Is it time to create your budget for 2024? A well-planned budget drives long-term sustainability by focusing on the primary goals and objectives of your organization. One essential tool for accomplishing your overall mission is technology, especially technology that allows you to track and measure your impact. But what if you don’t currently have the funding to invest in technology? That’s why now is a good time to plan strategically.
Many funders recognize that technology provides the infrastructure to help social-good organizations provide mutual accountability and expand their community impact. As a result, they’ve created grants aimed at helping individual organizations and social-good collaboratives adopt tools to assist them as they build capacity and transform workflows.
For example, the Colorado based Nonprofit Infrastructure Grant Program is a statewide grant program for small, community-based nonprofit organizations that provide services for underrepresented, underserved, and under-resourced communities. The grant is designed for nonprofits in historically marginalized communities that need help to rebuild capacity following the COVID-19 pandemic.
This post outlines 4 steps to help you obtain funding for technology and increase your impact.
Step 1: Technology Assessment
In order to create a proposal for obtaining technology in 2024, you first need to assess your current technology capacity. Start with your strengths and weaknesses, and make sure to include goals you want to accomplish with technology. Next, make sure you understand your funder’s mission. Every funder has specific goals that they want to accomplish in the communities they serve. Your best chance of securing technology grants is to explain how increasing your organization’s capacity through technology will help meet your potential funder’s needs. As an example, a funder may have a goal to strengthen the infrastructure of the social-good ecosystem in underserved communities. Ask yourself how increasing your organization’s data capacity will build up your community’s infrastructure.
As you continue to assess your strengths and weaknesses, you will better understand what your organization needs to build your long-term capacity. You can then articulate how your increased impact aligns with the funder’s mission and vision.
Step 2: Focus on Your Mission
Your organization’s mission statement explains who you serve, what you hope to achieve, and how you plan to accomplish your objectives. Having a clear and concise explanation of your mission is essential for communicating your nonprofit’s purpose in your proposal for technology funding. Your mission should be woven throughout each section of your grant proposal and must closely align with your potential funder’s mission. Demonstrating how technology will allow you to more efficiently and effectively achieve this mission will help you build a proposal that inspires confidence in your ability to deliver on your promises.
Step 3: Outline Short- and Long-Term Goals
Once you have assessed your current technology situation and how new or improved technology will allow you to achieve your mission, you can determine specific goals and actionable steps for moving forward with technology to increase your impact in the community. Let’s say your goal is to increase the number of students in your community who obtain a high school diploma and enroll in college or a trade school. What capability do you currently have to track and report on these students in the short-term? In the long-term? Is there something you are missing? Do you lack the ability to show how the students are better off over time because of your services? Do you have access to real-time data and insights regarding these students to identify gaps in your programming so you can pivot your services as necessary? Demonstrating to your funder how investing in technology will allow you to provide better services in the community will increase your chances of being funded.
Step 4: Include Technology Cost Per Client in the Budget
One effective way of obtaining funding for new technology is to calculate the cost per client to purchase the tools. Then include this value in the programmatic costs section of your budget. Programmatic Costs are costs that are tied directly to the delivery of a particular project, service, or activity undertaken by a grantee to achieve an outcome.
For instance, if you serve 1,500 participants per year, and your outcomes tracking software costs $15,000 per year, the annual programmatic cost per client is $10. Instead of asking for a lump sum, create a stronger argument by showing that the needed technology only costs $10 per client to improve your services.
As you work through the 2024 budget-planning process, make sure to outline any proposals for pilot projects that will use technology in a new or expanded way. Innovative funders want to empower nonprofits and partner with them to drive true social change in their communities. SureImpact is here to help.
SureImpact shares your passion for driving social change. Our impact management platform is designed for social change makers by social-change makers. SureImpact provides the data collection and impact reporting infrastructure to meet the unique needs of social-good organizations as you work to achieve your organization’s mission all year long. SureImpact’s simple and collaborative case management and outcome tracking tools are designed to help you manage, measure, and communicate your social impact while also increasing data capacity for your team members and supporting a high-performing culture.
Watch our quick product tour to learn more about SureImpact. Also, check out our free, on-demand webinar “The Future of Grant Funding.”