If there’s one word to describe our experience of the last year and a half, it’s change. For better or for worse, the only thing that is predictable about life is that it is unpredictable. And just as individuals, communities, and even nations grow and evolve with the ebb and flow of social awareness and human needs, so too does the focus of the funding landscape. As we peer through our mission-focused binoculars at an ever-changing funding horizon, how do we navigate what we see? How do we assess and respond to an ever-changing funding landscape, and what does this mean for our case statement?
Assessing The Funding Landscape
Grant awards over the past year and a half have shifted to Covid-19 response and recovery, and work focused on Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI). More and more funders seem to be prioritizing funding for organizations that work to change systems and policies in order to increase equity and justice. This means that the funding landscape is changing.
Assessing Your Mission
A nonprofit’s mission is the foundation for its strategy and creates the pathway for its organizational culture and values. The mission statement is critical to galvanizing and mobilizing an organization’s workforce and stakeholders and is essential in communicating the organization’s purpose to all audiences.
Organizations should regularly review their vision and mission statements. Ask questions like, Is our mission still applicable to the changes in today’s society and communities? Are the needs of the community still being met by our services?
Involve the Board of Directors, employees, and community stakeholders in this Mission/Vision review so you can see the organizational impact from the perspectives of participants and the people in your organization that are on the front lines helping people in need every day.
Finding The Intersection
Social change is at times incremental or even cyclical, leading an organization into new directions that require adjustments to its mission statement. In the past year and a half social change has been explosive, which might require a dynamic change within organizations.
As we move into this new era of social change, it is more important than ever for nonprofits to make sure they are with the communities they serve and rethink their mission and values in order to continue to meet the needs of the community. Funders want to engage with nonprofit organizations by partnering to affect positive change.
Positioning Your Case Statement
A case statement explains the needs the organization meets in the community, how the organization meets those needs and why funding is needed. During this time of societal shifts, the case statement should also be reviewed carefully. Some things that should be addressed include the following:
- Document how the needs in the communities that you work in are historically underserved.
- Position your organization to focus more on resolving systemic issues, as well as responding to crises like Covid-19, or other emergent needs such as hunger and homelessness.
- Describe specifically how the potential funder can help to meet the need in the community.
The case statement is important in order to communicate the right message about the organization’s work in the community. Most importantly, the case statement needs to be able to express the important work of the nonprofit in a way that will attract funders and volunteers.
The nonprofit case statement is not just a new way to look at the organization and its mission. With an eye toward new initiatives that funders are focusing on, the case statement aligns with the changes in society that we’ve seen over the past few years.
More articles in the Becoming Grant-Optimized Series:
The Philanthropic Sector’s Shift Toward Racial Equity, Kevin Peters