10 Ways to Stretch your Grant Dollars
  1. Start with the essentials. If you are starting a sports league for underprivileged youth, sports equipment is necessary. Big expensive trophies are not. Use those funds to include more children in the league.
  2. Plan ahead. Price out your budget items and look for sales. Ask around: maybe a Lodge member knows someone who can help out.
  3. Don’t be shy. Ask for a discount. Sometimes it’s as simple as explaining your Lodge’s charitable project, and asking for some help with the costs.
  4. Beware of advertising costs. If your Lodge has good partnerships in place and is targeting its project toward community members in need, it will likely not need to advertise. If it does, these costs should be no more than 10 percent of the total grant budget.
  5. T-shirts are nice, but not essential. Use those funds to expand the project and serve more people. Or, partner with a local business to put their logo on the shirts also in exchange for help with the cost of the shirts.
  6. When it comes to food, consider your audience. If you’re holding a dance for teens with disabilities, a turkey dinner probably won’t go over as well as something simpler (and cheaper!) like hamburgers and hot dogs.
  7. Be creative. Instead of hiring a DJ, ask a local high school or college student to be the DJ for a night. All you need is speakers, an iTunes account, and someone who loves music. Don’t forget about Elks Scholars in your area, too!
  8. Ask for help. Local high school and college students often have service hour requirements to complete. For example, a local photography student can take photos. Or, an art student could help teach painting to local elementary school students.
  9. Harness the power of your Lodge members! If your project is to provide clothes for kids in need, consider also collecting secondhand clothes from Elks. Then, the kids can benefit even more from the project.
  10. Think practically. How can the Lodge best serve the community? Targeted events geared toward smaller groups have the most potential to make an impact.

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