I was supposed to do a blog post yesterday and I missed my target.  But…I have a very good excuse.

All this week, the Bayer Center is hosting The Grantsmanship Center’s Training Program.  I am attending and it is awesome!  I am learning so much about grants and the search/proposal process.  Development is certainly an art form!

The trainer from TGC is excellent as well.  She very obviously has years of experience in development and proposal writing and shares her knowledge as well as lots of real world examples and stories.  Today we start working in groups and will produce a full-fledged proposal by 1:30 tomorrow afternoon!

If anyone wants to learn more about this workshop, here’s the link to the information for it on TGC’s website: http://www.tgci.com/gtptraining.shtml.

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flickr photo: mintimage

We’re bringing our training to your desk in the form of two webinars next month.  If you’ve never attended a webinar, it’s more painless than parking downton: log on, call in, participate, log off, go back to work.  Heck, you can attend in your robe in your living room.

 

Effective Presentations: Stories and Stats

Tuesday, May 12 and Tuesday May 19 • 10–11 a.m.

There are few things more horrible than losing your audience. Two things can contribute to wandering attention: narrative that lacks a human touch, and visuals that fight with your narrative. Present information in a way that keeps your audience awake and engaged. Learn how to make PowerPoint slides that looks good while perfectly enhancing and complementing your talk. We help you structure your content for maximum interest and show you all the great features PowerPoint has to offer.

Instructor: Jeff Forster, Bayer Center

Register Online: http://tinyurl.com/BayerCenterRegistration

Proposals That Get the Grant
Thursday, May 21 from 10 a.m.–noon 

Take that great idea and get it funded! But how? This class explores the indispensable principles of writing winning proposals:

• develop a strategic approach to funders

• identify what you need to know before you start writing

• learn the basic elements of successful proposals

• understand what you need to communicate

Instructor: Teresa Gregory, Robert Morris University

Register Online: http://tinyurl.com/BayerCenterRegistration

Have a question or something to add to this post? Leave a comment, and you’ll be entered to win a 1 GB USB drive. One winner per week until the end of May.

Last week’s announcement of the Presto Fund demands one key question of regional nonprofits: Can we truly transform ourselves?

The Presto Fund, in case you’ve been lost on some desert island, is the new fund created by CMU alumnus Dominic Presto “to free nonprofits from the grinding pressure of daily fundraising and enable them to focus on innovative, system-changing service delivery models.” With initial assets of around $1 billion, and expected to grow significantly from there, the Fund is a major new philanthropic force in Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania.steel

According to its website, the Presto Fund will:

“.. provide a minimum of $50 million annually in multi-year, unrestricted grants of at least $100,000 for overhead, management, administration, and research and development. The Fund will not offer program-related funding, nor will it limit the number of consecutive years of support it may grant. The Fund seeks to free its recipient agencies from the cycle of fundraising and enable them to focus on figuring out how to do what they do best even better.”

To really understand the philosophy that drives the Presto Fund, it’s important to know a little about Mr. Presto.

Dominic Presto is from a small, southwestern Pennsylvania town. His father was one of the last deep-mine coal miners in the region and was tragically killed in a mining accident when Dominic was just 8 years old. The mining company went bankrupt as a result of the accident, and what little settlement the family got was lost after the mine owners talked Dominic’s mother into investing in a new mine that turned out to be a scam.  For the rest of his childhood and most of his teen years, Dominic (an only child) and his mother lived on friends’ couches on the good days and in the street or shelters the rest of the time.

Given his success later in life, it’s not surprising that Dominic was an extremely bright child. He has often said that very early on as he bounced from shelter to shelter, he was perplexed by seeing the same faces over and over again. Why, he wondered, couldn’t these agencies change the system?

Dominic earned a scholarship to Carnegie Mellon University (then Carnegie Tech) and became an engineer. He spent the next 20 years in research departments where, in his words, he was “the driving force behind more hare-brained failures than Homer Simpson!” Eventually, he came up with a concept for using rice syrup as an annealing agent in the fabrication of steel that was so far-out his usually tolerant bosses refused to let him work on it. So he left, formed his own company… and today he’s giving billions of dollars to philanthropy.

The Presto Fund appears to be a dream come true. A simple application process, openness to all types of regionally-located nonprofits, and unrestricted, multi-year funding of at least $100,000. So, the question is, are we ready for it? Are we ready to become risk-takers? Are we willing to fail? Do we have the discipline to stay rigorous when the worry over funding is removed?

Mr. Presto did not get where he did by continuing to do things the same old way. And he won’t fund us if we do.

Finally, as you consider transforming your agency through the generosity of this major new funder, keep in mind one last requirement from the Presto Fund’s website:

“The Presto Fund will not support nonprofits that are taken in by blog entries posted on April 1st.”