Strong Organizations Create Stronger Communities

Strong Organizations Create Stronger Communities

By Breanna Wilson, California State University Monterey Bay Intern with the Center for Nonprofit Excellence

The Center for Nonprofit Excellence (CNE) provides opportunities for organizations to grow and thrive to expand their community impact.  Focusing on the nuts and bolts of a nonprofit promotes success in other aspects of the organization such as programing and areas that support the community directly.

Building and strengthening activities such as strategic planning, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), technology, marketing, or board development will encourage organizational growth that extends into the community. Organizational Development (OD) grants can play a part in supporting Monterey County nonprofits to grow the inner workings of their organizations and boost their effectiveness. These grants, which range from $500 to $5,000, often further the advancement of nonprofits in fulfilling their missions.

Stories of Support

In the last four years, OD grants have been awarded to 50 organizations of all types and sizes within Monterey County. 68% of OD grants went to nonprofits with fewer than 10 employees. Here are three examples of types of support and impact.

Boosted Board Development

The Foundation for Monterey County Free Libraries (FMCFL) has received multiple OD grants over the years from the Community Foundation for Monterey County but the most recent was to support board development. With the grant, FMCFL hired a consultant to organize a board retreat, then COVID-19 happened. COVID-19 presented challenges in terms of hosting the retreat in person.

Executive Director, Julia Foster stepped to the challenge and worked to keep board members engaged. She worked with the consultant directly to organize one-on-one individual board member check-ins that were meant to “rekindle the passion” for board service by asking questions such as, “Why are you on this board?” and “What do you like doing here?” This served as a stepping stone to move the FMCFL in a forward direction. Board members felt empowered after completing the one on one interviews, reviewing their commitment and involvement with the organization.

…sometimes things need to sit and simmer in order to find the right way of how to move things forward, and now, things are exploding at the Foundation.” – Julia Foster, FMCFL Executive Director

Data Systems Supported Growing Nonprofit

The Monterey Condors Club received an OD grant to upgrade both its technical and coaching capacity. With the support of a new database, the nonprofit can track and stay connected with donors, parents, and participants. As a result, both donors and participants increased. The number of youth served grew from 136 to 250. The grant also funded the necessary hardware to operate the new database.

This technology has been key to tracking when donations are received and capturing donations that are planned. The Club is well on its way to reaching its goal of licensing six soccer coaches through the U.S Soccer Federation program. As of April 2021, three coaches have completed the licensing program, which will ensure consistency and quality as the coaching staff expands.

Expanded Marketing Capacity

Monterey Jazz Festival (MJF) received an OD grant which supported Communications Strategy Development. Before the pandemic, the MJF needed to construct a marketing campaign to increase its visibility with its audiences, particularly focused on a younger crowd. Soon after the grant was awarded, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the world. Thanks to the grant, the Jazz Festival was able to enlist a marketing consultant to assist in creating a marketing plan that evolved into a permanent “marketing task force” of experts. The “marketing task force” consists of one board member and four volunteers who have experience in the marketing field.

The grant enabled the organization to create a brain trust of people who are committed to the success of the MJF. The organization saw a 30% increase in their Next-Gen Jazz Festival program with an 800% increase in social media engagement. The virtual MJF event had 30,000 people in attendance and had 75-80% donation engagement.

Learn more about OD grants

OD Grants

Breanna Wilson has been involved with local nonprofits for several years. She is passionate about supporting the community in which she grew up through volunteerism and philanthropy. Breanna is currently a California State University Monterey Bay student majoring in Collaborative Health & Human Services, concentrating on Public Administration and Nonprofit Management. Through this program, she is interning with the Community Foundation for Monterey County for the Center for Nonprofit Excellence.