Lately, we have been helping a lot of clients through the process of analyzing their strategic plans to identify critical actions, then plotting those critical actions on a Logic Model to design effective, fundable projects. We are seeing a recurring pattern. Most nonprofits have a solid strategic plan, designed to meet their organizational and sustainability needs, but struggle to translate their needs into a proposal that funders will get behind.
The source of this struggle is losing perspective on what is truly important in the crazy bustle of managing a nonprofit organization and desperately searching for funding. Often proposals end up being a sales pitch for the organization where nonprofit leaders are trying to prove their organizations’ legitimacy. That’s not what funders are looking for. They are not searching to invest in one single organization. Funders invest in causes. They want to see who your target population is, how you will impact them and how you plan to make a difference. In order for a nonprofit to make a compelling case, we have to get beyond what we need and focus on what we are going to accomplish.
Have a look at your strategic plan and begin with the end in mind. Use who, what, when, where, why, and how to guide you. Who will you impact? What are the specific challenges that your target population face? And, what specifically will your organization do to help them overcome those challenges? When, or within what time frame, will you address those challenges? Where will your target population be once you’ve impacted them (outcomes)? How will the things you need to make a difference benefit your target population? And, how much more of an impact will you make when you have more of what you need to do your good work?Viewing each strategic goal and objective through this lens will help make it easier for your organization to identify your critical actions, successfully plot those actions on a Logic Model, and ultimately design a winning grant-funded project.