AfG Youth Empowered to Make Change

By: Nina
Nina is participating in Allowance for Good's inaugural Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Changemakers program.

Throughout the past few sessions of the ELP: Changemakers program, I have been exposed to a variety of components of the grantmaking process. In class thus far, we have covered aspects such as what makes up a non-profit (executive director, founder, board of directors, advisors, etc.), the relationship between grantors and grantees, what factors grantmakers have to take into account when awarding a grant to a non-profit, and what kinds of documents must be filled out for grantees when applying for a grant.

As a part of our weekly sessions, we have had the opportunity to look at actual grant applications, and to answer the questions posed on the application form as representatives of a real-life non profit organization. In order to help us understand what RFPs, or Requests for Proposals, which a non-profit typically fills out in order to get a certain amount of money from a foundation or other organization, such as the government, are, we created our own proposals and had a couple of members of Allowance for Good's Advisory Council give us feedback. We also had the chance to act as grantors, and write a recommendation for a non-profit worthy of a grant. These activities have all helped me gain a deeper understanding of what I think is the hardest part of having a non-profit: making sure that it functions efficiently and with the greatest impact.

For me personally, what I think are the most surprising and challenging components of the nitty-gritty aspects of non-profit long term impact and success is a) how much a person needs to know about the organization and b) how much information needs to be taken into account in the grantmaking process. You have to be able to not only talk about your organization's successes, but also its failures and how those failures have been fixed. I have learned that there is a lot more that goes into the finer aspects of what keeps an organization running smoothly, and it is not as easy as it seems. The knowledge that I have gained during this class will allow me to become a better philanthropist as I continue to work with Allowance for Good and other organizations, because it has prepared me to think about how to help a non-profit organization continue to have the greatest impact. Armed with these skills, I feel more empowered to have the ability to make a change.
Nina, left, and Zoe pose for the camera during the 2013 Global Philanthropy Summit.