Project Management and Fundraising

by Susan Snider on October 30, 2014

Project Management and FundraisingNon-profit organizations raise money for many different reasons: general operating support, program support, supplies and equipment, and capital improvements. Fundraising for a historic preservation or building project brings raising money to another other level and involves project management. These types of projects involve raising significant amounts of money over a long period of time, sometimes years.

After a lot of hard work, you have accomplished your goal. Generous donors and foundations have donated or granted enough money to begin the project. They believe in you and your organization. But oh boy! Everyone is exhausted, burnt out, ready to desert. And you are asking yourself, “How am I going to get the job done?” Hire or recruit a project manager.

What is project management? Marion E. Haynes in her book Project Management, A Practical Guide for Success defines project management as follows: “Project management focuses on a project. A project is an undertaking that has a beginning and an end and is carried out to meet established goals within cost, schedule and quality objectives. Project management brings together and optimizes the resources necessary to successfully complete the project. These resources include the skills, talents and cooperative effort of a team of people; facilities, tools, and equipment; information, systems, and techniques; and money.”

Every project has a defined life cycle which can be broken down into phases. The phases of a project are:

  1. Defining the project
  2. Planning the Project
  3. Procurement
  4. Implementation
  5. Completion and Evaluation

We will explore each of these phases in more detail in future blogs. In the meantime, begin putting together a task list for your project.


Historic Preservation and Project Management

by Susan Snider on October 28, 2014

Historic PreservationRestoring historic buildings can be a complex and long term project. Grant writing and fundraising are only one of many activities of a historic preservation project.

If your organization is contemplating preserving a historic building, step back and look at the whole picture. What are all the activities, jobs, and tasks that need to happen to get the job done? What resources, expertise, and manpower do you need to accomplish your goal? Someone needs to be in charge of managing and coordinating all of these tasks, jobs and activities. We call this project management.

Project management is integral to the success of any historic preservation project. Consider the scope of work and if the organization has the resources and capacity to manage the project. Marion E. Haynes, in her book “Project Management, A Practical Guide for Success” defines project management: “Project management brings together and optimizes the resources necessary to successfully complete the project.” Underestimating the work and skill involved in project management could lead to volunteer burnout and the inability to move the project along or raise the funds necessary to complete it.

The project manager acts as the owners’ representative and is responsible for fundraising, grants management, managing schedules, working with architects, general contractors, tradesmen, donors, government officials and key people in the organization. This can be a contracted position or assigned to a volunteer. Whoever holds this position is in it for the long haul. They work with the organization from the conception of the idea to project completion.


Finding a Grant Which is a Good Fit

October 23, 2014

Applying for a grant which is “almost a good fit” or trying to make your program fit the grant guidelines can be counterproductive. One way to insure your program matches the application is to call the funder and discuss it them. They will give you honest feedback on whether or not it’s a good fit […]

Read the full article →

Grant Myth #3 – Grantmakers are shrouded in secrecy

October 21, 2014

Many of us hesitate to build relationships with grantmakers because of the competitive nature of grants. We feel the grantmakers don’t want to share information. The exact opposite is true. Grantmakers want to give away grants. That is their job. Call the foundation you are interested in applying to. Discuss your project with them. They […]

Read the full article →

Grant Myth #2 – If the program changes we will lose the grant award

October 16, 2014

You wrote an award winning grant proposal, congratulations! However, something happens and there is a significant change to the program as proposed. Grant Myth #2 – If the program changes you will lose the grant award. Not true. Funders have an investment in your program and want you to succeed. Call them, explain the situation […]

Read the full article →

Grant Myth #1 – Grant reviewers are experts in your field

October 14, 2014

Submitting grants is like launching yourself into the great unknown. Understanding the grant making process is key to honing your grant writing skills and increasing the probability of winning grant awards. Grant myth #1 – Grant reviewers are experts in your field. Not true. Grantmakers use many types of people to review grant applications. They […]

Read the full article →

10 Tips for writing a winning grant proposal

October 9, 2014

Do you want to increase the probability of receiving grant awards? Follow these ten steps for writing a winning grant proposal: Only apply for grants which are a perfect fit. Call funder to discuss the project. Plan for plenty of time to complete the application. Follow all the directions of the grant application. Write concisely, […]

Read the full article →

Grant or Donation: What’s the difference?

October 7, 2014

What is the difference between a grant and a donation? A grant is funds that are awarded, typically through a competitive application process. The key to winning grant awards is to target funding that matches the mission and purpose of your organization and submitting a compelling and attractive grant proposal. A donation usually comes from […]

Read the full article →

Burn Out in Volunteer Organizations

October 2, 2014

  Many volunteer organizations suffer from burn out. Volunteers with great ambitions and a desire to make a difference find they can’t manage it all. The common thread which typically runs through an all-volunteer organization is the lack of a fundraising plan. This is a plan which outlines how an organization is going to raise […]

Read the full article →

Top Five Mistakes in Grant Management

September 18, 2014

Grants management encompasses five broad phases. Trying to avoid the five most common mistakes people make in grant management is important to building a sustainable grant seeking program with grant funding being awarded on a consistent basis. Consider these common mistakes: Not applying for grants which are an exact fit for your organization Not applying […]

Read the full article →