For many years, I have worked closely with board members at multiple foundations and nonprofit organizations. I made it my business to be nosy. I listened intently to their suggestions and to their qualms and put my overthinking (analytical) skills to great use.
I knew that I wanted to start my own grant consulting and writing services business. In order to provide the most comprehensive and effective services, I knew that I needed to fully understand the perspective of each individual or group involved in the nonprofit development process. What I learned about the board members, that are the deciding entity for most foundation grants, is that determining who to fund is an intricate, and sometimes frustrating process for them.
At the start of each grant review cycle, Pandora’s Box is opened, and out comes opinions, personal connections to different causes, bias, lack of clarity, and more all wrapped up in a true desire to provide access, opportunity, and resources to disadvantaged communities. In addition to these challenges are the sometimes stale requests for funding that do not adequately and effectively express the “why” behind what the requesting organization does for their target demographic. In understanding that the Board has all of these factors to contend with, the goal of a requesting organization should be to produce a brief, yet comprehensive and effective persuasive narrative that stands out from the rest and stays etched in their memory. The Board must see a program, project, or operation as the ultimate sustainable solution to a vital, dire need.
In recognizing the very human emotions, personal beliefs and ideals of the board members, I began to view their difficult task in a new light. Imagine being the judge and jury, deciding on just a few out of hundreds, sometimes even thousands of amazing organizations to award funding to?
They know that they will have to let some down. They are fully aware of the fact that without the funding that they could potentially provide, an organization might not be able to help people. This is a heavy load to bear, in addition to a tedious determination process to participate in.
After reading through multiple narratives, they all start to seem repetitious. In other words, board members become bored with the proposals that they receive. Reading through them becomes a mechanical chore. Ultimately their decision is based on what will have the greatest impact. However, the submission that excites them the most, or possibly bores them the least will more than likely stand out and be a fan favorite.
Fortunately, there is an easy solution – you must tell your compelling story. Do not be ashamed or embarrassed, or even think that no one wants to hear it. Your personal connection led you to your passion to create a nonprofit that addresses the social issue that is important to you. Your authentic story comprises the details that will prove to be most convincing. Your passion for what you offer will jump off of the pages and touch their souls, simply because it is your truth. Of course data and demographics that substantiate the need for your innovative solution, as well as your past and projected outcomes must be included as well. Just never underestimate the importance of effectively communicating the reason that you do what you do.
The Write Narrative can help you with this process. Contact us so that we can become your ally. We provide consulting and writing services for nonprofits and organizations. You share your story with us, and we translate the passion that you exude for what you do into a compelling written narrative – the “right” narrative. We will have those Board Members up and at ‘em – fully engaged and partnered with you in no time.
If you’re looking for professional grant writing services, marketing content writing, editing and proofreading, research or any other customized writing projects, contact us today.