By Melissa Jones—
CENTRAL EAST INDIANA – Nonprofit executives often wear multiple hats, reflects Laura Williamson, who wears both the hats of executive director and artistic director at the Muncie Civic Theater. This can make it difficult to find the time and resources to step back from day-to-day life and respond to larger organizational needs. To address this issue, the Ball Brothers Foundation has, since 2004, partnered with the Indiana Youth Institute to provide grant-funded counseling to nonprofit organizations serving youth in East Central. Indiana.
“We recognize that supporting nonprofits often requires more than just funding; it may require additional expertise, time and coaching to help organizations and their leaders reach their best potential, ”said Jud Fisher, President and CEO of the Ball Brothers Foundation. “Our relationship with IYI allows local youth-serving organizations to tap into that extra support when it’s needed most. “
As part of the partnership, the Ball Brothers Foundation is offering a grant that covers the cost of two nonprofits each year to receive personalized counseling services from the IYI.
“We start by having conversations with these organizations to say, ‘Where are your needs and how can we best help you? Often these are supporting infrastructure, such as strategic planning, sustainability planning, board training or program evaluation, ”comments Tami Silverman, President and CEO of the IYI. “It can be difficult to have the time and resources to allocate to these things on your own.”
For the Muncie Civic Theater, which received funding under this program a few years ago, the consultation focused on staff structuring.
“We were coming out of a $ 3.15 million fundraising campaign, which was an astronomical sum to raise,” said Williamson. “But we had not changed our staff structure internally to support this. We started to realize that it’s not just about fundraising and fundraising, it’s now about supporting what we’ve created – now our endowment model needs to respond to that.
Williamson said the Civic once had employees who were “misinterpreted in their roles.”
“They liked the theater and the job was open, but it probably wasn’t the best role for them,” she said. “As an organization we can now say that we prefer to fight until the right person comes along. “
In addition to endowment advice, the Civic consultant offered advice on fundraising and long-term business strategy.
“I realized I had the ability to manage a business plan,” Williamson said. “A lot of people who go into nonprofit work aren’t business people, including me. So we have to learn the business side, but we can learn it, especially when you are really passionate about what you are doing. I was able to take that leap, and I think other people can too. “
Advisory assistance is available not only for Muncie-based organizations, but also for nonprofit organizations serving youth in the greater East Central Indiana area. In 2018, Marion-based Carey Services also leveraged the consultancy for strategic planning and fundraising.
“We recognized that we really need this external framework for strategic planning as we move forward,” said Jim Allbaugh, president and CEO of Carey Services. “The advice allowed me and our management staff to take a step back and really think about a higher level of altitude. Thinking beyond the day-to-day is sometimes hard to do when we’re in the midst of state and federal regulations and hoops and hurdles to jump through, so having that consultant’s perspective around the table was really essential.
The consultant immersed himself in the organization, attending board meetings, meeting with community members and seeking feedback from stakeholders. In fact, the consultant was so effective that after helping the organization strengthen its strategic plan, Carey Services applied for the grant for a second year.
“What I believe we have now is an exponentially increased awareness of community members about the things we do here in our organization and the positive impact we have here in our community,” Allbaugh said. We wanted to keep that momentum going to really strengthen that impact and see this development of investors and donors manifest in the community. ”
Following the second year of grant support, Allbaugh said Carey Services not only strengthened donor relationships, but was also able to receive grants on a larger scale than she was able to receive in the pass.
Overall, Allbaugh said the consultant’s support was so valuable that Carey Services decided to retain him for a third year, without any financial support from the IYI Organization Capacity Grant.
“Even to this day, he continues to consult with us, and we’ll be looking at what another year’s engagement looks like with him,” Allbaugh said. “And this is all possible thanks to the initial application we fulfilled in 2018 and the great partnership that the IYI and the Ball Brothers Foundation have formed to enable our organization to benefit from it.”
Other organizations, such as Muncie – Delaware County BY5 Early Childhood Initiative, also used the counseling grant to focus on sustainability and board leadership.
Missy Modesitt, executive director of BY5, explained that the board had been without an executive director for some time when she joined the organization.
“They were playing the executive director role as a group of 10 people, so we really had to start forming the group again, coming together as a group with a president as a leader and with an executive director as a leader as well. , “she said.” The effects of the grant — we get things done. Our consultant really helped us structure the meetings so that we could get things done.
In addition to consulting funding, the Organizational Capacity Grant includes a $ 10,000 sub-grant to help execute the strategies resulting from the planning process. For BY5, this funding helps two staff members enroll in an online project management course.
“IYI has supported us and me through every step of this grant process,” Modesitt said. She believes the IYI’s third party perspective is invaluable not only to BY5, but to any organization. “We can always be better. And having an outside perspective of a consultant is so valuable because it allows you to work to be better.
Since the partnership between the Ball Brothers Foundation and the Indiana Youth Institute began in 2004, the grant has supported more than 30 nonprofits in east-central Indiana. One hundred percent of beneficiaries reported a positive impact, said Silverman.
“The organizations that have received this investment from the Ball Brothers Foundation have really benefited from it,” said Silverman. “If you’re on the fence, go ahead and apply. I know there are a lot of things on everyone’s plate right now, and it’s hard to think of moving away from that direct service to making an app, but I think the return on that investment in time is multiplied.
To apply for this year’s East Central Indiana Organizational Capacity Grant, visit iyi.org. The deadline to apply is October 31st. Silverman said the application is a short and straightforward process.
About the Ball Brothers Foundation
The Ball Brothers Foundation is one of the oldest and largest family foundations in the state. Each year, the foundation provides approximately $ 8 million in grants to support arts and culture, education, the environment, health, social services and public affairs. The Muncie-based private foundation prioritizes projects and programs that improve the quality of life in the city, county and state where the foundation originates.
About the Indiana Youth Institute
For more than three decades, the Indiana Youth Institute (IYI) has supported the field of youth services through innovative training, critical data and capacity building resources, aimed at increasing the well-being of all. children. To learn more about IYI, visit iyi.org or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.