources in the face of growing need, and how to stay the course and reach established goals in a volatile, changing environment. (Abstract source: the Foundation Center, Philanthropy News Digest, April 2002)
The Grantmaker Forum on Community & National Service (GFCNS) is an affinity group of grantmakers representing the whole spectrum of philanthropy, including private foundations, individual donors, corporate foundations and community foundations. The Grantmaker Forum is organized around the belief that service-giving of oneself for purposes greater than oneself-is a fundamental value of American democracy; it is a value that should be supported and celebrated. (Source: GFCNS website) The website includes a number of resources and publications available for download, such as:
- Calling the Nation to Serve: A Philanthropic Perspective
- Profiles of Success: Community Foundations in Service to Communities
David, Tom, Reflections on Strategic Grantmaking, Woodland Hills, CA: California Wellness Foundation. One in a series of thought pieces published by the California Wellness Foundation to mark the tenth anniversary of its establishment. In Reflections on Strategic Grantmaking, Tom David, the foundation's executive vice president, addresses the question of what is the most effective use of a funder's philanthropic dollars and concludes that it depends, to a great degree, on a funder's particular perspective. (Abstract source: The Foundation Center, Philanthropy News Digest, April 2002)
Mittenthal, Richard A., Effective Philanthropy: The Importance of Focus, Philadelphia: Conservation Company. Drawing on its nearly two decades of work with grantmaking organizations, the Conservation Company offers a number of suggestions on how to make philanthropic programs more focused and, ultimately, effective. (Abstract source: the Foundation Center, Philanthropy News Digest, April 2002)
The National Network of Grantmakers (NNG) is an organization of individuals involved in funding social and economic justice. Their website includes an extensive list of resources. (Source: NNG website)
© 2002 Learn and Serve America's National Service-Learning Clearinghouse.
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