Funding Your Program

Developing a Plan for Financial Sustainability

A successfully implemented plan for program sustainability ensures that you get to do more of what you believe in—providing mentoring and career exploration activities for young women in emerging technologies. Before you create your plan, it’s important for all stakeholders to help determine the absolute minimum operating cost. Consider hosting a series of brainstorming sessions in which mentors, students, parents, employers, faculty members, community leaders and program staff are invited to discuss what they deem the essential activities offered by your mentoring program. The idea is to try to reach consensus on those activities that must continue in order for your group to fulfill its mission.

Next, determine the cost for each of the essential program activities identified in the brainstorming session. You will also need to re-examine your general operating costs. Your organizational budget is a good tool for helping you accomplish this. Look at your most recent annual budget and decide which expense categories will apply again in the next fiscal year. Will any be eliminated or added? Projecting the expenditures in your budget categories gives you a good idea of how much money you need to seek to sustain your program’s mentoring activities.

  1. How will you fund the program initially? (e.g., as part of a currently-funded program; Perkins; employer-funded; in-kind contributions, etc.)
  2. How will you maintain the program’s financial records? Does your organization have accounting staff who can help you and/or do you have experience with this task?
  3. Will your current funding sources still be available to you next year?
  4. List potential internal (institutional) funding sources, if any.
  5. List potential external funding sources (i.e., foundations, government agencies,
    individual donors, local employers, professional societies).
  6. List non-monetary resources that might be available (e.g., volunteer time, donations of equipment or materials, catering of recognition event, videotaping of activities, website editing, etc.)

Tips for Successful Grant-writing

Mentoring programs often operate on “soft” money—funding that comes from a government agency or foundation grants—rather than on “hard” money—funding that comes from the institution’s budget. This means that it will be to your benefit to hone your grant-seeking and grant-writing skills. While your college or school system may have its own resource development office, you still need to be prepared to do the preliminary research and networking with potential project partners that are required for successful proposals.

Identifying Granting Organizations

Crafting Your Proposal

Resource List of Potential Funding Sources

Tips for Developing a Fundraising Plan

Remember That Fundraising Begins at Home

Assess Your Current and Future Fundraising Potential

Develop a Fundraising Plan

Include the Following Means of Solicitation


Solicit Corporate Contributions

Don’t Lose Hope!

1.Adapted from “Grant writing Tools for Non-Profit Organizations,” Non-Profit Guides,

2.Adapted from “Tips for Developing Relationships with Funders” by Susan Weinberger, Mentoring Consulting Group. Published in How to Build a Successfully Mentoring Program. MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, 2005. and Chapter 25, Section 5, The Community Toolbox, KU Workgroup for Community Health and Development, 2007.