7 Essential Resources for Central Illinois Nonprofits


Many non-profits are spinning their wheels trying to find resources. As someone who has been in a number of non-profit positions where the predecessor was struggling to keep her head above water, I quickly decided that, in order to survive in these positions, I was going to have to get help from experts outside the agency.

With help from the resources below…

I was able to keep from drowning in these positions, increase funds raised, and accomplish the following in less than one fiscal year:

  • wrote grants that increased department operational funds by more than 25%

  • doubled the agency’s Facebook following
  • drafted a white paper that brought in over $100,000 to local non-profits
  • quadrupled the net revenue of two different donor solicitation letters
  • got new donors excited about giving

From my experience, I think it’s vital that all Central Illinois non-profits know about these seven resources:

1. Central Illinois Nonprofit Resource Center

This is that mystery place people whisper about where you have to trek “all the way” to the University of Illinois Springfield to access a list of grants. Central Illinois Non-profit Resource Center (CINRC), located at the University of Illinois Springfield’s library, offers much more than just free access to The Foundation Center‘s database of foundations and grants.

CINRC has books and a variety of trainings specific to philanthropy. It claims to operate as “a support center for the philanthropic sector in Central Illinois”. CINRC’s workshops can help you network with other non-profit professionals you might not meet in your line of work. Also, if you know what to do once you get the info, accessing The Foundation Center can be like being handed the keys to the elusive grant castle.

Learn More: Central Illinois Non-profit Resource Center

2. Forefront Central Illinois

Forefront Central Illinois is doing something really cool in the state of Illinois – it’s tearing down silos. Forefront connects non-profits, grantmakers, public agencies, community foundations, and other philanthropic resources. They are “building a vibrant social impact sector” in Illinois. 

If you aren’t connected already, Sarah with Forefront is probably meeting with non-profits in your area, working to bring resources and trainings to your community. In Decatur, Illinois Forefront meets at Central Christian Church once every other month with non-profits.With so many resources coming and going and many of our NPO baby-boomer leaders retiring, Forefront is an entity with staying power, championing for downstate Illinois non-profits to think ahead so they can move forward.

Learn More: Forefront Central Illinois

3. Your Region's United Way

The United Way has changed a lot since its inception. Local United Ways encourage community involvement and use their expertise to engage individuals, businesses, and groups in giving. They then coordinate disbursement of the funds raised. Again, every United Way seems to be a little different. United Ways also coordinate volunteers, especially corporate volunteering. So, make sure you are on the e-mail list in your region to get updates on volunteer campaigns, grants, and trainings held through your United Way.

My United Way, the United Way of Decatur and Mid Illinois is pretty awesome. They just updated their mission to focus on integrated solutions to empower self-sufficiency.

Learn More: United Way

4. Your Local Community Foundation

Community Foundations focus on building charitable resources to improve their community. They also try to keep their finger on the pulse of the community’s needs. Community foundations help donors learn how to give and connect donors with charities who have like-minded missions. They’re also local and cool! Community foundations look different depending on what community you’re in.

For example, Decatur's local Community Foundation of Macon County has a Young Philanthropist Giving Circle that In 2017 they hosted a pitch party - Shark Tank style. The prize – $5,000 to one local charity. 

Learn More: Community Foundation of Macon County

5. Do Good Consulting

She no longer lives in Urbana, but she's still pretty awesome! If you’ve ever been to one of Laura Huth’s trainings, you know she’s dynamic. She really knows her stuff. I recommend signing up for Do Good Consulting’s newsletter and keeping your eyes out for her next training in your area. If you’re in a rut and need help with strategic planning, she might also be your gal.

Read More: Do Good Consulting

6. Grit HQ

Yep, that's us! We offer a huge array of Nonprofit Services:

In addition to producing message-focused, image centered marketing materials for nonprofits, writing grants that get funded, conducting nonprofit training, and we provide FREE content resources to help nonprofits improve their fundraising, social media and branding/marketing game.

Like this Free Facebook Guide For Nonprofits!

We first launched in April 2017 on the premise of providing effective and efficient marketing services cheaper than it would cost for you to pay one of your staff members to do it. We stand by our motto

7. A Website Designer who Won't Break the Bank

I cringe when I hear how much nonprofits are paying for websites. If it sounds like you’re paying too much for your website...you are! If your website doesn’t have a lot of layers, it should cost somewhere from $1,000-$6,000 for a local company to design a new, mobile-friendly website for you, freshen up the copy, and get some fancy, cropped images up. Check out GRIT HQ's website design services if you're looking for options.

Related Reading: A Website Designer that Won’t Break the Bank



Want to get access to Grit HQ's library full of free resources for nonprofit and small business owners?

Leave your email below to get the password and subscribe to Grit HQ's newsletter.