Fundraising Information Paper

Next Steps of South Carolina (NSSC)

Next Step Program

Next Step Program Costs

Although the Diocese of South Carolina offers the Next Steps of South Carolina (NSSC) Next Step Program database tools and volunteer training at no cost to Christian churches in South Carolina communities, your Affiliate will need funds to operate its Next Step Program.

We envision the NSSC Next Step Program as a 100 percent volunteer-based program.  Nonetheless, your Affiliate will need to raise funds for non-personnel-related expenses such as:

· Contributing to the expense of utilities and cleaning at the Host Cooperative Churches.

· Paper and ink for printing Next Step Program forms, information papers, fact sheets, Sunday bulletins, etc.

· Professional printing of Affiliate stationary, pamphlets, e.g., “Introducing Next Steps of ‘Your Affiliate’s Name’” and “Make Changes in Your Life—Next Steps—A Program of Your Affiliate’s Name”, and other Affiliate literature.

· Bottled drinking water for Volunteers and Participants.

· Computer and printer maintenance.

· Services that your Affiliate may elect to offer to Participants:

Devotional literature and/or Bibles.

Transportation assistance, e.g., bus tokens.

Mail, telephone, and/or email services.

Clothes, food, and/or toiletries.

Discretionary funds, e.g., $25/month/Participant, to pay for identification cards, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, and other employment-related items.

Assistance with rent and utilities.

Hosting job fairs.

· Establishing new employment and social ministries, not currently available in your community, yet essential to improving the life of your Participants.

· Providing volunteer insurance, e.g., accident, liability, and/or automobile liability from companies such as The CIMA Companies, Inc., to supplement the insurance already covered by your Affiliate’s Host Cooperative Churches.

· Helping NSSC to fund program changes in the Next Steps Database at that will be beneficial to your NSSC Affiliate and others across South Carolina.

· Helping NSSC reach out to other communities to establish new NSSC Affiliates and, thus, contribute to improving people’s lives in neighboring communities and counties across South Carolina.

General Fundraising Activities

In general, by using newsletters, newspaper articles, and social media, your Affiliate will be able to generate financial and in-kind support for these expenses from individuals and families, Cooperative Churches, and businesses in their community.  Fundraising events such as breakfasts, lunches, and dinners; concerts; silent auctions; walk-a-thons; establishing a “Next Step Giving Society” where donors are encouraged to pledge amounts at various giving levels; etc. are also excellent ways of financing your Affiliate’s Next Step Program.


As your NSSC Affiliate grows, you may decide to apply for financial grants for a number of other reasons, e.g.:

· Employing one or more persons to serve as the Next Step Program Director and in other jobs associated with the Next Step Program.

· Dedicating a host Cooperative Church building exclusively for the use of the Next Step Program in lieu of sharing space in one or more host Cooperative Church buildings.

· Offering employment and/or social ministries not already available in your community that will greatly enhance the success of your Affiliate’s Next Step Program to improve the lives of your Participants.

· Offering more extensive employment-related services to your Participants, e.g., work clothes, training/education, computer work stations, transportation, housing, etc.

To accomplish this, your Affiliate will want to explore sources of grant funding, such as corporations and foundations at the National and South Carolina level.

  • The South Carolina State Library regularly offers classes on grant writing and publishes the “South Carolina Foundations Directory” that is a great help in winning grants.  The Directory provides an alphabetical list of foundations, a foundation program subject index, and geographic focus index.  This is a free resource.
  • The Foundation Center is an independent, nonprofit clearinghouse with which the SC State Library and a number of SC County Libraries participate as “Cooperating Collections.”  These are free funding information centers that provide a core collection of the Center’s publications and a variety of supplemental materials and services useful to nonprofit organizations seeking grants.  This includes print and online versions of charitable giving directories at the national and regional levels along with educational materials that assist in grant writing.

Grant Proposal Basics

Many corporations and foundations provide detailed formats for grant proposals.  However, your Affiliate may encounter potential funders who do not require a specific format.  In general, it is best to follow these basics.  Provide:

  • A cover letter that is no more than one page.
    • In the first paragraph: state who your Affiliate is and give a brief background, explain the purpose of funding, and the amount of your request.
    • In the second paragraph provide a contact name, phone number, and email and street addresses.
  • A proposal summary that is no more than one page.
    • Link your Affiliate’s organizational background to the project’s purpose.
    • Briefly state how you will implement the project’s purpose and the results you expect from the project.
    • Include in your total budget amount, other funds that are committed and the amount of your request.

(90% of funding decisions will be made by the time the funder finishes reading this page.  It must be concise, compelling, and clear.)

  • An introduction to your NSSC Affiliate, including its:
    • History.
    • General Purpose.
    • Goals and objectives as they relate to this project and how they provide a context for the work you want to undertake.
    • Accomplishments, especially as they relate to this project or to your Affiliate’s ability to implement this project.
    • Geographical area and population served.
  • A statement of Problem or Need.
    • Identify how your proposal will fill these gaps.
  • Project Goals and Objectives.
    • What specific goals is your Affiliate trying to achieve with this project?
    • What measureable milestones will you reach in meeting these goals?
    • How will you and the funder know that you are making progress towards your goals?
  • Methods and Schedule.
    • What actions will your Affiliate take to achieve your goals?
    • What steps must you take to achieve success?
    • Who will do what? (Include here job descriptions and background statements of staff or the qualifications you will seek in staff for the project.  This is true even though “staff” will actually be volunteers.)
    • When will these actions take place?
  • Evaluation Criteria and Process.
    • How will you know whether your Affiliate is achieving your goals?
    • What will you measure to evaluate your progress? (The Next Steps Database at generates reports for Next Step Program management and fundraising and will be very helpful here.)
    • What records and information will you keep to allow you to measure your progress? (The Next Steps Database will also be helpful here.)
  • A Budget.
    • More detail is better than less.
    • Don’t round off if possible.  Use bids and estimates whenever you can get them—even if they are informal quotes.
    • Don’t pad your budget.  Competent reviewers will know the cost of goods and services, and will understand prevailing wages.  If they know you are trying to deceive them on budget, what else will they suspect you of trying to deceive them about?
    • Do include all sources of support—including volunteer time, donated space, and borrowed equipment.  Don’t shortchange the contributions your Cooperative Churches and your community are making to your project.

Don’t become discouraged when your grant proposals are denied.  Your Affiliate may receive only one grant for every 10 for which you apply.  If the Affiliate is pursuing corporate grants, start with the companies and organizations, e.g., Rotary Club, in your immediate area.   Some people in your community may have experience in writing grants—ask them to help your Affiliate prepare the grant applications.

Community Foundations

An excellent source of non-profit grant funding is the The Community Foundations across South Carolina.  For example, the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina (CCF) even offers grant writing tips.

Using CCF as an example of a typical Community Foundation, CCF has been in operation for 38 years and covers the eight counties along the South Carolina coast.  Their mission is to foster philanthropy to help donors to fund non-profits get things to happen.  In 2012, CCF helped non-profits “make a difference” in the Low Country by receiving $12 million in philanthropic funds.

Your NSSC Affiliate may be a new non-profit without a track record.  Therefore, you need to explain what other NSSC Affiliates or, perhaps, Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington (the non-profit that has operated the Next Step Program for more than 20 years) has succeeded in doing in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

Many Community Foundation donors, like donors in general, want to see systemic change in their communities.  They want to see problems solved in a “different way.”  Your NSSC Affiliate fits that bill!  By explaining the relationship of giving the generational and situational poor a hand-up rather than a hand-out through the Next Step Program, you are working outside the box, i.e., outside the way congregations have always tried to help the poor and disenfranchised in your community.

Community Foundation donors want to help non-profits sustain their operations over multiple years.  Your NSSC Affiliate needs to present these and other potential donors with a budget that looks like you expect to be in operation for many years to come—starting now!  For example, a bold budget with a high 3-year aspiration will attract donors more strongly than a timid 1- or 2-year budget.



Next Steps of South Carolina is indebted to Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington (, Lazarus Ministry of Christ Episcopal Church, Alexandria, VA (, and The Cooperative Ministry, Columbia, SC ( for allowing us to pattern our Next Step Program after their successful ministries.


(Last modified 5/22/2013)