We often hear the question: “What do funders want”. This is an increasingly important question as the needs for organizational funding continue to rise. Every nonprofit organization needs funding to deliver more mission to their communities. It’s a universal truth across all sectors and verticals. Another truth is that it can be hard to know what resources and deliverables your nonprofit needs to show when applying for grants.
Applying for grants from foundations or charitable trusts can be a daunting process for any organization. And a lot of nonprofit leaders going through the application process tend to think to themselves:
“What do we show to funders to secure the funding we need to help more people?”
Since this is a recurring question, we reached out to several foundations and charitable trusts and asked what they were specifically looking for from organization’s they are considering funding.
So, what do funders want? Spoiler alert: data.
In our increasingly fast-paced world, data is becoming a necessity for proving your organizations impact. And every year, more foundations are looking for nonprofit organizations to provide them with strong data to back up their grant applications.
First thing’s first – does your organization’s impact really matter to funders?
According to our survey, the answer is an overwhelming yes. When asked what the top considerations funders use to determine whether or not to fund an organization, 98% of them said impact is among their top 3.
So, your data needs to directly prove your impact. Once it does that, it’s easier to appeal for funding because your funders will be able to see that your organization is making positive change in your community.
We asked the funders what kind of data they look for in the reports nonprofits give them and 88% of them answered that they look for program outcomes, which is not surprising. It’s important to show that your organization is actually achieving some, if not all, of the goals it set for itself.
41% of the funders also value impact stories when they are looking at reports. Impact stories are a great way to show the progress of an individual, which can shed light on the overall success of the organization. When combined with the outcomes your data can prove, your nonprofit will be well on its way to proving your impact and gaining more funding.
And these are just a few of the highlights! There’s a lot more data in our full report.
Real-Life Funder’s Story
If you want to know what funders look for in action, look no further than St. Louis-based ARCHS. For the past 20 years, Area Resources for Community and Human Services (ARCHS) has been distributing funds to various grantees in their community. But, they also go a step further than providing funding dollars to fund services to be active participants in the service delivery process.
Through data, progress, and partnership, ARCHS has seen countless lives in the St. Louis area thrive. They encourage their grantees to use strong reporting practices to ensure they are giving funds to the correct areas and they are helping in the best way they can be.
To learn more about how ARCHS has helped the St. Louis community with its commitment to data and partnerships, you can read ARCHS: A Funder’s Perspective right now!
Data is everything when you are appealing for more funds. Your funders are looking for strong data to support your applications and to give you the most support they can.
Read the full results of our Foundation Reporting Study today!