Mark V. Gage, State Program Specialist
Tennessee State Office
Corporation for National and Community Service
233 Cumberland Bend Drive, Suite 112
Nashville, TN 37228-1806
(615) 736-5561 ext. 3
Fax (615) 736-7937

Grant Writing 101
Grant Writing 102
Grant Writing Tips
Writing Knockout Proposals 

Mo Money Presentation
(May Take some time to download due to file size)

Mark Gage’s Presentation Notes 

  1. Remember, success on every level of your project is ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS

  1. Be passionate about what you do

  1.  Know your Stuff!

    1. Know the project handbook and guidelines

    2. Research state and national data that relates to your project, mission, population needs

    3. Know testimonials and stories about volunteers and recipients of service.

4.       Create and refine efficient systems for getting things done (gives you more time to do the important things and to be creative for finding new funding sources, etc.)

  1. Maintain and constantly refine effective communication with everyone

  1. Build a good reputation based on your good character and quality project

    1. Provide excellent customer service to everyone

    2. Do what you say you will do

    3. Make expectations and boundaries clear and enforce them when necessary

    4. Be open to feedback and wisdom and solicit it from others

  1. Work toward having a strong and meaningful annual project evaluation (gives you the opportunity to get honest feedback from all those involved with and served by your project-in order to improve the project for all those involved with and served by your project-this includes current and potential funding sources)!

  1. Advisory Council

    1. use as a unit for fundraising

    2. have individuals and agency contacts for revenue sources

    3. use them to conduct a high quality annual project evaluation

  1. Good Performance Measures

a.    Confirms the purpose, meaning, and the compelling needs (for the project and all involved with the project).

b.    Can provide excellent data for Grant applications, Foundations, Programming for National Significance (Federal Dollars for CNCS Project Expansion)

c.    Will give you good reporting information and dependable results that you can use with confidence.

d.    Will affirm you, your staff, the volunteers, your sponsoring agency, etc. that you are making a difference in the community (this results in higher energy, moral, etc). 

  1. Current Project Partners

    1. Quarterly Expense Sheet Sample of Senior Companion Project Expenses incurred by providing volunteers to each agency.  (Recipients saw in a concrete way that they needed/wanted to give back more in order to support the SCP Project).  Resulted in more cash and in-kind donations.

    2. Mileage reimbursement for volunteers (good specific ask to volunteer stations) – Sample of Mileage Invoice

    3. Volunteer Meals (good specific ask to volunteer stations)

    4. Volunteer Transportation (good specific ask to volunteer stations)

    5. Volunteer Training (good specific ask to volunteer stations)

    6. Recognition Gifts (good specific ask to volunteer stations)

    7. Uniforms, I.D. Badges, physical exams, speakers, training, meeting space, training space, refreshments, etc.

  1.  Track Your Expenses for all project volunteer expense areas

    1. Meals, stipend/living allowance, Transportation, mileage, recognition, physicals, etc.

    2. You will have a better and more accurate annual budget - Sample Budget for the Project

    3. The more detail and specifics, the better the “ask” (the more likely you will receive from your sponsoring agency and potential donors/funding sources).

  1.  Branding Your Project (Example SCP in Memphis)

    1. Polo Shirts with Senior Companion “Name” and Sponsor Logo)

    2. Large Blue and White Umbrellas (Project Colors with Senior Companion “Name” printed on Umbrellas)

    3. Royal Blue aprons with Senior Companion “Name”  

    4. 30th Anniversary Mugs with Senior Companion “Name”

    5. Color Photo I.D. Badges for each Senior Companion volunteer (with Senior Companion “Name,” Sponsor Name, and Logo)

    6. Printed 50 Business Cards for each Senior Companion volunteer for recruiting new volunteers (with Volunteer’s name, the Senior Companion Project “Name,” Sponsor Name, and Logo, phone numbers, email address, office address)

    7. Your current volunteers are the BEST for getting the word out and for recruiting new volunteers

  1.  Memorandum of Understanding

    1. Have mandatory cash or in-kind commitments (i.e. Conducting an in-service training for their volunteers, providing free physical exams each year, annual performance evaluations on their volunteers)

    2. List several options for giving back to the project (i.e. volunteer mileage reimbursement, meals, transportation, recognition gifts or cash gifts)

Fundraising Tips

When writing letters asking for financial support always use the persons first name and if they have a spouse include their name as well.

Start the letter out immediately by getting their attention by saying something like while you are at work wouldn’t you believed to know that your parents or child, etc have help.

 Use I personally seen the incredible difference that services can make in as little as 45 minutes and give some examples. 

Use a real case scenario to help understand your program. 

Talk about partnering with others. 


Then do the ask
Giving options of different levels of giving 

In, return I will send you regular reports on how your gift was used to change lives.

TIPS on Fundraising

Make board members feel they have some ownership in the program.

First you have to get your board members to understand that giving begins in the board room. 

Prepare letters or have board members to write personal letters and commit to send their letter to at least 5 people they personally know.  You may be surprised who you receive a check from. 

Get more money by partnering with Business for Example KFC gives 10% of sales for each person who presents a flyer on Monday from 4:00 – 9:00 pm. 

Challenge 100 people to give $100 each 

When researching foundations first check to see if a match is required should you receive funds, this saves a lot of time.  (If you are like most agencies you don’t have funds for match so you would not apply to that particular foundation.)  

Establish rapport with funders before submitting a new foundation grant. 

To save time in researching foundations narrow down searches to specific needs.



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