Frequently Asked Questions
Most new organizations find the most success early on in getting donations from Board members and other individuals who are committed to their mission and work. It may take longer to get foundation grants, as most funders look for a track record of success and multiple years of financial records before considering your application. As a new organization, be prepared to work hard and share your mission and story far and wide, and don’t be afraid to ask others to support your cause.
Congratulations! The first things you will want to do as a new nonprofit are:
- Make sure that you are following all federal and state regulations regarding nonprofits;
- Put strong systems into place, including accounting software, donor databases, and plans for program development, communications, and fundraising; and
- Start collecting information to tell your organization’s story! This means talking to your clients and stakeholders, documenting your program outcomes and results, and working with your Board to develop a strong mission and vision statement.
It’s considered unethical for grant writers to work on commission, and many states consider this practice illegal. Foundation grants, just as any other form of donations or support, are built primarily on the development of relationships (I coach my clients on how to do this). Therefore, Nonprofit Gardener requires payment based on my time invested to research and write a grant, regardless of outcome. For more information on this topic, check out this article from The Nonprofit Times.
Yes! While I will travel to meet with local clients in person for specific projects, I do the majority of my work remotely. At Nonprofit Gardener we use email, phone calls, and Zoom video conference calling to communicate with you on an ongoing basis. I also use several password-protected cloud-based project management systems, including Asana and AirTable, to manage my client projects.
Jennie Swantz, CFRE has been working with nonprofit organizations since 1996, and working in the field of fundraising and development since 2001. I have a BA from Vassar College and a Certificate in Professional Fundraising from Boston University. I am also accredited as a Certified Fund-Raising Executive from CFRE International, the world’s only accredited certification for philanthropic fundraising professionals.
My prices vary depending on the complexity of the project. When you contact me, I will set up a 30-45 minute complimentary phone call or in-person meeting to discuss your organization’s history and needs, and design a custom scope of work to meet your needs. Nonprofit Gardener offers flat fee project pricing, hourly rates, and retainer contracts. My goal is to provide you with usable deliverables that will reduce both time and costs for your organization staff, thereby multiplying your ROI.
Nonprofit Gardener has worked with a wide range of nonprofits, ranging from start-ups in the process of obtaining 501c3 status, to a 95-year-old organization. I have worked with small organizations with budgets of less than $50,000 to national organizations with budgets of over $300 Million. Given this range, my focus is on supporting small nonprofits as well as those organizations who are transitioning to focus more efforts on fundraising. In addition, the bulk of my experience has been in supporting organizations working in the fields of education, youth development, and environmental conservation.