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Lessons Learned from #AskSBF Drop-in Hours

Community Investments Team 2017

#AskSBF Drop-in Hours provide nonprofit personnel the opportunity to “drop in” without an appointment to ask detailed questions to the Community Investment Officer for a grant program and receive technical assistance on submitting grant applications. Now that we are half way through 2017, we thought it would be beneficial to reach out to the nonprofits that have participated in #AskSBF Drop-In Hours to learn how we can improve them. Some of the feedback we received so far is shared below, but we want to hear from you! How do you think that we can improve our technical assistance?

“I brought my grant writer with me to the session and she was able to create a plan of action to submit a capital improvement grant application based on what she learned during the meeting,” said Jeremy Deming, Executive Director and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Maria Valley. “Of all the foundations we work with, the Santa Barbara Foundation is one of the best at providing technical support before, during and after the grant writing process.”

“While we didn’t get the grant, I found the foundation staff helpful and encouraging,” said Jace Turner, Community Relations Librarian at the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation. “The whole experience was really positive and the only thing I would change is that maybe have sign-ups for the drop-in hours. I felt lucky that there was only one person in front of me – otherwise I may have had to leave.”

“I love the drop-in hours because they work with a sometimes unpredictable nonprofit schedule,” said Krista Delia, Senior Program Director of the Santa Maria Valley YMCA, “Additionally, the foundation staff is so easy to work with and they patiently guide you through the process. The advice that they give is not only relevant to their own application process, but also translates to other grants at other foundations and helps build stronger organizations throughout the community.”

“I was surprised that we were the only ones at the drop-in hours because I think getting the face time with funders helps you better understand their priorities and some of the nuances of the grant opportunities,” said Delene Goodell Bliss, Director of Development at Storyteller Children’s Center. “Building that personal connection with staff provides more insight and an increased level of comfort in asking questions and approaching the foundation. I would absolutely encourage other nonprofits to attend and I also think that it would be helpful if the foundation gave us some examples of ‘what not to do.’”

“I personally did not attend office hours because I have applied for grants at the foundation many times and attended other information sessions,” said Laurie Marx, Executive Assistant and Grants Manager at Ganna Walska Lotusland. “I do think it is a really terrific idea, though, and I have definitely called the foundation staff when I needed advice or assistance.”

The Santa Barbara Foundation will continue to collect feedback and make any necessary changes to our grant application process in 2018. For any questions about #AskSBF Drop-In Hours or your specific grant application, please contact Amy Schneider, Director of Grantmaking and Nonprofit Excellence, at aschneider@sbfoundation.org or another member of the Community Investments team. If you have any suggestions, recommendations or other feedback about how we can improve technical assistance for the nonprofit community, please contact Tara Schoenborn, Communications Officer, at tschoenborn@sbfoundation.org.

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