In this episode, we dive into the numbers and data behind grants, uncovering some interesting philanthropic trends.
Holly Rustick , CEO & Bestselling Author | Grant Writing & Funding
Holly has been writing grants for 15+ years, immersing herself in the grant world and securing millions of dollars for nonprofits around the world! Holly is also an Amazon bestselling author, podcast host of Grant Writing & Funding, and world-renowned grant writing expert.
Holly has been on both sides of the grant writing coin – writing them and winning grants as well as managing and reviewing them on behalf of numerous organizations. Using this experience, she has created an extensive database of grant writing and funding-related online courses. she also offers workshops and provides coaching for people who want to transition into freelance grant writing to earn a full-time income.
On the nerdy side, she holds a Master’s Degree in International Political Economy and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. She is also a professor at the University of Guam, Past President of the Guam Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and editor of the Storyboard journal.
One of the biggest concerns that people have for having work is having meaningful work. And nonprofits really set that token. As long as they can communicate and not burn out their people.Tammy Tilzey:
Hello and welcome to our In Connected Philanthropy podcast. Today we are privileged to have Holly Rustic from the Grant Writing and Funding podcast. As our guest, Holly coaches thousands of people every week teaching them how to take action. Real bite sized steps in grant writing and entrepreneurship through her books, podcasts, online hub haven many different ways. Thank you so much for joining us today, Holly.Holly Rustick:
Thank you. Tammy, this is so exciting. I'm super excited to be back on the Foundant podcast. I love it here. You guys do amazing work. So thank you for inviting me.Tammy Tilzey:
Thank you. And as you mentioned, we've had you on before and we're glad to bring you back. And this time we're excited to be talking about trends in the grant world with you. I know you're constantly talking to influencers on your own podcast, thought leaders, experts, etc. so I'm very interested in getting your insights on the opportunities you see coming up on the horizon.Tammy Tilzey:
So let's dive in. But before we get too deep into grants and trends, can you first tell our listeners a little about your A little bit about yourself maybe since we had you on our podcast last year, is there anything new with you or your podcast or something you're excited about coming up this year?Holly Rustick:
Yeah, we have so much going on in grant writing and finding it's so fun to look at, you know, every year how how we're growing and how we're really able to serve so many people in nonprofits and in grant writers, people looking to start their own grant writing businesses. So one of the great things that we have coming up is we were talking about it last time when I was on the podcast was the nonprofit consulting conference, and that was an amazing first conference for the annual conference.Holly Rustick:
We're having it again. And of course Foundant Technologies is our presenting speaker or presented sponsor. So thank you so much. We're so excited about that. And that will be August 20th 1324 and it'll be online. It is going to be amazing. So if you are a nonprofit consultant looking to know when to grow your business, that's definitely something that you want to jump into.Holly Rustick:
But other things we have going on, of course, is we're continually growing our grant writing and funding podcast, like you mentioned, bringing on thought leaders, delving into our grant, writing online courses, our nonprofit strategic courses, and of course our mentorship with grant writing professionals. So yeah, what's going on That's exciting.Tammy Tilzey:
And yes, I was involved with that conference as well. But the feedback from consultants on so actionable all the insights and tips that they are busily implementing right now. So I'll put a link to this year's conference in our show notes.Holly Rustick:
Yeah. And you had an amazing session last year too, Tammy, So thank you so much. Talking about how to partner. So that was really wonderful.Tammy Tilzey:
Yeah. You cover such a breadth of what, what consultants are really wondering and they feel like they're out there by themselves a little bit. So bringing them all together and talking about what what you've done to be successful, it's great to give them that jump start. Speaking of a star. We're near the start of a new year now, so this is a great time to ask, you know, what are those trends or opportunities you see coming this year in the grant world?Holly Rustick:
Yeah. So we have, you know, a lot coming up. And I know there's a lot of questions about that, right? We're in the middle of inflation. There's a lot of talk about a recession coming down the pipeline or possibly already being in one. There's just a lot of chatter about money right now. And and, you know, so to really analyze that, what I've done is had to really go back and look at for the last several years, I've been tracking especially federal grant spending to see what's going on, because even in COVID that was a lot of fear.Holly Rustick:
Will there be any more federal monies for grants? Right. That was a big fear. And when we look so just I have some the notes today. So when we look, we can really look and see. Okay, we have to go back to 2019 to really understand what happened through the pandemic. And today with federal grant funding. Right. To really understand like, is it growing?Holly Rustick:
Is it not? Like what was the normal before? And in 2019, we had over 458,000 federal grants awarded. That was $4.7 trillion in grants and in fixed spending for the federal government. When we looked at 2020, we definitely grew in grant funding, right? So we went up from 458000 to 482000. So there were more grants. But the big note in 2020 was the amount of funding.Holly Rustick:
We went from 4.7 trillion to 6.8 trillion. So not only were there more grants, there was a lot more money funneled out, which, you know, we look back, doesn't surprise us. A lot of this was in the health industry, education industry. That's where we saw a lot of the grants going. And as we maneuvered into 2021, we actually saw this exponentially increase, which was interesting because, you know, a lot of it was like, okay, this is going to be around for another year.Holly Rustick:
So we saw 570,000 grant. So that went up from 482 in 2020 to 570. In 2021 was 7.5 trillion. So we went up almost another trillion. So it was a lot of money, but now it's happening right now we really need to look at 2022 because I think that's when we started kind of leveling out. But that was also inflation, right?Holly Rustick:
So what happened with federal spending there and for your for your listeners, I know there's a lot of numbers kicked around, but let's look at in 2021, five, 70,000 570,000 federal grants, 2022, we actually declined to 512,000 grants. So we went back not to pre levels like 2019. Remember that was 458,000, but we are starting to settle back down the amount of money, huge amount 2021, 7.5 trillion, 2022, 6.5 trillion.Holly Rustick:
So still above pre-pandemic levels at 4.7 trillion, right? Still quite a bit above. So there is there are more grants from pre-pandemic levels, more money, but I believe is starting to sort of settle out. Right. This is just federal grants, mind you. Right. But we are seeing federal grants and spending. We are seeing also there was a huge difference then this in 2022, also from the leveling out of Department of Education grants.Holly Rustick:
So we saw the biggest monies going in 2020, 2021. So we are starting to see that dropped a lot in 2022 for Department of Education. Department of Health is still really huge. Of course, and giving out grants, but we are starting to see some priority shifting and some decreasing of funds, although it's still well above pre-pandemic levels. And I believe with this administration, we're going to kind of settle out here a little bit and we're going to see how inflation goes.Holly Rustick:
But is your a lot of your listeners may know with federal monies and federal grants, these are allocated a lot of time in three year kind of allocation. So we should be okay. So those of you are starting to freak out. It's okay. It's okay. There might be some lovely. Now we're still above pre-pandemic levels with the number of grants, with the number of were the amount of funding for federal funding, we are going to start to level out.Holly Rustick:
We are starting to see some priority shifts that may or may not be good for you. Right? Like if you're in the arts, you may start seeing some of those grants come back. Those types of things. Right, as well. So that's what I saw with federal with foundation grants in funding, it was a little harder to get a lot of the information.Holly Rustick:
But what I have seen as far as like trends though, in that section and you can definitely, definitely go in and here on Tammy, because I know you got some information on that is I've seen more of the cause area related. Right So we're seeing social justice. So social justice movements are changing the trajectory of where funds are going and the priority and the cause areas.Holly Rustick:
And even in federal funds, I did a grant review of federal grant review a few months ago and even federal grant really following the social justice movements because they're doing priority points right to people of color, to different ways. You they're really paying attention to these social justice movements and they really are starting to then apply more funding towards that.Holly Rustick:
So I'm definitely seeing that quicker in the foundation area. But federal funding is also starting to align with that more. So I think that's a really good thing, right? But as far as foundations, there's more conversations with funding sources that nonprofits can have and going back to your foundation as well and talking to them, like even if you said, okay, I'm a nonprofit, I usually get grants from this foundation every year.Holly Rustick:
The last couple of years we did it during COVID, so 2020, 2021, because they want it to give to health. But let's go back to them this year and say, Hey, are you ready to come back on board with this priority? Right. That we have? So those are conversations that you can definitely have. But those in general are just some of the grant trends that I'm seeing and the data that I've been able to collect.Tammy Tilzey:
That's great. And that's what, like you said, that's what we're seeing with our funders as well. From that we work with that found it. And another element along with that social justice that we're seeing, which is very exciting, is this trust based philanthropy and movements to how they actually give grants out. And based on that and I don't know, I hope it's not spoiler alert on other trends, but like exactly what you're see said what you just said we're seeing as well.Tammy Tilzey:
So other trends aside from amount.Holly Rustick:
Yes, other trends. Yeah. We're seeing and just in general, so here's just some general data so we can kind of position the trends right? So we have 1.8 million nonprofits in the United States with 1.5 million of those being 523, right? So there's different corporation statuses and there's 11.9 million people employed in the United States through nonprofit organizations, which makes this the third largest employment industry in the United States.Holly Rustick:
And this has been on trend. We've seen this on trend already in this growing nonprofits is the fastest growing industry as well. And this is pretty much held bar. So that's really good because and you think about it and I love I love sharing this information with nonprofits. Tell me because, you know, a lot of times there's this kind of thought mentality from a nonprofit or just charity.Holly Rustick:
We are always asking for money. But I'm like, you hire people, you provide jobs, you rent spaces, you have vendors that you you know, you have whatever technology, like you are a major asset in a community, not just for the work that you do, but because you're a part of the economy. And that's so important for them to know, to be empowered.Holly Rustick:
And so I'm saying you guys are the third largest industry. That is something. So, you know, when you ask for money and that sort of they remember all of the things, not just the program money you're asking for, but everything your nonprofit actually contributes and just to be empowered. So this is I know, you know, but and we're saying that that's 5.7% of the GDP in the United States is what nonprofits contribute to.Holly Rustick:
So that's huge sum of 6%. That's a lot of money that is invested. So once again, huge, powerful industry. The nonprofit sector. And just to show you some more current trends, So 2022, what we saw was 76% of public charities have annual revenue of less than $99,000. So we are looking at a lot of small nonprofits out there, right?Holly Rustick:
Less than $100,000 per year in annual operating. And this is just something interesting to take in. Another thing we saw is in 2022, nonprofits saw the greatest increase in workers earning less than $40,000 per year. So they also had a jump of some already more than 75,000 per year. But the most in general was under that 40 K bar and another interesting side note was the proportion of white workers was at 76% is higher than the pre-pandemic level in nonprofits.Holly Rustick:
So that was a really interesting thing. But before that I was about 70%. So it has gone up and I'm not sure why this is some data I have that I thought was very interesting that we should look at. And as far as terms of charitable giving now, so now we're looking at more of donations. The second quarter of 2020 to show charitable giving, continuing to return to pre-pandemic trends.Holly Rustick:
So we're also seeing this in donations. We're seeing this a lot just across the board. We're kind of suddenly now. Right. And the amount of money here's the thing now, the amount of money to charity increased in the second quarter, but the numbers of donors continue to decline. Significa lately. So that's resuming a ten year plus downward trend observed before the pre or before the pandemic.Holly Rustick:
And what this means is that your donors and here is even some data to support it, that you love it, that the largest declines in donors were among those who gave less than $100 and that was we lost a lot of those. So we're looking at those donors who gave above $100 and really even 100 to 500 was a small decline as well.Holly Rustick:
So really the ones who give above 500 in a year are the ones who are going to give more that you those are the ones you should return and ask for more. Suddenly now under 500, especially under $100, we're losing a lot of donors at that level. And that's because of inflation. It's because of the scare of recession.Holly Rustick:
It's because of these things. So people on maybe tighter budgets up that are just weren't giving this much to charity. They're really counting their dollars and keeping them close right now. Those who may have a little bit more expendable income are then giving more. So they're actually stepping up because they see that there is a need. But your nonprofit has to communicate that to them as well.Holly Rustick:
Right. So that's just some really interesting like you may not be getting a lot of new donors or donors at lower levels. So that could be a way to help you focus on your marketing campaign to as a nonprofit, go back to donors. Right. Go back to donors that give above a certain amount, like those types of things.Holly Rustick:
Right. So this data can help with your marketing.Tammy Tilzey:
Right. And understand that it's not something you did or specific with your nonprofit. Realized that that that trend is there. And then how to make sure you don't miss the trend of asking for more. That's great advice.Holly Rustick:
Yeah. So those were just you know, general kind of information and data. Now, some main challenges that I've seen for nonprofits are the nonprofit work shortage, right? So we're seeing a lot of that since the pandemic. We've seen the great resignation. We've seen a lot of different things happening with the nonprofit work sort of shortage. And then we've also seen increased cost.Holly Rustick:
As I keep mentioning, that could be even increased wages coming out. Right? So that's that's a whole competition and that kind of leads into that non profit work shortage. But other increased costs are also just in growth. We always look at gasoline, right? Gasoline increases overall, the economy may not be doing so well. That sort of thing is also inflation.Holly Rustick:
And then, of course, the scare of the recession. Right. So we're seeing that. So those are two things. The other two things that a total of fourth nonprofit challenges, increased volume of work. So we're also seeing increased need of services. So as we have the nonprofit work shortage, increased cost, right, we're seeing a decline in donors or the donor or even smaller amounts.Holly Rustick:
Now, all of a sudden we're also seeing an increased volume of work because more people need the services that nonprofits supply. So there's that challenge. And then our final challenge is policy shifts. We're seeing the universal charitable deduction expired, and I'm not going to get nerdy into that, but there's just things in policy that were helpful to nonprofits that, you know, might not be right where they're not exactly in law right now.Holly Rustick:
So that's hurting the nonprofit sector overall a little bit. So those are some main challenges. But I'm not going to leave you hanging. I'm going to give you some opportunities. But before that, I want to give you a chance to chime in now.Tammy Tilzey:
Yeah, know, I know. I love those boards of challenges, know I know it's going to resonate, you know, with with all of our nonprofits that are seeing this work shortage, whether it's the great resignation, people moving on or just retiring. There's just several elements playing into that. So, yes, don't leave us hanging. What what are the opportunities or how you know, what are some options to deal with those challenges?Holly Rustick:
Yeah. So the thing. Is, is what the research I've seen and I use the National Council of Nonprofits, they did a and I can send you this link for the show notes. They had a wonderful survey that they did with over 1000 nonprofits. Right. And they were able to really figure out what happened, what's happening with work shortage. And so they surveyed over a thousand nonprofit leaders and 60% saw that.Holly Rustick:
They said that they saw a job vacancy rate of 10% to 29% during the last couple of years, 16% recorded a vacancy rate of more than 30%. So we're seeing really high vacancy rates is what that means. And why is two main factors is that they're seeing repeat it is it's not necessarily the job. Right. But it's the nature of the job is the 24 seven being available.Holly Rustick:
And because if we went back to one of our challenges, increased demand for services, the nonprofit sector is working harder than ever, and that's taking a toll on the employees. And the other thing that's, of course, related to that is the lower wages, right. And lower benefits that a lot of nonprofits have. So those were a lot of reasons why people were leaving the industry, but they're able community there.Holly Rustick:
Right. So now we're looking at the opportunity is to rethink for nonprofits to rethink culture and structure. Right. So it doesn't mean like, oh my gosh, like, I totally understand like where the nonprofits are at, right? They're saying, how can we increase rates when these grants might go in or the donors may be going right? All the things like there are more expenses, inflation and all of that.Holly Rustick:
But one thing a lot of successful nonprofits have done in the last couple of years is restructure. Right. And I mean, to really look at that and this is where I'm kind of going to lead into the possibility of hiring freelancers as well and to hire consultants because you may not need all of the staff necessarily, or you could outsource pieces of it so that your staff isn't overwhelmed and you can keep them happy and not so burned out and outsource a certain part to focus on.Holly Rustick:
Right. So that can be something is really looking at maybe hiring consultants or hiring certain freelancers to cover certain technology or finance or fundraising, certain kind of skilled work. So then your employees can really focus on their jobs and being a part of the entire organization, then having a great ready, for instance, running on their lap or social media thrown on their lap.Holly Rustick:
Right. Which are very important for the success of the nonprofit. But it may not be that primary person's job, right? So then that can lead to more burnout and then lead to a demand and an increased weight. So that's one area we can look at. But also, you know, when you're looking. So the thing is, is the what's good is the great resignation is across the board.Holly Rustick:
It's not just in nonprofits. People aren't just resigning from nonprofits. People are resigning from all industries. And a lot of them are looking into getting into nonprofits because one of the biggest things actually wasn't wages when we looked right. What one of the biggest concerns that people have for having work is having meaningful work, and nonprofits really fit that token.Holly Rustick:
As long as they can communicate and not burn out their people. Right? You can have. It's like one of the most meaningful works that you can have to help communities, right? So that's definitely an opportunity. But I would just say a lot of the nonprofit jobs that I see, the job announcements, they require nonprofit experience. I would say don't you don't have to be so stringent, right?Holly Rustick:
As long as they have the skills and the experience and what you want, like social media, like that's the whole thing. If someone could come from corporate, right, they could come from other types of positions and come into your nonprofit without nonprofit experience. So those are just some things to think about is how are you then hiring? Where are you putting on your job announcements?Holly Rustick:
What are the requirements? Is there any flexibility and consultants to take over in certain positions? Are there any opportunity for them not to have nonprofit experience? Those types of things? And I think there can be a lot of opportunity that you can bring in skilled workers that you just wouldn't have been able to bring in before.Tammy Tilzey:
Yeah, to me, that taking a fresh eye and looking at, you know, rather than stretching people thin or many hats or whatever is, how can you really get focused return on investment by hiring experts you know that that are freelancers that or or you know outsourcing that some of the jobs that you may see and tell, you know, it it will give you a better way to bring it.Tammy Tilzey:
And do you know, it doesn't always have to be one way or the other. But to help drill on that a little bit, do you have some pros and cons or maybe some scenarios of why it would make sense now, but not then or, you know, compare and contrast a little bit?Holly Rustick:
Sure. Yeah. So it hasn't. Pros and cons on hiring freelancers or consultants versus staff, right? So if you look at both, because there's definitely pros and cons for both. And these are really, you know, issues that you should nonprofit should sit down with their boards and really discuss. Right. So here are some of the pros to hire a consultant.Holly Rustick:
And the first one is that that consultant doesn't have to be kept on payroll forever. And just taking the stress off of somebody. Right. To have to keep someone on payroll forever, like when you hire a consultant and they're doing a scope of work for a certain duration of time. So what's great about that is that you can also budget for that a little bit more, right?Holly Rustick:
Maybe you get a certain grant that can pay for that consultant, right? So you're not paying for all their fringe benefits and their time off and their vacations and all that. You're just paying for the scope of work delivered for a certain time period. So I think that just taking that pressure off of like, I'm going to hire someone and then I have got to figure out how am I going to keep them forever and ever and ever.Holly Rustick:
And that's a lot of pressure, especially if you're on grants that expire after a certain amount of time, and then they feel like their jobs are always hanging in the you know, like, am I going to be all that? So have this job of this grant expires. I guess it's hard for the employee and the employer so that's one one great pro another pro is that a freelance grant writer does not need to be managed in the same way that a staff member has to be managed.Holly Rustick:
And managing is a whole art and science skill, right? So yeah, I mean, every executive director, every person doesn't, you know what I mean? They have to learn that skill and, and just even if they have the skill managing yet another other person, like another staff member is a lot of extra energy that they have to dedicate. But a freelance writer, sure, you still need to have your meetings.Holly Rustick:
You still need to have conversations. It's not just totally hands off, but you're not doing the every day management that goes with that. Like, where are they at? What was happening with them, all of the things that they have, a career.Tammy Tilzey:
Development, all this other. Yeah, yeah.Holly Rustick:
No, itâ€™s so much so it's so much extra energy and money, right. That goes into that that's not really accounted for in their, in their salary. Right. It's an extra add on that we don't think about a lot of times. So consultants a lot of times as a consultant I'm facilitating the meetings right. I mean I as a consultant, I'm doing that.Holly Rustick:
I take a lot of pressure off the ED for managing, right? So that's a great pro and the third pro. So I have five proâ€™s here, the third pro is that a freelance grant writer or nonprofit consultant? Right. I'm saying this from freelance writer but you can definitely any nonprofit consultant, social media events, marketing, whatever, they have a very specific skill and they usually to become a consultant, they need to have experience, expertise.Holly Rustick:
They have to have proven our why, they have to have delivered customer stories. They had to work with people. It's not like they're learning this for the first time. Which media staff, if you're throwing this on your staff right to do as an extra and that's all they're going to do. So even if your staff is a very experienced marketing person, but they're still going to the regular meetings, they're still having to do this or still having to check on on that.Holly Rustick:
Right. They're doing a lot of other things besides just marketing. But if we go back to, you know, you're coming in with a specific skill and you're doing a certain scope of work, that's all you're doing. You're not doing a bunch of extra things that just aren't accounted for. That's what you're focusing on. So that's very and you have a high level of that skill, right?Holly Rustick:
So you hire a bookkeeper, for instance. That's what they're going to be doing your bookkeeping, right? So and that's it. And they're very, very skilled because that's what they do over and over again. And then the fourth pro is they don't need an office, a consultant doesn't need an office. And I think this is overlooked because in your budget, it's not just an office.Holly Rustick:
When you hire someone, it's a computer, right? It's all of the software, it's space, it's utilities that you have to pay for that space. It's all of the things that you need to have for an employee. Those are a lot of added cost, right? So even in the work, the day and age of maybe they telework, sometimes you're still paying for their software, maybe their phone, all of the other things where they're consulting, you're not paying for any of that.Holly Rustick:
So they probably put it into the cost rate, but you're not paying that separately. It's not an added kind of silent cost. It's up front, right? It's it's a part of their proposal. So that's it's good for you.Tammy Tilzey:
Feels great. You don't have to fix it. Right. They have their own idea. You like, right?Holly Rustick:
Yeah, that's their problem. So and the pro is that hiring a consultant can actually save you money. And the thing is, because of all of the different things that we just talked about that can save you a lot of money to be able just to hire someone. You already know the budget, right? You already know how much it's going to cost.Holly Rustick:
You know exactly the deliverables. If we're going to do marketing, like how much marketing they're going to do with you, whatever they're going to do for you or, you know, anything, the right grants, you know, how many grants are going to read, etc., Like it can save you money because you're not doing all those added things. Imagine paying for your office paper when things break.Holly Rustick:
Career, professional development, all of the things. So you know this can help with your overall just budget in general and it can help reduce the stress of the staff, like I mentioned, because they're not having that thrown in your lap. And really, you know, even if you're saying, well, if I'm paying a consultant $150 an hour and I only have to pay an employee $35 an hour, how does that save me money?Holly Rustick:
Because of all the other things that we just talked about. And they're not full time, right? They're just maybe 20 hours a month, maybe 10 hours a month. So you're are saving a lot of money in that way. If you want a very specific skill set for your nonprofit.Tammy Tilzey:
Yeah. And one of the things that I've also seen in that is like if you have somebody who's interested in learning more about grants, pairing them with the consultant, with the thought that, you know, you are mentoring your training, you know that you're only paying this consulting rate for the things that that your staff can't do. You mean while they're learning from, you know, working with a professional with so many years experience, which they might not get that opportunity otherwise so that you know, the mix of the two is sometimes just a powerful combination to consider too.Holly Rustick:
I love that. Yeah. Like having someone who knows how to do a marketing campaign or a crowdfunding campaign come in, do the blueprint, This is how you do it. And then you that's how you're hiring them for it to develop that to run the first year. And now you can pick it up and go, right, You don't have to hire them again.Holly Rustick:
So yeah, that's a great example of like of that. Exactly. You're getting some really specific skill training that can fast track you right, where you're not spending years trying to figure it out on your own in.Tammy Tilzey:
Addition to everything else on your plate, right? Yeah.Holly Rustick:
Yeah. So we do have some cons, so and these are basically also kind of pros, right, for employee. So and how hiring consultants isn't for every nonprofit. Right. And maybe there's a mix like you talked about. I definitely think a mix is a good healthy thing when you're at that position. Or do some nonprofits even just start out just with consultants because that's what their budget, right?Holly Rustick:
That's all they can really budget. So but there's also pros, of course, for hiring employees. So some of the cons could be that number one, your nonprofit may not build up internal capacity unless you utilize it like you just mentioned. But there could be you know, you are outsourcing right? When you have that consultant, they can build up capacity, but by the end of the day, they're not a part of the culture of your organization.Holly Rustick:
Right. Your your culture is very you know, intentional. They may resonate with it, but they're still not a part of it. So internally, you know, they're doing something for a little while, but they're not forever a part of it. So it's not building up that internal part of your culture or organization unless, like you just mentioned, you love the training, then that can be helpful.Holly Rustick:
The second thing is your nonprofit can get detached from some of the donor nurturing because a lot of what comes in is even if it's not a freelance grant writer, but it's a marketing, it's, you know, they're doing a lot of nurturing. You want them to come in to help raise money. How do they do that? Through donors, through funding, through, you know, sponsors, all of that.Holly Rustick:
So they're doing a lot of that. But then they leave. At the end of the day, remember, they have a scope of work for a certain duration of time. So that could detach your internal staff who's going to be around for a long time to develop those those deeper relationships that are embedded in the culture of the organization?Holly Rustick:
Because you kind of hand that off for a minute. So it is important for your nonprofit still to be really involved in that nurturing. And the third thing is you could lose your nonprofit, could you lose intellectual data? And what I mean by this is that if they are developing that blueprint is they are developing that right. And you don't put it away in your files, it could disappear somewhere and that you don't know where to find that consultant in ten years.Holly Rustick:
Right. So there is a part of that. Also, I'll say, though, there is that risk is even employees sometimes because we can't find things on their computers when they leave or the computer crashes or whatever. So that can always be a risk. But I mean, I can't tell you how many times I've had nonprofits come back to me five years later asking you, Hey, Holly, do you copy of that?Holly Rustick:
Grant You know what I mean? That sort of thing. So they lose it. And there's great programs like found in has where you can actually keep those resources. So I would say invest in that sort of software. It doesn't always have to be right. That can help with that retaining intellectual data, which is really important, but just have that really clear to in your scope of work who is going to hold on to that data of whatever is being developed and that it's transferred in a way in a Google drive or somewhere in the cloud or on that technology to make sure it's there and we don't lose that intellectual technology or technology or that
intellectual property. So those are cons I would say there's definitely more more pros and cons, but you always have to go back and look at your budget and see what makes sense for your strategic planning as well. But those are definitely ways that your nonprofit then can think of outside of the box in this, then this era of the great resignation, quiet, quitting all of that, how can we come up Right.
And just as a side note real quick, I just read this morning, it was fantastic. I'll send you this article. You in the show notes Shawn Kozlowski from Mind the Gap Consulting just wrote an article on how he transformed his nonprofit to the two. The four day workweek. And he did it. He did a 90 day trial. They did a lot of thought process before that.
He shares all. So I'll definitely share that with you. But that's another way of him saying we had a hard time of retaining our skilled staff. We wanted to make sure we could we could increase necessarily the hourly rate or the salary, but this is a way that we felt was a huge benefit. And it really played out well, right, Because four days a week, working as a.
So yeah, so those are some different ways to kind of maybe maneuver and look at the worker shortage, look at the increased inflation, look at the increased costs, really try to think about how do we rethink culture. And as we move through this, the thing too is a lot of the baby boomers right there, they're not as involved.
We're looking at millennials coming out, Gen X coming up. And and the cool thing, too, is with millennials, especially how they think is different, massively different. The baby boomers as far as donors. Right. So a lot of the research that I saw was really cool is one of the opportunities, of course, for nonprofits is technology and the different things that technology can bring.
But I thought it was so interesting was mindset because they're more what we're seeing is millennials are really more they're they're more opportunity like, they think there's more opportunity and they're more optimistic about nonprofits solving problems than other industries. So I thought that was really interesting because it's kind of switching, right? Switching who's responsible for what and where they're going to give their money and their time.
So I think that's a really a good, good thing, too, as we move forward is to really look at who's coming up, who will be my donors in the future. Right. And that's bringing that that crowd. And they're ready, right? They might not be giving as much, but they're volunteering a lot. So and what we've seen is research shows that volunteers are 200 times more likely to become donors.
So you want to attract volunteers right now, right? That that's a long game. And It's a good strategy to start now, right? Yeah.
Yeah, yeah. Oh, my gosh. We could keep talking forever here, Holly.
And introduce you to. Yeah.
So. Great. I'm glad we've captured it all. All this data trends and as well as, you know, just thinking of, like you said, changing your culture or restructuring thinking out of the box with, you know, how to hire and maintain your really motivated staff or, you know, consultants that complement and get done what you need to get done.
We're also excited to have Holly on our schedule for a webinar in May. She's going to share some grant hints and tips, so look forward to that. It may, along with what we've mentioned, for the August nonprofit Consulting Conference, and I will put links to those as well in the show notes. Oh my gosh. So thank you again for helping our community learn more about these trends and opportunities, especially related to grants.
As you know, founded, we do really see ourselves helping just maximizing the what the nonprofits and funders can do with grants making that efficient and our products are one ways we one way we do that by bringing experts like yourself on. We so appreciate you sharing your advice. We'll include those links and again, taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us.
Do you have any final thoughts to leave our listeners with?
Well, first of all, I just want to say thank you so much for having me. I would totally you know, everything you guys are doing, like you said, it really is helping the nonprofits out there. It's helping the consultants out there. So thank you for your products, because it really is helping with these gaps that we talked about today.
Right. Losing that you're losing intellectual property and having to get consultants. Sometimes it's not necessarily consultant. You need is just to upgrade your technology, right to do a certain job and automated. Those are things that you guys help us. I think that's so important and it's it's just this is the way of the future and it's way in the present, right?
So it's it's really being able to say, if you want to grow your nonprofit, you can. So final words would be there are still as we saw it there still grant money out there. Federal funds are still coming out. Donors are still. Yes, they're we're seeing a decline in the donors who give $100 and less. But overall, the value of the higher donors are actually increasing.
We're seeing more donations overall. It's just coming from different places. So there is money out there, right? There's money out there. There's ways look at it. But it really takes strategic planning and it really takes kind of pulling back and looking at all of this information and really chewing on it and saying, okay, how do we move forward?
Because your nonprofit can absolutely do it. It doesn't need to keep struggling and you still struggled. And in the 24 seven burn out, there can be changes and processes that can help just streamline a lot of those processes and make happier people right to retain at your nonprofit where they feel more valued. These are all things that you can do.
You can definitely something out there. Yeah. So thank you.
Yeah. Yeah. Like you said, just take, take that side of, of the percentage of GDP and what you're bringing in and the impact to the economy you're trying to pay people. So you know, both funders and nonprofits don't be ashamed that you have general operating expenses, right? Make it a good place to work and and just invest in in your nonprofit and growing it.
You deserve the software that's made for you. You don't have to get by with free or no no tools. Right. You know just built the place where people want to work and have that meaningful work added to their life. Love everything you've brought and to our audience. If you learned something from. Today's Connected Philanthropy podcast and from our guests, Holly, please share it with others who may also enjoy and learn from listening.
And we look forward to connecting in our Future Webinars, podcast and community discussions. We wish you all the best success and again, thank you for all you do.