What Is The C.H.I.P.S Principle®?


By Denise Roggio

There’s an interesting story behind the C.H.I.P.S. Principle®.

In May 2016, I was sitting on an airplane for a 5-hour flight to visit family. As luck would have it, I was seated right next to a federal grant review panelist. We had a fantastic flight because we began sharing stories and swapping ideas. She shared with me the “C.H.I.P.S Principle®” without even realizing it. In fact, she used completely different words. But, I learned what panelists look for in a fund-worthy program which includes all of the components of C.H.I.P.S.® So there it was – my personal program and grant application template.  By applying this principle, I have witnessed organizations increase their capacity, increase donor and grant funding, cultivate a human-focused culture, engage more volunteers and increase sustainable outcomes.

Read on to discover how these five components can significantly increase your funding and program impact!

“C”- Collaboration

The invaluable program component, collaboration, is an interesting term. Some confuse it with “cooperation”. But they are not synonyms.

Collaboration is an inexpensive way to promote ideas, open conversation and business integrity through inspiration, innovation and sharing. “When organizations are using an innately social system to manage projects, share files, collaborate with one another, they are inherently sharing that knowledge and making sure that it’s being captured and shared across the organization. With access to this knowledge, innovation is encouraged. When people are exposed to new ideas and stimulating information, they gain new ideas instead of solving the same problems over and over again. And this is key to being a successful, ever-growing business.” (From James, B. S. (2014, September 04). 4 vital ways collaboration can save your business. http://betanews.com/2014/10/15/4-vital-ways-collaboration-can-save-your-business/)

Collaboration is for the purpose of becoming informed, making decisions, solving problems and managing projects. If the accounting firm had become informed about the competing firm, making decisions regarding how to maintain a competitive advantage, solving the problems that faced their firm another firm may have thought twice before opening a business near them.

So what exactly is collaboration: it is teamwork at its very best that takes place between individuals, groups, organizations and/or leaders who come together with a united goal to outline objectives and make it happen. The collaborating parties help solve the puzzle together. There is a lot of brainstorming, discussion, planning, revisions and more revisions. Then, Voila! A program is born. Let’s say you have a program idea. You run it by a few colleagues who are supportive and indicate that you should run with it. Now you have the task of choosing teammates for collaboration. You may be a multi-talented, well-educated and extremely skilled individual. However, you cannot possess every skill needed to launch the program and sustain it. There are others who possess what you lack, and you possess what they lack. Form your team. Lay out your ideas on paper. Meet often, discuss and look at every angle – good and bad.

“H”- Humanity

Not every program benefits humans only. We are all familiar with animal shelters, the Humane Society and other protective services for our favorite creatures. But Humanity still applies. Why? Because there is a human element in every program, namely volunteers. Without them, philanthropy would be dead in the water. Volunteerism is an integral component from program development all the way through funding. There are three human categories in programs. We have already mentioned our volunteers. The second is the program’s benefactors.  The third is the program administrators. These are the humans that are directly impacted by the program.

“I” – Impact

The questions to be answered by you and your collaborators are: What is our desired impact? How many people will this benefit? How will the program impact the welfare of others? What will the program provide that results in maximum impact?When we think of impact, we often picture a terrible vehicle accident or the resulting repercussions of a falling object. Similarly, your program must have results – but positive ones. These results must be measureable so you can see the results. Impact in the C.H.I.P.S.Principle® signifies four specific ideas:

  1. The number of lives we will positively affect – measureable
  2. The demographic data we wish to influence – documented
  3. The number of volunteers we can amass – measureable
  4. The number of goals successfully attained – measureable

“P” – Progress

For the purpose of program development, we can view this section through two lenses:

1.) Progress, as in making progress toward the desired impact, and 2.) Progression, as in how will we proceed with the steps to continue our progress. Making progress is something we all relate to in every aspect of life. It goes without saying that while developing a program, steps toward progress must be taken, documented and carefully planned. Progression means something slightly different, referring to the continuation of progress, the growth of an existing program or the order of specific steps that must be taken. Progress encompasses the planning stage through the first successful launch of the program’s activities. Progression takes over from that point on.

“S” – Sustainability

I have always been most challenged by sustainability, but not for every program. It’s difficult to predict the future of a new program, especially when the sponsoring organization has a constrained budget. Sometimes, we have to take it by faith that the program will do its job well, impacting lives and engaging community members; if that indeed happens, it will become self-sustaining. Sustainability is directly related to program budgets. Here is where the collaboration and planning must be on point.

One important element for sustainability is Program Income. All effective programs have their own income source, whether In-Kind revenue or monetary. For example, a Senior Citizen’s Health Clinic was started by the Community Center in Shasta County, California. The clinic is a program designed to provide preventative and urgent care treatment to citizens in that County, ages 65 and older who are underinsured, on Medicare or on full disability. The healthcare they receive is not free. Instead, seniors who qualify will pay a sliding scale fee based on their income. Therefore, the Clinic Program brings in an income of its own. It also hosts fundraisers and receives grant funding. The combination of funding sources, combined with the target population density makes this a sustainable program. Another example is a food bank in my area. This organization receives donations of canned and fresh foods, which they literally give away to very low income residents who qualify– this is an example of a program that is primarily funded by In-Kind revenue.

The Take Away:

C.H.I.P.S.® can assist your organization to apply strategies that foster effective change, improve grant proposals, increase funding and maximize impact!

Join us for the C.H.I.P.S. Workshop, March 7th – 8th, 2019


Denise Roggio is the Founder and Lead Consultant at LDR ProSolutions. She has a background in music education, grants, administration and presenting. Her passion is helping others succeed. Denise developed the C.H.I.P.S. Principle in 2016 to promote an increase in nonprofit and government sector grant funding. By applying the principle, she witnessed a tremendous improvement in three key areas: Project Development, Organizational Planning and Grant Awards/Management. She is a Certified Grant Writer®, with a Bachelor’s in Small Business Administration and Lean Six Sigma Certification.

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