The Old Days…
In the old days (over thirty years ago) I wrote my first grant for a small nonprofit when the vital link between board giving and grant success was almost non-existent. It was a federal grant for $90,000 for a rural runaway youth shelter. There were no questions about how much the board members contributed of their own funds to the organization. There were no questions about what percentage of board members gave. We won the grant and I was hooked!
Through this win, I was able to realize the power of my writing! I found I could make a big impact on the world with my attention to detail. Of course, this was in the day when we still received the Federal Register in the mail. There was no internet. If we wanted to research a foundation, we made our way to the nearest library with a foundation section. Once in the foundation section, we spent hours going through gigantic books and making copies of prospect information.
Board Giving and Grant Success Today…
Today the grant process is very different and as you can imagine, the grant-writing world has changed. Funders ask many different questions now and require a lot more documentation. Their funding processes are also often vastly different. One of the key changes I have seen over the years is the increase in funders who want to know what percentage of your board members give financially to the organization. Some take it a step further and ask what percentage of your entire agency budget comes from board donations. For those boards that do not have a 100% giving rate, this can be very problematic, possible consequences are:
- the organization may not be awarded a grant because of poor board-giving records
- the organization may lose points in the scoring process
The bottom line here is that funders are social investors. They are looking for:
- SROI (Social Return On Investment)
- Organizations and boards that are passionate about what they do
- Evidence of board commitment through financial giving
It is already a very competitive grant world out there, so be sure you understand the vital link between board giving and grant success. Be sure your board is not hindering your success with their lack of financial commitment. Your board will be well on its way to ensuring a positive impact on the organization it supports if members understand the vital link between board giving and grant success. If you need board training to help your board understand this important role, contact Pathways to Growth for agency-specific board training. You can also register for The Role of Boards in Grant Writing, an upcoming training by our president, Jule Colvin, to be hosted by Catalyst Consulting on September 22, 2021.