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5 Tips for Getting Funding to Scale Your Impact

Social good organizations rely on funding to deliver essential services that address complex social issues. At the same time, foundations and donors are passionate about using their financial resources to create lasting social change in causes that matter to them. Historically, it was enough for social good organizations to have a theory of change to get funding. Today’s funders are looking to invest in organizations who can demonstrate their impact and show they can use the funding to drive change in areas aligned with the funder’s mission. Have you missed funding opportunities because you couldn’t demonstrate measurable outcomes?


Earlier this week, SureImpact hosted a webinar called “Proving Your Impact: What Funders Really Want to Know.” Here are some highlights from the webinar. (You can watch the full webinar here.) 


During the webinar, SureImpact CEO, Sheri Chaney Jones talked about what funders are really looking for, and how to make your organization stand out as the best investment.


Donors are out in the world every single day where they have had to prove the impact of their work. They do not understand why it would be any different for a social-good organization. Many social-good organizations know it’s important to be able to share measurable impact, but they aren’t quite sure where to get started. Here are five tips to position your organization for getting funding to scale your impact.


Tip 1: Make Sure Your Mission Aligns with the Funder's Mission

To increase the likelihood of obtaining funding, it’s important to make sure your mission aligns with the funder’s stated mission. Are they interested in educational outcomes? Or are they focused on increasing income stability for single mothers? The good news is that the interests of the funding community are just as diverse as the missions of social-good organizations. Before you invest precious time creating a proposal, look at the funder’s website and answer the following questions:

  1. What is the funder’s stated mission?

  2. Do they have strategic focus areas?

  3. What causes have they invested in previously?

Once you have determined that the funding opportunity is a good fit, the next step is to create a budget proposal that will enable you to prove you are creating the desired impact.


Tip 2: Include Impact Measurement in Your Program Budget

Funders are surprised how few organizations include outcomes measurement software in their programmatic budget. Funders understand the effort and investment it takes to collect data and provide measurable outcomes. Many funders expect to pay for the technology that enables grantees to measure their impact.


When you put together your programmatic budget, make sure to build a budget that will enable you to achieve the desired outcomes. In addition to the operational cost, people cost, and the staff cost required, prioritize impact measurement as a part of your budget. Impact measurement is not considered overhead. In fact, many funders will allow up to 10% of a program’s budget to go towards impact and evaluation. Here is a one-page document to share with your funders when applying for funding to support impact measurement.


Tip 3: Apply for Capacity-Building Grants

If your organization is not able to share measurable results yet, you shouldn’t spend your time applying for grants that require them. Instead, you should look into capacity building grants.  Investing in technology that helps you track your outputs and outcomes, and then provides insights that drive effectiveness and innovation, is one of the best ways to build your organizational capacity.


Many funders understand the importance of capacity building for an organization to thrive and succeed. Many community foundations have capacity building grant programs to help digitally transform your organization. If your organization secures a capacity-building grant to invest in the first year of an impact measurement program, the ongoing investment becomes easier to sustain because having access to outcomes data leads to more future revenues.

Tip 4: Understand the Cost of Inaction

Sometimes an organization has the necessary funding for impact measurement but is unable to get leadership and the board to reallocate their budget. In this situation, it is important to communicate the high cost of inaction. Nonprofits with outcomes data are 68% more likely to increase their revenues than those who do not. Therefore, if you choose not to prioritize impact measurement, other social-good organizations who can share measurable outcomes will secure the funding.


Tip 5: Prioritize Data Collection

When it comes to securing funding, impact data is just as important as your fundraising data and your financial data. High-performing organizations prioritize data collection so it is part of the culture. The difference between organizations who are able to share measurable outcomes and those who are not is that their leadership has not prioritized data collection and made it part of the culture. Social good organizations need technology that makes data collection simple and gives all members of your team access to important insights. 


SureImpact provides the data collection and impact reporting infrastructure to enable social-good organizations to share measurable outcomes and impact. SureImpact enables you to improve client outcomes, demonstrate your impact story, and increase the sustainability of your organization.


To learn more about leveraging technology to measure and share your social impact, download our Ultimate Guide to Impact Measurement.

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