Communicating to Funders
“Funders”, or foundations, interested in supporting your cause or project want to know several things about you. They want to know about your nonprofit’s values and mission; so, if they have not already been spelled out by your board, we suggest starting there. If you are fortunate enough to have an active board that has undergone strategic planning exercises such as outlining your vision and embracing a mission statement, now is the time to demonstrate to funders just how you put those words into action.
Funders want to see how your agency “walks the walk” and how you effect change in the lives of the individuals your nonprofit serves. Be prepared to show them the demographics of individuals served (i.e., total annual number, gender orientation, race/ethnicity, type of service used, per capita cost). Funders will also want to be able to examine your nonprofit’s financial health and documents of record. So, before meeting with a grant-writer with whom you have engaged, gather all of your documents of record (i.e., nonprofit tax determination letter, annual budget, board of directors list).
Starting (or Re-starting)
If you are just beginning your nonprofit or it has been dormant for some years, you may not have a 990 Form, or a formal independent audit performed. This is one area where we suggest you focus efforts. We can advise you on freely provided financial preparations that may suit your nonprofit’s needs if this is an expense you cannot incur.
Finally, measurable outcomes are essential for demonstrating your worth, not only as a potential grantee, but also as a paginated awardee, or one worthy of funding for multiple years. You need hard data to demonstrate your ability to track impact and demonstrate outcomes over time. On this last point, we recommend beginning to track data on services, goals and objectives from the get-go, which may mean investing in software or developing a database befitting your services. However, we can explore with you more affordable options if sophisticated software is beyond your nonprofit’s reach.
Call us today to discuss ways in which your nonprofit can communicate all that you do in an impactful and persuasive way.