Neighborhood & Community Relations

Crown Roller Mill, Room 425
105 5th Avenue South 
Minneapolis, MN 55401
ncr@minneapolismn.gov
(612) 673-3737

The Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission (NCEC)

Frequently Asked Questions about the Community Participation Program Guidelines:

1. "What happens if we can't meet the January 14th application deadline?"

2. What if our board won't meet until after January 14, but we want to submit a proposal for the January NCEC meeting?

3. "Does my neighborhood organization need to send in copies of current legal filings (990, MN Sec State, Annual Report charitable orgs)?" and "Does my neighborhood organization need to send in our operating policies (bylaws, grievance, conflict of interest and ADA policies)?"

4. "If we use our funds for an event that generates revenue (community festival that includes a free will offering or a nominal charge), are there restrictions placed on the revenue generated?" and "can we support our newspaper with CPP funds if we take ads?"

5. "Is a budget template available?"

6. "What if something doesn't fit in one of the line items in the budget template?"

7. "What if our neighborhood organization's budget doesn't line up with the budget template?"

8. "We have never prepared an organizational budget before. Where do we start?"

9. "Does NCR/NCEC want a program budget that shows just CPP expenses? Or a full organization budget?"

10. "Several internal citations in the Community Participation Guidelines seem to be pointing to the wrong places (or to section headers that don't appear in the published document). Can you fix this?"

11. "How do you define ‘under-represented’?"

1. "What happens if we can't meet the January 14th application deadline?"

Answer: Don't worry, the January 14th deadline is only if you want to have your neighborhood organization's application considered for the January NCEC meeting. You can still make a submission in later months.

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2. "What if our board won't meet until after January 14, but we want to submit a proposal for the January NCEC meeting?"

Answer: Provide us with a preliminary submission, and let us know when you expect your board to review and approve the submission. Then, notify us when the submission is approved by your board.

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3. "Does my neighborhood organization need to send in copies of current legal filings (990, MN Sec State, Annual Report charitable orgs)?" and "Does my neighborhood organization need to send in our operating policies (bylaws, grievance, conflict of interest and ADA policies)?"

Answer: Here is what we asked for in the cover letter and template:

• Your neighborhood organizations name and contact information;

• A narrative submission;

• A budget;

• A current copy of your bylaws;

• Date of board approval of proposal;

• Demonstration of being current on annual filings.

So you should really only need to submit your current bylaws (well, not just your bylaws... obviously the narrative proposal itself, contact information, budget, etc). For the legal filings, I would say simply let us know when your neighborhood organization last filed... I will likely be checking your registration status, retrieving 990s, etc., online in any event.

We fully expect that most neighborhood organizations may not have all of the required operating policies in place at this time (i.e., ADA policies). If so, they should simply acknowledge that they will prepare them sometime prior to their next submission for the 2012-2014 funding cycle. (NCR is working on templates and samples as well, and will post them on the NCR website as they become available).

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4. "If we use our funds for an event that generates revenue (community festival that includes a free will offering or a nominal charge), are there restrictions placed on the revenue generated?" and "can we support our newspaper with CPP funds if we take ads?"

Answer: For both of these situations, I would say that we may have to bring these questions to the NCEC for policy development... a nice opportunity to practice developing policy with a 45-day review and comment period. :-) In the interim period where we have no clear policy, I am proceeding on historic precedent set by NRP and Citizen participation. In the case of fundraising, if a fundraising event is supported with CPP funds, then revenue should be reported as income that is now subject to CPP Guidelines. Regarding the newsletter ads, NRP and Citizen Participation have had different policies. NRP prohibited using NRP funds for a newsletter or newspaper that was also supported by ads. Citizen Participation was more permissive. I think what I have indicated so far is to assume that funds could not be spent on newspapers if there are also ads. However, I think a neighborhood organization could legitimately argue that, absent clear policy, it should be allowed. So, as with fundraising, if a newspaper generates ads, then the ad revenue would be considered program income, and subject to CPP guidelines.

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5. "Is a budget template available?"

Answer: Yes, a budget template is included with the submission template.

 

Staff Expenses

$

Employee Benefits

$

Professional Services

$

Occupancy

$

Communications/Outreach

$

Supplies and Materials

$

Festivals and events

$

Food and refreshments

$

Development

$

Fundraising

$

Other Services

$

TOTAL:

$

Footnotes to the budget:

• Staff expenses should include payroll, FICA, and withholding, or staff contractors.

• Employee benefits should include any health insurance, retirement, or other benefits.

• Professional services should include the cost of temporary contractors, bookkeepers, accountants, etc.

• Occupancy should reflect costs related to rent, utilities, phone, websites and email expenses, and other similar expenses.

• Communications/Outreach should include costs of publications, printing, postage, delivery, flyers, etc.

• Supplies and materials should include office supplies as well as expenses for supplies related to ongoing programs such as block patrols, etc.

• Festivals and events can include any costs related to community events and festivals.

• Food and refreshments can include the cost of any food or refreshments related to your neighborhood organizations community engagement efforts (may not exceed 5% of your neighborhood organization's CPP allocation).

• Development expenses could include costs related to training, education, recognition, or orientation for board, staff and volunteers.

• Fundraising could include any costs related to fundraising for your neighborhood organization` (hiring of consultants, costs of materials, postage, events, etc).

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6. "What if something doesn't fit in one of the line items in the budget template?"

Answer: Feel free to add another budget line in the template.

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7. "What if our neighborhood organization`'s budget doesn't line up with the budget template?"

Answer: Feel free to use your neighborhood organization's budget categories instead of the template. The template was designed to help smaller neighborhood organizations that don't typically do budgeting.

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8. "We have never prepared an organizational budget before. Where do we start?"

Answer: I use three simple rules when developing a budget. First, the budget is a planning tool... how does it help you think about what you are going to be doing? For example, if your plans entail hiring staff, you should enter some amount in the "staff expenses" line. If not, then nothing should be entered. So, how much to budget for staff (or some other item)?

This brings us to my second rule: experience is the best teacher. What did your neighborhood organization` spend on similar expenses last year? Or, what did a similar neighborhood organization with a similar size budget set aside for these line items? Then think about what you plan to do differently.

Finally, my third rule is "when in doubt, make your best estimate." For example, for staff you could make some simple estimations based on number of hours you expect someone to work times the rate of pay. If you expect ten hours per week at $15/hour, for 50 weeks, then budget 10 X 15 X 50 = $7,500.

Monitor expenses during the year and make adjustments (to the budget, or to expenses) as appropriate.

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9. "Does NCR/NCEC want a program budget that shows just CPP expenses? Or a full organization budget?"

Answer: Just a budget for proposed expenses related to CPP. However, it would be nice to see your neighborhood organization's full budget for comparison to, and share with, other neighborhood organizations. :-)

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10. "Several internal citations in the Community Participation Guidelines seem to be pointing to the wrong places (or to section headers that don't appear in the published document). Can you fix this?"

Answer: Oops! Here is where the internal citations should point to:

Page 6, Section A: "Section I.B above" should be "page 3, above"

Page 6, Section A: "Section IV.B. below" should be "'Content of Submissions (after Year 1),' on page 6, below."

Page 6, Section B: "(See Section IV.D. Contracting and Reporting, below.)" should be "(See 'Contracting and Reporting,' on page 7, below.)"

Page 6, Section B: "Section I.B. above" should be " 'Eligibility' on Page 3, above"

Page 6, Section B: "from Section I.A. Program Purposes, above" should be "from 'Program Purposes' on Page 2, above."

Page 7, Section C: "in Section I.B above" in both first and sixth paragraphs should be "in 'Eligibility' on Page 3, above"

Page 7, Section C: "in Section VI. below" should be "under 'Grievances Against Contracted Neighborhood Organizations,' on page 8 below."

Page 8, Section D: "Standards and Expectations outlined in Section II above" should be "Standards and Expectations outlined on Page 4 above."

Page 9, Grievances Against Contracted Neighborhood Organizations, second bullet: "(Section I.B above)" should be "on page 4, above."

Page 10, Appendix A: Determining Funding Levels, Section B, third bullet point: "as described in Section II of the Community Participation Program guidelines" should be "as described in 'Content of Submissions (after Year 1),' on page 6 of the Community Participation Guidelines."

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11. "How do you define ‘under-represented?’"

Answer: We have no specific definition of "under-represented." "Under-represented" may mean different things in different neighborhoods… depending on the context, this question could be answered differently from neighborhood-to-neighborhood, year-to-year, project-to-project.

A good starting point may be to analyze Census data for your neighborhood (or other comparable data). Hopefully, your neighborhood organization has a good sense of how the demographics of the neighborhood have changed since the 2000 Census, and can provide some detail about this in their submission. One way to refect this is to say "here is what the 2000 Census provides; here is what we think has changed since then; here is who we identify as under-represented; here is how we will reach out to them."

Beyond the Census data, there may be other groups your organization sees as under-represented... do we not engage local businesses enough? How about absentee landlords? We seem to have a lot of nonprofit services in our neighborhood, do we really talk with them enough? It is not uncommon that neighborhoods have physical barriers in the neighborhood that inhibit participation (e.g. railroad tracks splitting the neighborhood). So are there blocks or sectors of the neighborhood where you don't get much participation? How about people who visit local amenities such as parks, stores, etc?

A different way of asking the question is "what groups of people are impacted by our work, and how well are they represented in our organization? Are we using the right tools to reach them? Are we working on the right issues?"

Finally, remember that the goal of your first year's submission may be as simple as figuring out what the right questions are. "We need to figure out who is impacted by our work. We need to do an analysis of Census data (especially when the 2011 data is available). What barriers are there to participation?" etc.

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The City of Minneapolis invites and encourages participation by every resident to each program, service and event within our city. Should you require an accommodation in order for you to fully participate, or should you require this document in a different format, please let us know by contacting 612-673-3737.

Last updated Apr. 27, 2012