By: Harvey B. Chess
Publication Date: July 2019
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
There are many sectors where quality mentors are needed to teach the intricacies of an industry; a person who owns the knowledge it takes to help others find success. The realm of nonprofit and charitable organizations is one that can claim a highly respected mentor by the name of Harvey B. Chess. This author has been kind enough to put his knowledge on paper so that he can teach the reader how to create a funding proposal, and how a nonprofit/charity can achieve success by bringing in money and building a mission statement that works.
This book is a combination of great insight and practical applications. However, don't think this is just about how to fundraise. This book is focused on issues a nonprofit must take on in order to better approach a funding source as a potential partner, not simply as a person or organization that hands over money.
The benefits to be learned begin from the very first page, when the author shows how nonprofits have a tendency to confuse mission statements. Think about that. The mission statement is the very core of why a nonprofit is put together in the first place. What Mr. Chess does is show how a mission statement should not only be an announcement of what a charity will do, but also how it will be done. Example: Whether your mission is to help, to build, to achieve, etc., it must also show how these things will be accomplished. In other words, a mission is “to help” or “to support” by “providing,” “delivering,” etc. If written that way, potential contributors know what the mission is, but also learn how their donations would be spent.
The book then heads further into the specifics of how to put together an effective funding proposal. Not only are there steps on what to cover while writing a proposal, but readers are also shown every nook and cranny there is out there for funding. You learn that 90% of the money available in this world for charitable purposes (in the non-government sector), comes from living individuals: through their investments and wishes while alive, and through their wills so that the giving can continue after their deaths. Under this umbrella are facts on how to deal with face-to-face transactions, as well as how to make personal relationships that last. The author also covers the facts regarding the other 10% of money coming from the business/corporation sectors. He shows how writing your proposal should be only one aspect of your funding/marketing plan and not the entirety of how you gain success. The word is “diversify,” and this book shows how to build several paths over time to enable your nonprofit/charity to live on.
We are not talking about theories, here. We are talking about how to be proactive as a nonprofit, as well as when not to overthink—how to carefully craft your proposal and hit “send” on that computer of yours with conviction. Helpful charts and figures are included that cover everything from ‘a proposal framework’ showing the phases of development and finalization of your grant proposal; to one that easily explains each component of your nonprofit’s engine. There’s also a ‘tool kit’ section that covers proposal writing dos and don’ts, a simple guide to project planning, and more. The author writes: “Creating proposals has the potential to sharpen the focus of your organization.” I must add, learning from this mentor will also sharpen your focus.
Skillfully written and highly needed, I suspect this book will have dog-eared pages because of the amount of time you’ll read the information while putting it to great use.
Quill says: Clear a place on your desk for this treasure.