There are many resources available to you through the Community Foundation of Carroll County and with other organizations. The trick is finding out what's available and how to access them. Here are five nonprofit (and general organizational) resources you can use to access grants, learn operational best practices, market your nonprofit, and increase your network.
There are many resources available to you through the Community Foundation of Carroll County and with other organizations. The trick is finding out what’s available and how to access them. Here are five local resources for building stronger nonprofits. Use these resources to access grants, learn operational best practices, market your nonprofit, and increase your network.
Tip #1: Nonprofit Center Grant Library
The Nonprofit Center is home to one of the best kept secrets of the nonprofit community — The Foundation Directory Online Grant Library. The subscription-based service is free to Funds of the Community Foundation of Carroll County. Located on the main floor of 255 Clifton Boulevard, Westminster, the grant library computer is available by appointment. This is a valuable resource because access to info on 1000s of grants is by subscription on the Candid (formerly GuideStar) portal. Searching for grants is easy — you can search by Need or by Grantmaker, and all you need to get started is an idea, need or even just curiosity of what grants are out there. Searches can be refined to really drill down to find grants that are best suited for your need, making the opportunities that more relevant to your nonprofit.
Contact Sandi Schneider to make an appointment. She will help get you started.
Tip #2: Carroll Community College Pathways to Entrepreneurship Certificate
Have you ever thought about how similar business best practices and nonprofit management are? Practically identical, really. Just change the language — Customers to Clients; Investors to Donors; Marketing to, well, Marketing — and you can apply traditional entrepreneurial ideas to your nonprofit. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC), in partnership with Carroll Community College, is delivering this 2-course online program. CFCC and SBDC have confirmed that this program is available to nonprofit leaders. Best of all, scholarships are available for those who register in Spring 2023! Courses begin in mid-May, June and July.
Tip #3: Social Networking
There are so many networking opportunities in and around Carroll County that it can be overwhelming. Where should you start, what can you attend (is membership required?), and how do you fit it all into your already packed schedule? It’s enough to make you go home and pull up the covers! But…networking is a great way to meet community leaders, potential donors and constituents. Start small and local and work your way out. Practice your “elevator speech” and develop a few icebreaker questions of your own. (Check out the April 2023 enewsletter article on Telling Prospective Donors what you Do.)
Not camera shy? Consider signing up to present at 1 Million Cups Westminster on Wednesday mornings at MAGIC in Westminster.
If your nonprofit is a member of a local chapter of the Chamber of Commerce be sure to attend sponsored networking events and consider hosting one yourself.
Bottom line — don’t be shy about telling your story and saying YES to invites, even if it feels businessy.
Tip #4: Other CFCC Funds
We like to tell people when they bring their Fund or Scholarship to the Community Foundation of Carroll County, “Welcome to the Family!” That’s because we are a family, support network and part of a greater purpose. In order to foster that family feeling, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Fund cohorts. In many cases Fund Admins and Managers are happy to offer info, share experiences and just be there for each other. Not sure where to start? Visit our website WeAreCarroll.org and visit the Funds and Scholarship pages for a listing of all the member Funds (we are adding contact info to the new website lists). Make connections and ask for help — or offer to help mentor — from others who have been there, done that. You can also support Funds by attending their events and programs and celebrating them at our annual Philanthropists of the Year event in September!
Tip #5: CFCC Staff
We are here for you! Need help with marketing or communications? Set up an appointment with Sharon Tillman, director of communications. Sharon can advise on social media, event planning and related fields. Need help with accounts or specific Fund questions? Melody Schudel, program director, is there to answer your questions. Not sure who you need? Email email@example.com and your question will be delivered to the person best equipped to help you.
Being a CFCC Fund means that you are never alone. You are part of an amazing network of nonprofits working to make Carroll County and beyond a better place. That one thing connects us all. We are truly better together. These resources can help us all work better and deliver more help to those we serve!