BarnRaisers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE CAPE & ISLANDS
NONPROFIT ALLIANCE

The following grant application was  submitted on February 19, 2004, to the Barnstable County Economic Development Council.  The grant is being requested by a collaboration of the Community Foundation of Cape Cod, SustainCapeCod.Org (the Cape Cod Center for Sustainability), and the Cape and Islands United Way.  The grant writer is Lisa B. McNeill, Program Officer for the Community Foundation of Cape Cod.


The Community Foundation of Cape Cod, in partnership with the Cape Cod Center for Sustainability and the Cape and Islands United Way, respectfully submits this proposal for $20,000 to the Cape Cod Economic Development Council (EDC) for support of a new Cape & Islands Nonprofit Alliance (CINA), which will include the Community Foundation’s Nonprofit Support Program.

       This program assists in enhancing the capacity and efficacy of local nonprofit organizations through training and technical assistance, sharing resources among nonprofit organizations, and becoming a new model of management support on Cape Cod. 

       The Foundation will implement the CINA in partnership with the Cape Cod Center for Sustainability and the Cape and Islands United Way.  All partners have an investment, through their grant making and/or advocacy, in the sustainability of the nonprofit sector on Cape Cod.  During the past two months, these partners have discussed the importance of management efficiencies in making the best use of limited financial resources.

       The partners brought this discussion as a next step by a presentation of a model for management support to about 30 nonprofit representatives in January 2004.  The overwhelming consensus was to proceed with the development of a program or system to enhance the operational side of nonprofit organizations.

       The vision for the CINA is to combine various programs or activities that support and assist the nonprofit sector with organizational development and capacity issues into one umbrella network for a more comprehensive and effective model of service to the sector.  The goals of the CINA are the following:

  • To support the organizational development and governance expertise of nonprofit organizations in order to better serve the Cape Cod and Islands communities

  • To provide a structure for nonprofit organizations to share resources and management efficiency opportunities, which will save money and use other resources more effectively

  • To build collaborations among nonprofit organizations in order to more effectively share resources and serve the communities of Cape Cod and the Islands

       Funding from the EDC will be used in the following ways:

  • To continue the Foundation's Nonprofit Support Program activities—such as holding workshops and making capacity-building grants

  • To develop additional components of the CINA

  • To promote the CINA within the nonprofit sector and the community at large

       One piece of the initiative that is already operational is the Nonprofit Support Program.  Additionally, the United Way’s new CapeCorps Volunteer Center would be a partner providing volunteer manpower and expertise to improve nonprofit operations.  Another component of the CINA would be the introduction of a management support organization (MSO) to identify areas of management integration and collaboration.  In turn, these efforts might result in joint purchasing agreements and pooled service contracts, which would allow the nonprofits to obtain high-quality goods and services for less money than they could obtain on their own as individual organizations.

       The nonprofit sector is a viable industry on Cape Cod with over 1,000 nonprofit organizations.  The nonprofit sector provides necessary health and human services and educational and economic development services, as well as environmental and cultural benefits to Cape Cod.  The Cape & Islands Nonprofit Alliance will provide organizational development assistance to the nonprofit sector, which will enable it to serve the Cape Cod community more effectively. 

       Organizational management needs of the nonprofit sector have been determined through direct-mail surveys (one such survey was done in 2001), feedback from workshop participants, Executive Directors' Roundtable discussions, and informal conversations with nonprofit representatives.  The existing Executive Directors' Roundtable will act as an advisory committee for the creation of the Cape & Islands Nonprofit Alliance, helping to establish priority areas and promoting the idea of such an alliance within the nonprofit sector and the community at large.  The Foundation, the Center for Sustainability, and the United Way will co-chair an advisory group of participants in the Executive Directors’ Roundtable.

 

Project Description

 

The Nonprofit Support Program

The Foundation's Nonprofit Support Program will be the  centerpiece for establishing the Cape & Islands Nonprofit Alliance because this program is already known to many Cape organizations.  The goal of the Nonprofit Support Program is to enhance the capacity of nonprofit organizations to strategically identify,  secure,  utilize,  and effectively manage on-  and off-Cape resources to meet the needs of Cape Cod and the Islands.   Over the past six years, the Foundation has worked to coordinate a regional program to help nonprofit leaders manage their limited resources more effectively and creatively.   During that time, the Foundation has worked with Cape Cod Healthcare, the Cape and Islands United Way, the Barnstable County Department of Human Services, the Tech Foundation,  and others to provide training and assistance in areas significant to their operations. 

       The Foundation will continue to take the lead to further develop and expand training and technical assistance to the nonprofit sector by offering the following services:

  • Seminars and workshops on topics based on the needs of nonprofits such as strategic management, program planning and design, program evaluation, and grant writing.

  • Organizational assessment tools for  evaluating the operations and capacity of nonprofit groups and determining their readiness for capacity-building grants and technical assistance (copy sent to EDC in 2002).

  • Capacity-building grants, designed to support the organizational development of nonprofit organizations  (or coalition of organizations).  

  • Executive Directors’ and Development Directors’ Quarterly Roundtable meetings for networking, information sharing, and speakers on timely organizational development subjects.

  • Short-term technical assistance and guidance in strategic planning, program planning and design,  and grant writing as well as in other broad management areas. 

  • Resources  such as the nonprofit consultant directory to help nonprofits in identifying appropriate consulting assistance and the nonprofit resource library at  Cape Cod Community College.

  • Partnership with Cape Cod Online to implement www.capecodvillagegreen.com, a Web site for local Cape Cod nonprofit agencies.   Groups have their own Web page on the site and can post calendar events and organization news.

       This year, the Foundation will expand the support for the capacity-building grants initiative to nonprofit organizations.  

      
As is the case with many foundations, the Community Foundation of Cape Cod offers mostly program-related grants through its general and initiative grant-making programs.  Although staff members often see that a grant for some specific organizational management issue could benefit an entire organization through improved efficiencies, such proposals fall outside of our guideline criteria.  However, with EDC assistance the Nonprofit Support Program will create a pool of funding earmarked for organizational development and capacity-building activities to enhance the skills of staff and board members of nonprofits.  This support will better position these organizations to attract, manage, and retain outside funding, thereby improving sustainability in the nonprofit sector.   

      
Prior to applying for a capacity-building grant or for technical assistance, an independent consultant will conduct the Capacity Building Organizational Assessment Tool with the applicant to evaluate the existing capacity of the organization and its readiness for the specified assistance.  Issues that the assessment might reveal include an unclear mission and/or programming that does not reflect the mission of the organization; lack of board governance; and/or lack of financial accountability.  Results from the assessment will be a major factor in determining grant and assistance awards.

      Through the Nonprofit Support Program, varying levels of assistance are given to organizations depending on the needs and capacity of the organizations  (or coalitions of organizations).   Training workshops and seminars and the Consultant Directory are available to all organizations.  Additionally,  short-term technical assistance and capacity-building grants are available to those organizations that take part in an organizational assessment study and are determined to be at a level of  capacity sufficient for that type of assistance to be used effectively.  By providing appropriate levels of assistance to all organizations, the Foundation strengthens the level of operational capacity across the entire nonprofit sector.

         While the Foundation does charge a fee for training workshops and requires some match for consulting services, it has come to understand that the services need to be subsidized through grants to the Nonprofit Support Program in order to make the services accessible and beneficial to all Cape Cod nonprofit organizations.  The Foundation has been successful in obtaining co-sponsors for training workshops, which decreases the cost of implementing the workshops.  We will continue to fund-raise for the Nonprofit Support Program, and we will promote sponsorships and partnerships and investigate other fee structures as well.

The Cape & Islands Nonprofit Alliance

To build upon the activities of the Nonprofit Support Program and to provide more comprehensive and effective services to the nonprofit sector, the Foundation, the Cape Cod Center for Sustainability, and the United Way will establish the Cape & Islands Nonprofit Alliance (CINA) this year as an umbrella network for nonprofit support.  To achieve this goal, the Foundation's existing Executive Directors’ Roundtable group will serve as an advisory  committee,  helping to set priority areas of work and promoting the idea of the CINA within the nonprofit sector and in the larger community. 

       Within this first year, we will have established the framework for the nonprofit alliance along with a general understanding within the nonprofit community about the mission of the CINA.  The CINA will be managed by the Foundation in the beginning, but it may spin off to be a separate entity as its components grow.  Certain components of the CINA will be managed by separate organizations (for example, the  Nonprofit Support Program and CapeCorps), but they will be included in the framework of providing services to the nonprofit sector. 

       The CapeCorps Volunteer Center will be an important component of the CINA because nonprofits face an ever-increasing need for their programs and services due to extensive  state and federal budget cuts in human services budgets.  

        We will also investigate and test various joint purchasing options and/or pooled service agreements (for example,  insurance, personnel management, payroll, bookkeeping, and IT services) to assist the nonprofit sector in cutting costs.  We know from our work with the nonprofit sector that these joint purchasing and pooled service agreements will be well received because of the current dual situation of rising costs (such as health care and other insurances) and declining contributions from state and federal budgets.   The Executive Directors' Roundtable has, in fact, discussed the idea of joint purchasing agreements in the past.

         The CINA will be a membership-based organization; however, the timing and the fee structure have yet to be discussed,  and they will be decided upon with the advisory committee.   While offering services and cost-saving measures to the nonprofit sector, we do not want to add an unrealistic financial burden to them or base the sustainability of the CINA on an unrealistic financial plan.  The success of the CINA will come from the high participation of nonprofit organizations. For example,  the larger the constituency the CINA represents, the lower the prices it will be able to negotiate for goods and services.

Goals and Outcomes

 The goals of the Cape & Islands Nonprofit Alliance are outlined below.

To support the organizational development and governance expertise of nonprofit organizations so that they may better serve the Cape Cod and Islands communities

To this end, the Foundation will continue its Nonprofit Support Program, partnering with other assistance providers when appropriate, to provide workshops, roundtable meetings, technical assistance, grants, and information to the nonprofit sector related to organizational development and capacity-building issues.

The outcomes from meeting this goal will include the following:
  • Increased skills and capacity of nonprofit staff and board members in the areas of organizational development and governance, and a higher level of management across the sector

  • More effective organizational development and governance practices being implemented, thereby assisting to develop better-run nonprofits and more efficient use of resources

  • Improved networking among nonprofit organization representatives who attend workshops and roundtable meetings, leading to more cooperative programs and initiatives, and possibly to nonprofit mergers in the future

To support the organizational development and governance expertise of nonprofit organizations so that they may better serve the Cape Cod and Islands communities

To this end, the Foundation will continue its Nonprofit Support Program, partnering with other assistance providers when appropriate, to provide workshops, roundtable meetings, technical assistance, grants, and information to the nonprofit sector related to organizational development and capacity-building issues.

The outcomes from meeting this goal will include the following:

  • Improved assistance to the nonprofit sector by providing a formal framework for nonprofits to tap into (that is,  one place to ask for assistance although assistance might come from various agencies)

  • Reduced operational and management costs for the nonprofit sector, which may be used to provide additional services to the community, through providing joint purchasing and pooled outsourced services opportunities to nonprofit organizations

  • More efficient purchasing and contracting practices within the nonprofit sector through the joint purchasing and/or pooled service models

To build collaborations among nonprofit organizations so that they can more effectively share resources and serve the communities of Cape Cod and the Islands

The Foundation, the Cape Cod Center for Sustainability,  and the United Way believe that one of the goals of the CINA should be to promote and encourage more collaboration among nonprofit organizations.  We believe that this will happen through such activities as training workshops, technical assistance programs,  joint purchasing, and pooled services purchasing and that these activities will promote a positive model for future collaborations within the nonprofit sector.

The outcomes from meeting this goal will include the following:

  • Creation of one, large nonprofit collaboration (alliance) for nonprofit assistance, including assistance providers, serving as a model of collaboration

  • Creation of smaller nonprofit collaborations—perhaps organized around interest areas—that can share resources for the nonprofit organizations and/or provide services to the community

Evaluation

An overall evaluation of this program will be conducted at the end of the first year.  The CINA’s results will be assessed mostly through quantifiable measures in the first year, including such things as how many organizations are involved with the CINA and in what capacity and how many programs or activities are a part of the CINA model.  Long-term results, which would be more qualitative, would start to be measured in the second or third year.

       The Nonprofit Support Program measures its progress  in terms of both quantitative data (for example, the  number of workshops held, the number of attendees, and the number of consultant directories distributed and/or the number of conversations related to consultants to be used)  and qualitative data, which we receive through written evaluations, which are usually distributed and gathered after each workshop and formal consultation.  The Foundation uses this information to help design and refine its workshops and activities.

       To promote the activities of the CINA and Nonprofit Support Program, we will send flyers and informational materials to a list of over 550 nonprofit representatives and send press releases to all of the newspapers and radio stations.  We will also use the Executive Directors’ Roundtable network to spread the word about the CINA and its services.

Project Timetable 

March 2004 through May 2004

  • The Foundation, the Center for Sustainability,  and the United Way hold meetings with the Executive Directors’ Roundtable to discuss the CINA structure and priority areas for coming year

  • Implement two spring workshops series  

  • Update the Consultant Directory,  and  reprint and distribute it

June 2004 through August 2004

  • Develop specific guidelines for capacity-building grants and distribute them to nonprofit sector, including press releases to newspapers and radio stations

  • Research joint purchasing agreements and pooled services contracts as related to Roundtable priorities

  • Plan two to three fall workshops 

  • Convene the Quarterly Executive Directors’ Roundtable meeting; report back on information gathered

September 2004 through December 2004

  • Review capacity-building grant proposals; use organizational assessment tool with applicants that best meet criteria; award grants 
  • Hold two to three fall workshops; plan for spring workshops

  • Promote the CINA in the nonprofit community, giving particular emphasis to the benefits of becoming an “alliance member”

  • Convene the Quarterly Executive Directors’ Roundtable meeting; report back on information gathered

January 2005 through March 2005

  • Move forward on joint purchasing agreements; publicize to community

  • Hold spring workshops

  • Conduct evaluation of first year of program; refine and further develop structure of the alliance

  • Implement year 2 of the program 

  • Convene Quarterly Executive Directors’ Roundtable meeting; report back on information gathered

Implementation Plan

The Community Foundation, the Cape Cod Center for Sustainability, and the United Way believe that the Cape & Islands Nonprofit Alliance addresses a number of questions stated in the EDC’s License Plate Small Grants Program:

  • Innovative use of Cape Cod resources:  This initiative seeks to use resources in the most effective and efficient ways possible to support the nonprofit sector and the community at large. 
  • Support the retention and/or expansion of an existing program that will help participants access training services, improve productivity, upgrade workforce skills, and foster expanded opportunities for increasing income: Support from the EDC will help to fund activities that provide training and technical assistance to staff and board members of nonprofit organizations in order to build the skills of the agency’s representatives while enhancing the effectiveness of the organization.  The CINA will also improve productivity and increase income through shared cost-saving measures. 
  • Added-value to an existing set of activities so that their economic impact and/or benefit is increased:   The various activities of the CINA will be better promoted and targeted to the nonprofit community through the combined efforts of the CINA partners and by having an easily identified umbrella organization.  Additionally, support from the EDC for the capacity-building grants, which we have been unable to offer in the past year due to a lack of funding, would greatly increase the value of the other activities that are part of the Nonprofit Support Program.  While workshops and information help many organizations with the initial steps of putting management practices in place, some organizations greatly benefit from one-to-one assistance.
  • Direct and measurable results:   Evaluation tools are included in the program delivery of each component of this initiative.  To measure the outcomes of the CINA,  short-term and long-term follow-up will be conducted to determine how the CINA has enhanced the development of a well-run and enterprising nonprofit sector.

       The Community Foundation of Cape Cod will serve as the lead organization on this initiative.   The Foundation is a charitable community trust organized as a nonprofit in 1989, with a mission to improve the quality of life for the people of Cape Cod through the support of educational and charitable programs.  The Foundation has planned and implemented the Nonprofit Support Program for six years, providing assistance to, and establishing relationships with, nonprofit organizations of every size and in every area of work.

       The Community Foundation of Cape Cod, the Cape Cod Center for Sustainability and the Cape & Islands United Way seek funding in the amount of $20,000 to assist in establishing the Cape & Islands Nonprofit Alliance.   This funding will help to support workshops, capacity-building grants, and the administration of the Cape & Islands Nonprofit Alliance.  EDC funding will help to meet matches and leverage additional funding to meet the needs of local nonprofit organizations so that they may more effectively provide services to the Cape Cod community.