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The Changing Funding Landscape

Is your organization seeing more “ We receive many more funding requests than we are able to approve” or other types of rejection emails and letters from funders in response to your grant request? If so, you are not alone. 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. So what has changed in the last year that needs to be acknowledged and addressed?

What’s Changed?

Covid-19 and an increased awareness of systemic inequities have caused a shift in society and as a result, grant funding focus areas. Many foundations and corporations are seeking ways to bridge systemic gaps by providing grants for non-profit organizations that serve traditionally underrepresented people. This is great news and a much-needed response! For example, in 2020, Union Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program quickly rolled out its new Community Recovery Program with a specific focus on “Building economic stability, including supporting access to capital, entrepreneurship, job retention, retraining, and providing critical social safety net services…” while addressing social and economic justice within communities of color.” So what does this mean for funding?

Where Is the Money Going?

The global pandemic, lack of diversity, and equity in society are pressing issues that foundations and corporations are pivoting to respond to. Increasing awareness of community needs is a catalyst for the shift in funding focus areas to Covid-19 response and recovery, systemic inequities for racial minorities, and the LGBTQ community. The money is now going predominantly to organizations that focus their work on changing these systemic inequities and prioritize REDI. So what does this mean for your organization?

What Can We Do?

Make sure your organization is grant-optimized. Here are some ways to work toward grant optimization:

7 Ways to Ensure You Are Grant Optimized

  • Determine if your organization is changing with the shifting needs in the communities you serve.
  • Is your Board of Directors and Organizational management as diverse as the communities you serve?
  • Review your internal policies and procedures including items such as your organizational diversity statement. 
  • Expanding the mission of the organization to better serve the community and become more aligned with funding focus areas.It is okay if  the original intent of the organization expands in response to changing needs.
  • Continue to diversify your revenue sources
  • Review our September 6, 2021 post about the importance of relationship building. 
  • How can your case statement be altered to address the changing needs in your community? 

The more you can naturally incorporate REDI initiatives into your work and mission, the more likely you will be aligned with where the majority of funds are going, increasing your chances of funding success. And money aside, Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion should be a global human priority anyway, don’t you think?

More articles in the Becoming Grant-Optimized Series:

Connections: How and Why You Need to Make Them

The 10 Most Common Reasons Why Grants are Denied, and What You Can Do about it

The Changing Funding Landscape

How To Adjust Your Case Statement

Do We Have to Change Our Programming?

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