Sites seeking to expand their fundraising work might want to think about these steps in seeking private, foundation, and state funding.
Visit with your university's development officers
Universities typically devote significant resources to fundraising, maintaining distinct development offices (campus-wide and/or college-specific). These offices oversee and coordinate development efforts that affect the campus. The first stop for any writing project director is at these offices to be sure they are aware of your writing project site and how it can relate to fundraising efforts on campus.
Generally, development officers appreciate knowing about any campus effort that might interest local funders. What if they encounter a donor interested in writing and literacy specifically, or wanting to fund K-12 outreach? The writing project might be the campus entity that engages that person or foundation with the campus. Approach the development office as an asset that can help them in their efforts as opposed to another entity looking for their help.
Don't be discouraged if the office seems cautious about your fundraising efforts. It is their job to ensure that campus representatives do not approach local funders that they may be cultivating for other, larger gifts. You wouldn't want to be the person who approached a funder for a small contribution to a Young Writers Program when the campus was seeking an endowment from them. For this reason, most campuses have specific policies for faculty to guide fundraising through their campus development offices.
Research foundations through The Foundation Center
Development offices may be stretched pretty thin, though, and unable to really support you in thinking about fundraising. So do go ahead and research funding opportunities in your service area. Throughout the country there are private and corporate foundations with specific funding goals and many of them award funds within a particular state or geographic region.
To access a comprehensive and searchable list of these funding sources, visit The Foundation Center at www.foundationcenter.org. The Foundation Center is a national nonprofit service that connects nonprofit organizations (such as schools) and grant makers. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database of U.S. grant makers. It also provides a variety of tools and resources to assist grant seekers, grant makers, researchers, policymakers and others.
There are also lots of online resources for non-profits available in most communities. For example, IdeaEncore is an online network for leaders of non-profits with many resources like this set of grant-writing resources here in Connect. Also, check out this list of fundraising resources in Connect.
Engage local donors and philanthropists in supporting your site
If you want to build up a set of local donors, you should consider participating in the NWP e-campaign. The e-campaign is an annual donation campaign to encourage people to contribute to local sites and the national network. The e-campaign starts around the time of the Annual Meeting/Thanksgiving and continues through the end of the year. Sites are provided with a customizable letter that can be used to invite people to go the the NWP Contribute page and donate. On the website they will find a pull down donation menu with all NWP sites as well at the national network and other specific funds.
You can find the contribute page here: http://40153.thankyou4caring.org/