Advocacy Planning Grant

Advocacy Planning Grants provide funds for nonprofits to improve their organizations before beginning advocacy work.

Advocacy Planning Grants can be used for strategic planning and will prepare a nonprofit to apply for a future Multi-Year Grant. These grants are $15,000 or less.  All applicants are required to attend an Introduction to The Trust’s Grant Application Process Workshop. Advocacy Planning Grant applicants are also required to attend an Advocacy Workshop before applying.

We are currently accepting applications for these grants.

Get answers to FAQs about Advocacy Grants here.

1. Required Forms

Please download the budget form to submit with your Advocacy Grant application. Please note that the budget form is only for Advocacy Planning Grant applicants. Multi-year grant applicants do not submit a budget form. The remaining forms will be submitted with the progress and final reports.

2. Application Details

The preliminary application is the first part of the grant application. The full proposal is the final part of the grant application. Deadlines for both parts of the proposal are located here.
Before completing this application, please contact Meredith Benton at meredith.benton@healingtrust.org about your interest in the program to ensure your work is a good fit for this program.

Once approved by Meredith (but before completing the application), please complete the Bolder Advocacy Capacity Tool. This tool has been updated so please use this link.

The application times out every 15 minutes, so we recommend that you cut, paste, answer, and save the following questions in a Word document. After you have answered all the questions, please paste your final version into the online grant application.

Organization Information

  1. Enter the contact information for your organization, including name, mailing address, phone, and fax (optional), as well as a 100-word description of your organization and its mission.
  2. Enter the Annual Budget for your organization.
  3. Has your organization had a financial audit conducted by an outside auditor for a time period within the previous 18 months?

Contact Information

  1. Enter the name of primary contact for this request.
  2. Enter the name of your organization’s Executive Director/President or CEO.
  3. Enter the name of the organization’s Board Chair.

Agency’s Advocacy Experience and Goals

  1. Select the geographic area and population served/represented.
  2. Describe your organization’s advocacy experience and how this work was accomplished. This may include previous work in public policy, advocacy to shape or improve programs, or institutional systems change advocacy – all of which go beyond individual advocacy services for your direct clients. Please share your most recent accomplishments and lessons learned. If you do not have previous advocacy experience, why do you want to pursue systems change advocacy? (300-word limit)
  3. Describe the community or constituency that your organization advocates for and illustrate your experience in reaching, engaging, and serving this population. Please describe how they are/will be involved in setting or executing the organization’s strategy. What niche do you fill that is different from other associations or agencies serving the same population? (200-word limit)
  4. How has your organization previously worked with coalition partners to advocate for policy or institutional changes? Please describe the partnership(s) and the role(s) played by your organization. (200-word limit)
  5. Please complete this sentence: “Through systems change advocacy, our organization seeks to improve health for Tennesseans by… (100-word limit)
  6. Please describe specific policy or systems issues related to health care access and/or preventing childhood trauma that your organization wants to address through systems change advocacy. What challenges or opportunities do you see in the next three years and how is your organization well-positioned to address them? (300-word limit)
  7. Using your results from the Advocacy Capacity Tool, please select all the applicable skills or capacities your organization currently has that position you well to pursue these goals.
  8. Using your results from the Advocacy Capacity Tool, please select the skills or capacities your organization will prioritize to develop in the next three years in order to achieve your systems change advocacy goals. Please be sure to select at least one from each of the four main domain areas.

Required Attachments

  1. CNM Consultant Scope of Work/Draft Contract
  2. Summary results from Bolder Advocacy’s online Advocacy Capacity Tool. This free tool can be found at this link.
The information you entered on your preliminary application will populate into the appropriate fields in your full proposal. If needed, you will be able to change this information in the full proposal. Please remember to update and save your application after making any changes.

Please include your agency’s statement of inclusiveness indicating that services are provided without discrimination. This should be more than just your agency’s hiring practices. (100-word limit)

Organization’s Advocacy Experience and Goals

  1. What is the total amount of support requested from The Trust? Maximum request to The Trust for this application is $9,000. An additional $6,000 in consulting fees through the Center for Nonprofit Management is assumed for a total of no more than $15,000.
  2. List the name and title of staff/board member(s) in your organization who are able to access the organization’s secured checks. Describe how the checks are physically secured. List the name/title of staff/board member(s) that enter data (e.g. code checks, etc.) into the organization’s accounting system. Describe the accounting software used by the organization. Please describe how the accounting system data is backed up and how frequently back-ups are made. How are the back-ups secured? (100-word limit)
  3. Please list the name and title of the staff/board member(s) who prepare the monthly bank reconciliations(s). List the staff/board member who receives the monthly bank statements. Please list the individuals who review the bank reconciliation(s). Does the organization process its own payroll or does it use an external vendor? Please list the staff/board member responsible for entering payroll or submitting the payroll information to the outside vendor. Please list the name/title of staff/board member charged with approving time sheets. List the name and title of staff/board member(s) who receive and review monthly payroll reports. Please describe your organization’s process for tracking restricted donations. (250-word limit)
  4. List the name and title of the staff/board member(s) who are authorized to sign checks on behalf of the organization. Please describe how many signatures are required on checks. Please list the name and title of the staff/board member(s) who are responsible for approving invoices for payment. Please describe how frequently the board reviews the organization’s financial statements and other financial reports (payroll, expense listings, etc.). (100-word limit)

Required Attachments

  1. Summary results from Bolder Advocacy Capacity Tool. This free tool can be found at this link.
  2. Unaudited Profit and Loss Statement/Statement of Activities (P&L) with aggregate year-to-date data rather than month by month statements. P&L for the year-to-date period should show AT LEAST six months of activity AND be through the most recently completed quarter.
  3. Unaudited Balance Sheet/Statement of Financial Position as of the date that the Profit and Loss Statement ends. For example, if your P&L is for January 1 – December 31, 2017, the Balance Sheet should be as of December 31, 2017.
  4. Organization Chart (Please upload your chart as a pdf file).
  5. Letter(s) of Support from current or potential coalition partners
  6. Application Budget Form

Please contact Meredith Benton at (615) 284-8271 ext. 116 for questions about Advocacy Planning Grants.

We evaluate Advocacy Grants based on responses to the following questions.

1. Does this agency (*articulate a plan to) advocate for policies that have been demonstrated or reasonably assumed to improve the health of individuals throughout Middle Tennessee?

2. Do the agency’s (*intended) advocacy efforts coincide with the mission and values of The Trust to promote just health policy, respect, and access to care for vulnerable populations?

3. Do the advocacy goals of the organization include systemic changes that address an existing deficiency within the community?

4. Does this agency have clear and realistic advocacy goals in their strategic plan and capacity-building benchmarks in their proposal? *Does this agency articulate a clear commitment to and realistic expectation for engaging in strategic planning for advocacy? Do the deliverables from their CNM contract address the support they need?

5. Are the infrastructure and leadership present for successful execution of the agency’s strategic plan (*to take on systems change advocacy work?)

6. Is the agency well-positioned to address a specific timely policy issue or opportunity for systemic change?

7. Does this agency (*intend to) work collaboratively with community partners to develop and execute advocacy strategies? Do they have a history of collaborative partnerships?

8. Has the agency engaged a broad base of constituents, clients or supporters in their advocacy strategy? (*Do they have a network of clients, members or constituents that they plan to engage?)

9. Does the agency appear to be sustainable and the organization financially viable if The Trust’s funding were to end?

Advocacy Planning grantees are required to submit a progress and final report. The following questions are included in those reports. To submit your progress or final report, please log in to your account and select “requirements.”

1. Is your agency still focused on these advocacy goals? Has anything changed in the environment to cause your agency to shift priorities or modify initial strategies? Please explain.

2. Below are the capacity-building benchmarks outlined in your proposal. Remember that these benchmarks are intended to measure your agency’s readiness for implementing strategies toward the goals above.

3. For each of your capacity-building benchmarks above, please describe, in the same format as they are listed, your current progress toward meeting these benchmarks. How do your new results from the Advocacy Capacity Tool compare to the baseline results that accompanied your original proposal? Have you made progress on the core capacities you identified as priorities? Are you on track?

4. Have you made any revisions to your original capacity-building benchmarks? If yes, please list the changes that you would like to make. If your goals have changed or priorities have shifted, do you need to build new core capacities in order to implement new strategies? If so, please describe.

5. How does advocacy fit within the core mission of your organization? If this is a new direction for your agency, what have you learned about incorporating advocacy into your work? What would you tell other nonprofit agencies contemplating whether to engage in advocacy on behalf of their clients or patients?

6. Have you had any turnover of key staff involved in advocacy work? Have you brought in any new staff or trained existing staff to engage in advocacy work?

7. Please describe any training, professional development or volunteer engagement activities your agency has implemented that have better prepared your staff, board, clients or constituents to engage in advocacy work.

8. Have you developed any advocacy “best practices” that you would like to share with us?

Required Attachments

Current Financial Statements for  Progress Reports
1. Unaudited Profit and Loss Statement/Statement of Activities (P&L) with aggregate year-to-date data rather than month by month statements. P&L for the year-to-date period should show AT LEAST six months of activity AND be through the most recently completed quarter.

2. Unaudited Balance Sheet/Statement of Financial Position as of the date that the Profit and Loss Statement ends. For example, if your P&L is for January 1 – December 31, 2017, the Balance Sheet should be as of December 31, 2017.

Current Financial Statements for Final Reports
1. Unaudited Profit and Loss Statement/Statement of Activities (P&L) with aggregate year-to-date data rather than month by month statements. P&L for the year-to-date period should show one year of activity AND be through the most recently completed quarter.

2. Unaudited Balance Sheet/Statement of Financial Position as of the date that the Profit and Loss Statement ends. For example, if your P&L is for January 1 – December 31, 2017, the Balance Sheet should be as of December 31, 2017.

Ready To Start?

Applicants must also meet our general eligibility criteria. You will need your agency’s Tax ID number to begin the application. Please remember to update and save after modifying any of the fields. We also suggest that you save your text in a Microsoft Word document as a backup.

Begin your application or return to a saved application below.

Begin Your Application