COllaborations that Scale
Nonprofits come in all shapes and sizes.
Full Circle Fund's model encompasses a variety of partnership types and customized work engagements.
Our Member teams have worked hand-in-hand to fund new and existing ventures, incubate ideas, and scale organizational systems and processes.
WAYS TO ENGAGE
“The main point of this relationship is not funding, but connecting into this network and accessing the community and their skills.”
—insights from interviews with multiple Alumni Grant Partners in 2019
Tech Accelerator Funds
Mature tech-driven nonprofits are matched with Bay Area tech leaders.
UP TO 6 PARTNERS ANNUALLY
Nonprofits from all stages are matched with cross-sector Bay Area professionals in 4 issue areas.
Up to 8 Partners Annually
Full Circle Fund partners with nonprofits that address one or more of the following issue areas—economic opportunity, education, environment and energy, health—and tech nonprofits addressing any issue area. We define tech nonprofits as organizations building original hardware or software that use a nonprofit business model to scale social impact. What does partnership mean?
Skills-based volunteer support: 4 months dedicated pro bono support from a team of 6-10 volunteers on a high-priority project you are seeking external expertise and skills to design, develop, or implement
Unrestricted funding: $15,000 one-time general operating grant
Ongoing connections to the Full Circle Fund community as an alumni grant partner with benefits such as identification of new board members, consultants, staff, donors, and volunteer “champions;” new professional expertise, leadership development, and skills for staff; new relationships with social sector peers; follow-on funding and funder-ready deliverables; new data and measurement tools.
Project areas include, but are not limited to: business development, marketing and communications, metrics and evaluation, program development, sales and pricing, technical product management. You can learn about past projects our Members and Grant Partners have worked on together here:
Our Selection Process
Although we do not accept unsolicited proposals, we have a month-long open call for applications once a year. We trust nonprofit colleagues interested in partnership to carefully review the criteria and FAQs and make an informed and intentional decision to submit a form for consideration for partnership.
JAN - Outreach: We find organizations through an open call, referrals from Members, nonprofit partners, strategic partners, and peer funders, our own research, and email inquiries. Organizations that meet our criteria (below) are invited to submit an application by Monday, February 1, 5pm, PT.
FEB - Due Diligence: Grant Selection Committees composed of FCF staff, Members, and Alumni Grant Partners review applications to determine if Full Circle Fund is a good fit to warrant asking for an organization’s time. We schedule calls with the CEO/Executive Director and the Project Lead to learn more about the proposed project. We examine the organization’s model, long-term strategy, leadership, impact, and willingness to work with an engaged funder and team of skilled volunteers. Due diligence does not guarantee funding. Nonprofits at this stage will be notified of their status by Monday, March 1.
MAR - Member Consideration: After due diligence and discussion, the Grant Selection Committees vote for finalist Grant Partners for each of our four issue areas—Economic Opportunity, Education, Environment & Energy, Health—and the Tech Accelerator. Finalists will further scope their projects with FCF staff and Member leaders. We share the due diligence with our Members who then have an opportunity to meet the prospective Grant Partners before voting for projects. Nonprofits at this stage will be notified of their status by Thursday, April 1.
APR-AUG - Grant Partnership: The 7 Grant Partners are announced in early April followed by a mandatory Grant Partner Orientation. In April, we work with Grant Partners to finalize their project scopes, and from late April through August, Grant Partners work with our teams of skilled volunteers.
These are based on what we’ve learned from hundreds of partnerships with local nonprofits over the past 20 years and what we’ve heard works best directly from the nonprofit leaders who have participated.
Nonprofit Status: Has 501(c)(3) status or a fiscal sponsor with 501(c)(3) status.
Operates within one or more of the following counties in the San Francisco Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara. Organizations outside of the Bay Area may apply if they have staff in the Bay Area and serve one or more of these counties.
Addresses one or more of the following issue areas—economic opportunity, education, environment and energy, health—or is a tech nonprofit addressing any issue area. We define tech nonprofits as organizations building original hardware or software that use a nonprofit business model to scale social impact.
Has senior leadership that reflects the demographics of the communities it serves.
Has at least 3 full-time staff, including a senior leader based in the Bay Area that can be the project lead and point of contact for the duration of the project (4-6 months) and attend in-person events in San Francisco. We’ve learned that nonprofits with fewer than 3 staff cannot usually commit a key staff member to scope and advance the project.
Commitment of Time and Resources:
Ability to commit to project work with the team for 10-15 hours/month and provide access to information, systems, staff, and resources needed to produce great results for your organization and beneficiaries.
Organizational Vision & Strategy:
Has a current strategic plan, a theory of change, or an organizational roadmap. Tech nonprofits also have a technical roadmap for a live tech product or service projecting at least 6-12 months.
Have plans for a defined, high-priority project their organization would like to work on in the next 6 months (Apr-Aug 2021) that would be enhanced or accelerated by a team of 6-10 skilled volunteers. In other words, “This is a high-priority project we need to do anyway, and having Full Circle Fund’s support would make it possible or accelerate its progress.”
What We Don’t Fund
Activities to elect specific candidates for public office
Direct support of individuals
Hospitals and clinics
Individual or volunteer-run initiatives
Private schools, colleges, or universities
Frequently Asked Questions
Can past FCF Grant Partners apply for consideration for 2021 partnership?
We are not based in the Bay Area. Can we still apply?
We have a strong preference for Bay Area organizations. Your organization’s work must at least in part be currently serving Bay Area communities. If you don’t have an office in the Bay Area, you must have senior staff in the Bay Area that can meet in person (when safe to do so) with our Members in San Francisco.
Do you have any restrictions/requirements on org budget, staffing, or years in operation?
There are no restrictions or thresholds on organizational budget and years in operation. Our only requirement is that you have at least 3 full-time staff, ideally 6-8, one of whom is a senior leader based in the Bay Area that can be the project lead and point of contact for the duration of the project (4-6 months). We’ve heard from earlier stage nonprofits that this program doesn’t serve them as well. During the project, volunteers and nonprofit leaders are in touch regularly. Nonprofits at an earlier stage of growth usually have a tough time committing a key staff person for the time it takes to advance an active project.
What is the time commitment? What is expected of Grant Partners?
The time commitment is approximately 3 FCF-facilitated Work Sessions every 6-8 weeks from April to August. Grant Partners meet with their teams between Work Sessions every 1-2 weeks. See our past projects for the # of hours spent on a project. We expect the project lead to attend all sessions for consistency and team-building. Here are the events you can expect:
One 2-hour Meet & Greet with our Members in Mar 2021
Two 1-hour Project Scoping calls in Apr 2021
One 2-hour Grant Partner Orientation in Apr 2021
Three 1.5-hour Work Sessions from Apr-Aug 2021
3-4 calls/month between Work Sessions with your team from Apr-Aug 2021
These dates do not include calls or meetings that you and your Member project teams schedule in-between Work Sessions. We also expect:
Completion of post-event surveys (each takes no more than 15 mins)
Participation in check-in calls with FCF staff between Work Sessions (30-45 mins)
Submission of a pre-Grant Partnership survey and a final grant report, so we can measure our impact and improve the Grant Partner experience (each should take no more than 1 hr)
How much experience with nonprofits do your members have? What training do they get?
70% of our Members are from the private sector—some have volunteer/board experience and others are new to the nonprofit sector—and all care about social impact and want to use their professional skills to support nonprofits and learn about local issues with a community of peers.
We meet 1:1 with all Members prior to them officially joining FCF, so we can gauge whether they’d be a good fit for our program. Members attend an orientation on how they can apply their skills to the nonprofit sector and a workshop on power and privilege, so they enter the Grant Partnerships with an understanding of power dynamics and how to be a better partner to nonprofits.
How does FCF staff support the Grant Partners and Members?
Each project team is co-led by a senior leader representing the Grant Partner and a Member Team Lead. Our Team Leads have experience with project management and/or prior FCF project team experience. All Circles have Co-Chairs with FCF project team experience who act as coaches and peer advisors. We work closely with Grant Partners and Team Leads to scope projects before Work Session 1, and they are on-site at the Work Sessions facilitating as needed. We also schedule check-in calls with Grant Partners and Team Leads to debrief Work Sessions and provide resources and support. We’re available anytime via email or phone call.
Ready to APPLY?
Applications are due Mon, Feb 1, 5pm PT
Questions? Contact us at programs (at) fullcirclefund (dot) org
We have several goals for our Full Circle Fund partnership but the biggest is understanding how to pitch and structure deals with companies that want our technology. Member Jon Relyea taught us how to begin getting value out of partnerships even before they're signed.
Gavin McCormick, Co-founder Watttime