JFCS had a successful grants program before working with Elevate, but their grant writing team was highly decentralized, meaning program staff were tracking their own opportunities, writing their own grants, and managing deadlines. At times, they were missing deadlines, relationships with existing funders were lagging, and they did not have the capacity to pursue new opportunities. Despite their successful history of grant writing, they felt that a lot of money was still being left on the table.
JFCS had just decided to consolidate the grant writing program under its Strategy and Programs Department when they brought on Elevate. Elevate quickly saw that JFCS could benefit from strong grants management systems. Elevate streamlined its grant writing process, bringing major efficiencies that have helped the organization pursue new funding.
Elevate first streamlined JFCS’s grant writing process by tracking down all their existing grant agreements, creating a centralized hub for information sharing, and developing a grants calendar for monitoring proposal and report deadlines.
We also established regular check-in meetings to discuss the grant program and helped JFCS to create a system for pursuing new funding: from prospecting new opportunities to making connections with foundations, Elevate helped JFCS track their progress in a centralized database. Elevate also monitored these new processes, making sure ongoing tasks were completed on time. Finally, Elevate helped JFCS clarify its program design to better assess and report outcomes to attract funding.
Implementing these systems has helped JFCS become more efficient and taken stress off program staff. These efficiencies have also helped the organization pursue new lines of funding and develop new programming.
In the past two years, JFCS has raised over $3 million dollars, identified 100 prospects and made 35 new funder contacts. JFCS has been successful in diversifying its funding base and securing additional multi-year funding. They have also attracted government and national donors. For example, Elevate has helped JFCS win new multi-year funding from the City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services for a new program to combat truancy. Elevate has also helped win nearly $200,000 from the Pew Charitable Trusts for a parenting program for low income parents. Finally, Elevate helped JFCS win new funding from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for education and outreach to pregnant teens, and from the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund for LGBTQ services.
JFCS offers a diverse array of services to help children, adults, seniors, and families cope with challenges through its four program areas: Child Welfare, Education and Outreach, Individual and Family Services, and Open Arms Adoption. Every year JFCS’ credentialed staff provide compassionate care to 25,000 residents regardless of religious affiliation, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
When we came to understand the need for a dedicated grants professional to complete our development team, we initially planned to make an internal hire. Despite a long search, we were unable to find the right individual to lead our institutional giving efforts, and we decided to go with Elevate. Looking back, we couldn’t be happier with this decision. Instead of one staff person, with Elevate we have a whole team of people who write grants, mine the field for new opportunities, and manage the administrative work of our grants program. It’s great bang for your buck. With Elevate’s support, we have raised millions of dollars and built a diverse and sustainable grants program.