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Emotional Storytelling Using Immersive Communications (BLAB)

Posted By Josh Hirsch, Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, July 13, 2016
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Kaire & Heffernan Community Scholarships for Florida Students

Posted By Josh Hirsch, Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Updated: Thursday, July 7, 2016

Kaire & Heffernan, LLC is proud to offer two very special educational scholarship opportunities to students in The Sunshine State and beyond.

First, the Kaire & Heffernan, LLC Community Scholarship for Florida High School & College Students is available to promising young students in the state of Florida whose involvement in their communities reflects the values that we cherish at Kaire & Heffernan, LLC.

We are also proud to offer a similar scholarship, the Kaire & Heffernan, LLC Community Scholarship for Law School Applicants, to students living anywhere in the United States who hope to expand their educational horizons by applying to an accredited law school and ultimately serve their communities as practitioners of the law.

Through both these opportunities, we hope to recognize students who are actively engaged in trying to make the world a better, safer, and more charitable place. In particular, the scholarship will be awarded to students with a history of volunteering for non-profit organizations in their communities.

As an added bonus to the scholarship winner’s dedication, Kaire & Heffernan will be donating $500 to the Non-profit where they spent time volunteering.

As Miami personal injury attorneys, we understand that community service is no mere gesture. On the contrary, it has a real and measurable impact on our neighbors, loved ones, and friends.

Our business is predicated on helping other people. From auto accident and medical malpractice victims, to the parents of children who have suffered catastrophic injuries. We spend our days pursuing justice.

We see first hand the real price of careless behavior, and we believe that young people can make a valuable contribution to the safety and wellness of their communities.

We also recognize the very high costs of higher education in this country. Having benefitted from higher education ourselves, we hope to see more bright students enjoy access to all that America’s places of learning have to offer.

Ultimately, we hope to inspire young Floridians and Americans to invest themselves in the outside world and, perhaps, even consider the practice of law as their own professional endeavor.

Scholarship Details

Each scholarship will award one student with the following:

  • A check in the amount of $1,000.00, made payable to the recipient’s chosen educational institution, to be used solely for the purposes of tuition and related expenses
  • A check in the amount of $500.00, made payable as a donation to the local non-profit organization where the winning student volunteered his or her time

We will choose one eligible high school senior or college student and one eligible law school applicant during each year in which the scholarships are offered (currently only the 2015 – 2016 school year, including applicants for programs that would commence no later than the Fall 2016 semester).

NOTE: Each recipient is expected to submit receipts in accordance with IRS regulations.

Eligibility guidelines and application instructions are outlined below.

Eligibility for the Kaire & Heffernan, LLC Community Scholarship for Florida High School & College Students

To apply for the Kaire & Heffernan, LLC Community Scholarship for Florida High School & College Students, you must first meet all of the following eligibility guidelines:

  • Enrolled as a senior in a Florida high school or accepted or enrolled in an accredited 4-year college or university program
  • Legal resident of the State of Florida and the United States of America, or a legal resident of the United States who permanently resides in a state outside of Florida but is enrolled as a full-time student in an eligible Florida institution of learning.
  • Applicant must have volunteered time at a local Florida 501©(3) non-profit.
  • Full list of Undergraduate Scholarship requirements

Eligibility for the Kaire & Heffernan, LLC Community Scholarship for Law School Applicants

To apply for the Kaire & Heffernan, LLC Community Scholarship for Law School Applicants, you must first meet all of the following eligibility guidelines:

  • Graduate of an accredited 4-year college or university program or currently enrolled in the final year of study at the same
  • Current applicant to any accredited U.S. law school or recently accepted for enrollment in the same
  • Legal resident of the United States of America
  • Applicant must have volunteered time at a 501©(3) non-profit.
  • Full list of Law School Scholarship requirements

Note: Applicants for the Kaire & Heffernan, LLC Community Scholarship for Law School Applicants are not required to study or reside in Florida.

Students who are already enrolled in a post-graduate law school program are not eligible.

How to Apply

Eligible students who would like to be considered for the scholarship should submit a short essay (1 to 3 pages) describing his or her experiences while volunteering or otherwise working with a non-profit organization in the student’s local community. The essay should describe how the experience has helped to define the student’s values or impacted the student’s education and life.

We are happy to consider a wide range of non-profit organizations and volunteer activities. It is not necessary for the organization/activity to have been legal in nature or related to the practice of law.

Each application must include the following:

  • The filled out application for the scholarship you are applying
  •  typed essay, as described above (1-3 pages)
  • An official and complete copy of the transcript from the applicant’s current or most recent educational institution (high school, college, or university)
  • Proof of legal residency in the United States (i.e. birth certificate, passport, permanent resident card, etc.)
  • Proof of enrollment in, acceptance to, and/or application to the relevant educational institution(s) for the selected scholarship
  • Letter of recommendation from 501©(3) non-profit where you volunteered your time (optional, but encouraged).

Please submit completed applications to

The application deadline for both scholarships is August 1, 2016. The award winners will be announced on or about August 15, 2016.

Questions about the scholarship should be sent to Please do not call the firm with questions regarding the scholarship.

We Applaud Volunteerism

We are proud of the many bright minds and caring hearts we find in the schools, colleges, and universities throughout Florida and across America.

Thank you for this opportunity to shine a spotlight on the good work you are doing in your own communities. We can’t wait to hear all about it.
We extend our best wishes to anyone and everyone who might apply.

Read about Kaire & Heffernan’s previous scholarship recipient.

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Develop Your Own Self

Posted By Shari Jennings, Monday, July 11, 2016
Updated: Thursday, July 7, 2016

Finding funds for professional development can be a challenge in nonprofit organizations.  We often work with limited resources to accomplish a seemingly unlimited number of tasks.  For the mid-level professional, this becomes a barrier to getting the professional development needed to move to the next level.  This is why you need to develop yourself.  One way to do this is to volunteer.  Nonprofits like FREE anything, but especially free labor.  Seek volunteer opportunities outside of your organization.  Volunteering and doing a good job demonstrates your leadership skills and makes you more marketable.

Volunteering is a form of networking, which is also important when developing yourself.  Join professional groups and organizations, become a board member, and/or join a peer networking group.  Seek opportunities to form relationships with likeminded professionals.  Develop genuine relationships where information is shared.  Don’t just reach out to people when you need something.  Share information, send an article.  These relationships create connections, increase confidence, and generate referrals.  

Remember that you are responsible for your career.  Sometimes the opportunity to grow comes knocking at your door, but when it does not, you have to develop your own self!

Here at Nonprofits First, we offer development opportunities to new and experienced professionals who have that desire to move to the next level in their career. For more information, visit our Education & Professional Development page.

Tags:  Network  Professional Development  Volunteer 

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Top 10 Tips for Writing Winning Grant Proposals

Posted By Debora Kerr, Friday, July 8, 2016
Updated: Thursday, July 7, 2016

Bob and Jean Smith have a terrific idea for a non-profit business in their community: they want to provide low-cost, high-quality childcare for single teen mothers so that they can complete high school and/or get to work. Bob has worked as a social worker, and Jean is a teacher, so they have some experience with the issues facing teen mothers. They do not, however, have any money behind them, nor do they have experience with starting or running a childcare center. Each of them needs a salary of at least $40,000 per year, and of course they will need space, staff, supplies, services, and transportation (so that they can transport the girls back and forth from the daycare center to their school or workplace).

The Smiths are not worried about funding: they believe they can apply for and win grants to support their new enterprise. After all – many funding agencies do give to support youth and child services, and they have all kinds of statistics supporting the need in their local community. They have letters of interest from several schools and employers, and letters of support from the school district. All their friends are enthusiastic, and say this is a great idea.

What the Smiths don’t understand is that – at this point – their project is NOT grant fundable. Perhaps, in the future, it will be. But right now, they simply don’t have what it takes to craft an appropriate and credible proposal that can compete with those of other non-profits. That doesn’t mean they can’t raise money – but it does mean that grants are not the way to go.

Why not? Take a look at these tips, and you’ll have a better understanding of why the Smiths should be looking at non-grant funding sources as they get up and running.

Tip #1: Have proper tax status, a track record and audited financials.

You may have the greatest idea since sliced bread, but if you just started up last week, have no track record, and no financial documents to share, you will not win a grant. You may be able to raise money from friends, community organizations, or “angels” – but you are not ready to compete for grant money. One way to get around this issue is to apply for a grant under the “umbrella” of another well-established non-profit that shares your goals.

Tip #2: Don’t reinvent the wheel.

The Smiths have a terrific idea, but they may not be aware that the Y is already providing an almost-identical program down the road. A foundation is likely to ask the very reasonable question “why aren’t you collaborating with the Y?” And if the Smiths are unaware of the Y’s program, they clearly haven’t done their basic research. By the way: there’s no shame in collaboration!

Tip #3: Have a project that is grant-fundable.

Foundations and agencies are not in the business of paying your salary for the foreseeable future. Instead, they want to fund projects and programs they care about – and which they believe will be effective for the people whom they wish to serve. Some portion of salaries may be included in project or program grants, but the bottom line is that grant funding goes to projects that are clearly defined, time-limited, and evaluable. It’s tempting to say “yes, but if they fund my salary and benefits for a year, they’ll see enormous outcomes,” but it just doesn’t work that way.

Grant fundable: $10,000 to support the development, testing, refinement, and implementation of an online life skills curriculum for single teen mothers.

Not fundable: $10,000 per year to support the salary of Bob Smith, Administrative Director of the Smith Childcare Center.

Tip #4: Have an achievable goal.

It is tempting to reach for the stars when writing a grant proposal – after all, the bigger the outcome, the more likely you are to get a grant, right? Wrong. The true test of your goal is whether or not it is achievable given your resources. If the Smiths tell funders “we will serve 1,000 children in our first year, and 10,000 in our second year with top quality childcare, while young mothers’ grades and/or job stability will improve by 50%,” a funder will respond “sure, and I bet they want to sell me the Brooklyn Bridge, too.” The Smiths are two inexperienced people with no staff, no space, and no resources. Their challenge is to come up with a challenging but credible set of goals that can be achieved and will be important steps forward in their long term hopes.

Tip #5: Have an appropriate budget.

Imagine a grant proposal that requests $100,000 to provide a one-week camp experience for 10 underprivileged children with behavior problems. By dividing the grant amount by the number of children served, you can easily see that the grant writer is asking for $10,000 per child for a single week! How could the budget get so big? The grant writers may be including rental of the camp grounds, payment for counselors and therapists, food, training, and transportation – but even so, the bottom line is too big for serious consideration. A better option would be to work with an established camp and trained counselors to cut costs to a more reasonable $1,000/child/week.

Tip #6: Have a legitimate case for support.

The Smiths have a real case for support: they have statistics to show that there is a large population of teens and young children to be served, and that high quality childcare and transportation services can improve outcomes for both groups. But what about the request for $50,000 to support the construction of a playground in a town that already has three safe, well-used playgrounds? Or the proposal asking for $100,000 to provide an arts program for what is clearly a wealthy community of retirees? These projects aren’t “bad” or “wrong,” but they are probably not grant-fundable projects.

Tip #7: Approach the right foundation.

It’s easy to find long lists of foundations that support “youth,” “health,” or “education.” But the devil is in the details. Before considering any foundation for grant support, double check their guidelines to be sure they are really appropriate for your project, location, amount, and institutional type:

  • Check interests (do this foundation’s interests really match your project? Avoid the temptation to change your mission to fit a funder’s interests)
  • Check grant-making history (have they given to your type of project in the past?)
  • Check limitations (geographic, types of giving, amounts, types of organizations funded, etc.)
  • Check gift sizes (too big, too small)
  • Check deadlines (too soon, too far off)
  • Check for matching, challenge and/or matching gift concerns (can you really afford this grant?)
  • Review guidelines overall (too complex? Expectations too great?)

Tip #8: Be ready to write your proposal.

Imagine that the Smiths have worked out many of their challenges. They will start their program small, they will provide services NOT provided by the Y, they have found a little seed money to hire an accountant, and they will keep their day jobs until their non-profit is on its feet. Are they ready to write a grant? The answer is NO – because they don’t have the details they need to write a persuasive proposal. Before getting started on a grant proposal, they need to know exactly what they plan to do, when they plan to do it, who will handle which aspect of the project, and how they will know they are successful. For example, they’d need to be able to answer these questions (or, at the very least, be able to say how those questions will be answered once the program is funded):

  • Where will your program be held, and do you have the right to use that space? Why is that space appropriate and affordable?
  • How will you reach out to market your program – and/or how will you select participants?
  • Who is running the program, and why are they qualified?
  • Who is the staff involved with the program and why are they qualified?
  • How often and during what hours will you run the program?
  • What activities will the program include?
  • What are the specific goals of the program?
  • How will you determine whether the program is successful?
  • Do you have all the licenses and permissions you need to run the program?
  • Do you have the capability to manage the physical and financial aspects of the program (e.g., physical plant, nurse/first aid, payroll, etc.)?

In some cases, you may be presenting a “probable” rather than a “definite” answer to a question – and it’s fine to say that (“we anticipate enrolling approximately 10 children in the first semester and 15 in the second semester”).

Tip #9: Follow the Guidelines.

Most funding agencies provide very specific guidelines for proposal preparation. Follow them. If you don’t follow them, your proposal will be discarded. That means sticking to page length, margin sizes, font and point sizes. It means answering the questions directly and clearly. It means providing any supporting documents requested. Most importantly, it means SUBMITTING ON TIME. A late proposal is the same as no proposal at all. If you have questions, by all means call or write the funder and ask – don’t guess.

Tip #10: Write, Review, Rewrite.

It isn’t always easy to craft a compelling, coherent, logical proposal within a funder’s constraints. So write it once, and then ask several reviewers for their response. Be sure that one of your reviewers knows almost nothing about your project or its context. Revise carefully, proof, and check again before sending. Any errors could send a negative message.

After reading all these tips, you may be saying to yourself “wow, grant writing is harder than I thought.” If that’s the case, you’re on the right track. Grant writing is a competitive sport that requires a solid organization, a well-conceived project, and good, focused writing. If you’re not ready to write a proposal, then don’t! Take your time, get your ducks in a row, and plan enough time to do the job right.

Original post can be found on the Sumac website.

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