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Frequently Asked Questions about the Edyth Bush Institute

 | General Questions | Membership | Registration | Scholarships | Library | Foundations | Certificate Programs | Consultation | Rollins | Nonprofit Jobs |

Frequently Asked Questions about the Nonprofit Sector

| General 501(c)(3) | Boards | Fundraising | Volunteers | Statistics | Technology | Strategic Planning |

Also visit BoardSource for more answers to frequently asked questions about nonprofits.

General Questions about the Edyth Bush Institute

What does the Edyth Bush Institute do?

The Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership was established to assist philanthropic organizations in fulfilling their missions. To do so, the Edyth Bush Institute provides educational programming, networking opportunities, consulting services and research to help increase the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations and enhance the professional experience of the dedicated people whom they employ.

Can you give me money or help me raise money?

The Edyth Bush Institute does not give any funding to nonprofits or individuals. The Edyth Bush Institute provides educational opportunities for you to learn how your nonprofit can raise money for your cause. We also offer workshops in other areas such as board governance, human resources, technology, leadership, organizational development, etc. Our library gives users access to the Foundation Center directory online, where you can research foundations to find possible funding opportunities.

How do I sign-up to receive your e-newsletter and information on upcoming events?

To be put on our contact list simply fill out the online form.

What is the best way to contact the Edyth Bush Institute?

Please feel free to call our office at 407-975-6414 during normal office hours and we would be happy to answer any questions you might have. The Edyth Bush Institute also can be contacted via email at

Where is your office located and what are your office hours?

The Edyth Bush Institute office is located at 200 E. New England Avenue, on the corner of New England Ave. and Knowles Ave. Our office is on the 2nd floor of the Lawrence Center building. Our office is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Get driving directions.

How to I reserve your conference room?

Our conference room is available for members to use during normal business hours. To schedule the room, please call our office at 407-975-6414.

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Questions about Membership

What are the benefits of joining the Edyth Bush Institute as a member?

Read about our member benefits.

What is the difference between an Individual Member and an Organizational Member?

Individual memberships only allow the single individual to take advantage of Edyth Bush Institute member benefits. Organizational memberships are available to established nonprofit organizations, and allows for all staff members and key volunteers and board members to take advantage of the benefits of membership. In addition to these benefits, all 501c3 nonprofit organizations are eligible for up to $500 a year in scholarship money that can be used to discount workshop fees. Read more about scholarships.  

What are the costs to become a member of the Edyth Bush Institute?

For updated membership fees visit our membership page.

Can our volunteers take workshops at the membership rate?

Key volunteers and board members are welcome to use your nonprofit’s organizational membership to receive reduced tuition and access to scholarship discounts.

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Questions about Registration

How do I sign-up to take a workshop?

To register for any workshop or event, visit the event description page. You will receive a confirmation email letting you know we received your registration. Three to five days prior to the workshop start date, you will receive another email with directions and parking information. If you did not receive this email, please call the Edyth Bush Institute at 407-975-6414 to verify we received your registration and have your correct contact information on file.

When is the latest I can sign up for a workshop?

To enroll in a workshop, individuals must submit a completed workshop registration form by 3:00 p.m. on the business day prior to the workshop start date. We are unable to accommodate walk-ins. Full payment must be received prior to the workshop start date. To ensure opportunity for active learning, program attendance is limited and handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Early registration is encouraged.

What is your cancellation policy?

All cancellations are subject to a $15 cancellation fee.

Please note that registrants who do not cancel before 3 working days* in advance of the workshop (including online workshops) and do not attend are liable for the entire workshop fee. Lack of payment does not constitute cancellation.

Individuals who must cancel their registration may select one of the following three options, provided that they submit their cancellation to the Edyth Bush Institute in writing ( no later than three (3) working days prior to the workshop start date:

1.     Transfer the registration fee to another workshop.

2.     Designate an alternate person to attend.

3.     Receive a refund of the tuition fee, less the $15 cancellation fee.

No-shows are not eligible for a fee transfer or refund and will be held responsible for all unpaid fees.

*If the workshop is on Tuesday, we must receive your cancellation by the close of business the prior Thursday.

 View our registration policy page for more information.

Can I register by phone?

No, we suggest using our online system to submit your workshop registration. However, if you do not have access to the Internet please feel free to stop by the Edyth Bush Institute office to fill out a registration form in person.

Do I need to pay at the time of registration?

We encourage payment at the time of registration. However, all payment must be received prior to the start of the workshop.

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Questions about Scholarships

Am I eligible for a scholarship? How do I apply? Do I need to fill out a registration form also?

If you are employed by or volunteer at a 501c3 nonprofit who is an organizational member of the Edyth Bush Institute you are eligible for scholarships. Each organizational member can apply for up to 50% off the member rate for organizations with less than $2 million operating budget, and 25% off the member rate for organizations with an operating budget of greater than $2 million. These discounts cannot exceed $500 per calendar year. Read more about scholarships. To apply for a scholarship, fill out the scholarship request form LINK in lieu of the regular registration form.

How do I know if my scholarship request has been approved?

If you do not hear from our office staff, please assume that your scholarship request has been approved. If you would like to verify that it was received, please call our office at 407-975-6414 or email us at

How do I apply for the Crummer Management Program Mini-MBA scholarship?

The Edyth Bush Institute offers a limited number of scholarships to paid staff of 501c3 organizations that are members of the Edyth Bush Institute. Visit the Rollins MBA Opportunities for Nonprofit Organizations page for more information.

Is the allotment of $500 in scholarship money available each membership year or each calendar year?
Each 501c3 member organization’s scholarship money is renewed on January 1st of each calendar year.

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Questions about the Library

What resources does your library offer for nonprofit agencies?

Individuals have access to three computer terminals in the library in order to use the Foundation Directory Online and GuideStar Premium to access the full power of Members of the Edyth Bush Institute can check out books and other resources for up to two weeks at a time. Read more about the library.

Do I need to make an appointment to use the Foundation Center directory online?

No appointments are necessary. The library is open during our normal business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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Questions about Foundations

What is the Donors Forum of Central Florida?

The Donors Forum of Central Florida, a membership organization, provides a focal point and clearinghouse for more than 200 Central Florida foundations, corporate giving programs, individual donors, and public funding organizations. The Donors Forum is guided by an Executive Committee and administered by the Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership at Rollins College. The Donors Forum of Central Florida is an association that provides members an opportunity to increase the effectiveness of their philanthropy by interacting in a learning environment and exploring local issues and concerns.

Where can I find information on local foundations? Or specific foundations?

Please visit our library to access the Foundation Directory Online and GuideStar.

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Questions about Certificate Programs

Can I take just one session in a workshop series such as in proposal writing?

No. Each cohort enrolled in the proposal writing series must take all five workshops.

How long does it take to complete the Certificate in Fundraising and Development?

On average, the Certificate in Fundraising and Development can be completed in two years since some of the required courses are only offered once every two years.

Can I make up missed sessions in a multiple-session workshop series?

In some cases, yes. Please contact the Edyth Bush Institute at 407-975-6414.

How do I know I’ve completed all the requirements of the certificate programs?

Once you are getting close to completing all of the requirements for the certificate program, please contact the program manager responsible for your certificate program for verification.

What do I have to do to get the Certification in Nonprofit Management?

Read more about the requirements for the Certificate in Nonprofit Management.

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Questions About Consultation

Can I hire you to consult?

We would be more than happy to discuss offering your organization consulting. Please call the Edyth Bush Institute at 407-975-6414 for more information. You can see a list of our current contract services here.

Where can I find a list of independent grant writers?

For a list of independent grant writers, search the consultant directory on the Edyth Bush Institute website here.

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Questions About Rollins

Does Rollins College offer a degree in nonprofit management?

No, at this time Rollins College does not offer a graduate or undergraduate degree program in nonprofit management. However, the Edyth Bush Institute does offer a Certificate in Nonprofit Management.

How can my organization get interns from Rollins?

You can sign-up for Rollins College interns by visiting the following site:

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Questions About Nonprofit Jobs

Where can I post a job opening?

To post a job opening on the Edyth Bush Institute website visit the Job Posting Board here. If you would like to post your job opening for a national audience, visit where Edyth Bush Institute members receive a discount on posting fees.

How can I find grant opportunities?

Visit our library for access to the Foundation Center Directory online.

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Questions About the Nonprofit Sector

General 501(c)(3) Questions

Can I find a grant to start a nonprofit business?

Not typically, most start up funds for a new nonprofit come from the founders and in-kind donations from donors and members.

How do I establish a nonprofit organization?

The primary way is to incorporate in the state of Florida. The Edyth Bush Institute offers a workshop titled Steps for Starting a 501c3 Nonprofit, which is a great way to start if you are interested in starting your a nonprofit organization.

What does 501(c)(3) mean?

A 501(c)(3) is a tax status for a particular type of nonprofit given to an organization by the IRS.

What is philanthropy and what does it mean?

Philanthropy is the act of donating money, goods, services, time and/or effort to support a socially beneficial cause, with a defined objective and with no financial or material reward to the donor. In a more general sense, philanthropy may encompass any altruistic activity intended to promote good or improve human quality of life.

What does tax-exempt mean?

Typically, Application of Recognition of Exemption for 501c(3) Status means exemption from income tax/other taxes and when accepted will recognize donor contributions to the organization as tax-deductible up to the allowable limits under the law.

What are the most common risks facing nonprofit organizations?

One common area of risk is human resource/personnel issues, which are the number one reason why nonprofit organizations may be sued. Other financial management risks occur when an organization does not file a timely IRS Form 990, does not prepare for an annual audit, and does not have the proper internal controls.

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Questions About Boards

How do I get a board of directors?

The State of Florida requires that a corporation have at least three board members, however to be a functioning nonprofit organization, 12 to 20 board members are probably needed. Studies have shown that having board members who are passionate about the mission is more valuable than their affluence or influence. Begin with a strong case for support. Share it with others until you find people who care about the mission as much as you do. These are the people you should ask to be board members.

How much work do I have to do on a board? What kind of roles are there?

Nonprofit organizations should develop a board expectation statement that prospective board members can read and sign. This statement should tell them exactly what is expected of them and help them realize the financial and time commitment they are being asked to undertake. Each board is unique. Some require participation in committees and/or task forces. Some are very hands-on in program delivery. The board member expectation statement will help define the time expected of board members.

How can I get my board to do what it is supposed to do?

No one is born knowing how to be a board member. You can’t expect boards to do what they are supposed to do if they don’t know what that its. The first step is to make sure that your board is aware of their 10 roles and responsibilities either through attending workshops or brining in training for them. You might want to establish a Board Development Committee that helps orient and train their fellow board members, manages the recruitment of future board members, and guarantees that everyone is up to speed on their fiduciary responsibilities.

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Questions About Fundraising

Is there a common application form for grant proposals?

The common grant application format has been adopted by groups of grantmakers to allow grant applicants to produce a single proposal for specific funders. At one time local funders in Central Florida had a common application, but this is not in use today. Before applying to any funder that accepts a common grant application form, be sure to check that your project matches the funder’s stated interest.

Where can I find examples of grant proposals?

Many grantseekers will tell you they owe much of their funding success from modeling their proposals after winning grant applications they obtained from the federal government. The only problem is that the federal government can take many months to process such requests. Some funding sources will post outstanding applications to help the next generation of proposal writers to write their applications. There is no rule in finding these. Do not be shy about contacting previous recipients of grant funding. Certainly be respectful of time constraints, but many nonprofits will offer tours of their funded program and provide examples of their record-keeping procedures. You need to recognize that the current grantee might be applying for continued funding and may view your organization as the competition.

Where can I find information on government grants?

The Federal government’s single, online portal to electronically find grant opportunities and apply for grants is found at This is a cross-agency initiative involving 900 grant programs and 26 grant-making agencies with over $500 billion in annual awards. Search for state of Florida request for proposals at Check your local government web sites for funding opportunities.

How can I find grant opportunities?

You can find grant opportunities on You do not have to register with to find grant opportunities. However, once you are ready to apply for a grant, you will need to get registered, which take 3-5 business days. You can search by keyword, funding opportunity number or the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA), a variety of categories of funding activities, or search from a list of agencies offering funding.

Are there grants available to help me start a business? does not provide personal financial assistance. To learn where you may find personal help, check NOTE: This type of funding is different than grants for 501(c)(3) (nonprofit/charitable) organizations.

How do I find out how much a donor can give my organization?

The maximum amount of grant assistance varies for each funder and from year to year. The amount of funding available is included in the Request for Proposals (RFP). For appropriate requested amount to foundations, check the 990 PFs on Guidestar. The amount of previous funding to recipients will be listed in the report. Additionally, when you find a federal grant announcement, scan the first few pages to find the Estimated Average Award Size, which will give you valuable information.

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Questions About Volunteers

Where can I find volunteers?

The trick is being able to find the right volunteer. Here are ten tips:

  1. Make sure that your organization is ready to utilize volunteers. Have a written job description for all volunteer assignments.
  2. Design your promotional materials so that the volunteer jobs sound exciting and rewarding.
  3. Ask your current volunteers to invite their friends to become volunteers too.
  4. List the volunteer assignment with local volunteer centers such as the Seminole Community Volunteer Program and Heart of Florida United Way.
  5. Contact local colleges and universities about their student programs such as the Rollins College Office of Community Engagement.
  6. Post the volunteer jobs on national websites such as, Craigslist, and Volunteer Match.
  7. People who regularly attend worship services are more likely to volunteer, ask if you can post volunteer opportunities with houses of worship.
  8. Develop a Speakers Bureau that can not only tell people about your mission but also, recruit volunteers.
  9. Make use of social media by having a presence on Facebook and Twitter.
  10. Send stories to the local news outlets about the work your current volunteers are doing.

What effect will the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 have on the potential liability of our nonprofit and our volunteers?

Both the State of Florida’s and federal Volunteer Protection Act protect volunteers who are performing a service for a nonprofit organization without compensation shall incur no civil liability for any act or omission by the volunteer which results in personal injury or property damage if the volunteer was acting in good faith within the scope of any official duties performed under such volunteer service and the volunteer was acting as an ordinary, reasonably prudent person would have acted under the same or similar circumstances, as long as, the injury or damage was not caused by any wanton or willful misconduct on the part of the volunteer in the performance of their duties.

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Questions About Statistics

Where can I find statistical data on U.S. Charities?

Two terrific websites that present data about the nonprofit sector are the National Center for Charitable Statistics and the Independent Sector. The National Center for Charitable Statistics is the nation’s clearinghouse for nonprofit data. Its mission is to develop and disseminate high quality data on nonprofit organizations and their activities for use in research on the relationships between the nonprofit sector, government, the commercial sector, and the broader civil society. The Independent Sector serves as the premier meeting ground for the leaders of America's charitable and philanthropic sector. Since its founding in 1980, it has sponsored ground-breaking research, fought for public policies that support a dynamic, independent sector, and created unparalleled resources so staff, boards, and volunteers can improve their organizations and better serve their communities.

How many nonprofits are there in Central Florida? In Florida?

According to the website Guidestar, currently there are 69,784 nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)(3) designation in Florida as of July 2009. There are 11,281 nonprofit organizations within a 50 mile radius of downtown Orlando. The Foundation Center identifies 5136 grantmakers in Florida, of these 549 are located in the metropolitan Orlando area.

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Questions About Technology

Where can I get information on fundraising and accounting software packages for nonprofit organizations?

We suggest and

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Questions About Strategic Planning

What is strategic planning?

Strategic planning is a comprehensive and integrated process for determining the goals of the organization and the policies and strategies that will govern the acquisition, use, and disposition of resources to achieve these goals. The process includes making decisions on the allocation of people, assets, and opportunities to meet an agreed‐upon objective. Almost all funders want to see an organization;s strategic plan. It is a must have.

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