Development

Kars4Kids Small Grant Program: A Powerful Thing

Written by: Varda Meyers Epstein, Communications Writer at Kars4Kidskars4kidslogoKars4Kids is a car donation program whose proceeds underwrite educational initiatives for children. We fund things like summer camp scholarships, tutors, and after-school programs. We’ve also created a successful small grant program.

The small grant can be a powerful thing. Take the latest recipient of a Kars4Kids small grant is National Safe Place Network (NSPN). NSPN serves homeless and runaway children. By partnering with NSPN, Kars4Kids extends its reach and diversifies its mission to help still more children.

The Kars4Kids small grant program is a means for recognizing the good work other organizations are doing with children, allowing us to put our imprint on this work, too. Whether it’s a check for $500, $1000, or $5000, a small grant from Kars4Kids says, “This work is valid and excellent, and we stand behind you.”

Over the past two years, the Kars4Kids small grant program has helped fund:

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  • Extracurricular activities, experiences, and wish fulfillment for foster children and their families
  • Summer camp scholarships for science camp
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These small grant recipients each have something in common: they are helping a sector of deserving children that Kars4Kids would not ordinarily reach. The small grant offers a perfect way to partner with beautiful work outside the scope of a single organization’s mission. These grants further show that organizations can network to help each other blossom and grow.

We are excited to receive small grant requests. We love reading about the work of the organizations that apply to Kars4Kids for assistance. Take NSPN, for instance.

NSPN created Safe Place because until it did so, there was no safe place for this very vulnerable sector of children: children without homes, children who have run away from home. Kars4Kids is glad to know that now these children have a place to go where they can get help, warmth, and kindness. The existence of NSPN and of Safe Place tell us that the future holds hope for a brighter world where all children can grow up safe—a kind of world where nothing stands in the way of a child getting an education and getting ahead.

And Kars4Kids stands behind this mission in full.

We stand behind this because at Kars4Kids we believe you can measure a society’s worth by how it treats its more vulnerable sectors. Our children deserve our protection. They deserve to be worry-free as they navigate childhood and the four walls of the classroom.

We know that this is precisely what NSPN is trying to accomplish. NSPN is working to give children back their childhood, that feeling of safety, and the freedom to grow and learn. It’s why Kars4Kids gave NSPN a small grant: we know kids can’t learn if they don’t feel safe. Kars4Kids is proud and glad to partner with organizations like NSPN that make it possible for children to bloom to their fullest potential.

We, at Kars4Kids, are grateful for the opportunities afforded us by our small grant program. We consider it an honor to learn about all the creative ways in which organizations are helping children. It is the fondest hope of Kars4Kids that through the power of our small grant program we can continue to help children, no matter where and who they are, to get ahead and be their best.

 

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Three Ways to Move Your Fundraising Forward

By: Patricia Kern, CFRE, Kern + Associates

There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

For the past 20-plus (ok, 25-plus) years I have been in the non-profit sector. I’ve learned that most of the time those awesome individuals who have ‘fundraising’ in their job descriptions usually have the best instincts, the best listening skills and the best ideas about how to raise needed funds for their organizations.

However, they lack the time to listen to their instincts, act on the information they gathered, or implement their ideas.

I think the Great Gretzky may have the answer to some of the challenges we face in fundraising.

I skate to where the puck is going to be…

How do we know where to skate? Or in other words, where to fundraise? Who to ask?

The best fundraisers I have ever known are readers. They read the local newspapers. They read the business journals, regional magazines, and chamber newsletters to name a few. Why? They are studying. They read about the women and men in leadership in their community and they take note of their companies, their visions, and their plans. They read to anticipate alignment with mission and they take this insight and…

I skate…

Skate. AKA: Move. Do not sit at your desk. Get up and get out of the office. Make appointments with prospects and donors. Schedule coffee time, breakfast huddles, and lunch dates. I know one executive who schedules lunch meetings every day. He schedules them a month out and he has a contact list that is amazing. He is getting to know people of all walks of life and while listening to others, he also builds relationships to share his goals and dreams for his organization. Truth. While you may think there’s no way you could do that every day what if you tried to schedule one lunch meeting a week? It’s all about getting out and skating…

…Not where it has been…

Is there a fundraising pattern at your organization? What? That doesn’t make sense. You’ve likely heard that those that who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it, right? Becoming a student of fundraising means learning what the fundraising story was for your organization a year ago, two years ago or more. Are you raising more or less today? Can you determine why? (If yes, good job! You’re already a good student!) Better yet, do you have a written plan for how to raise more this year? Or next year? If you haven’t yet won it on paper, you don’t have a plan. There are loads of good reading resources on writing fundraising plans but a few of my favorites are:

  • www.GivingUSA.org – This is a resource rich in history and analysis of fundraising.
  • www.simonejoyaux.com – I heard Simone once and it changed my fundraising life. Centering your plans on the donor is essential to your fundraising plan.
  • www.donordreams.wordpress.com – My buddy Erik Anderson has a great blog. Plus he’s cool.

Listen to Gretzky, Fundraiser. You are Great, too.