Finding grants to fund development programmes has become increasingly challenging in Africa. One important reason for this is that there are more grantseeking organizations than there are grantmaking organizations across the continent. Because of this, having a unique value proposition (mission and impact) and being able to do more with less (innovative and sustainable programme design) have become major factors for funders. So whether you are just starting your nonprofit organization or have been at it for a while, here are six key elements that, according to U.S.-based Foundation Center, will keep donors and grantmakers interested in funding your work:
Mission statements state the purpose of a nonprofit, the problem it seeks to address, the service it offers, and its beneficiaries. Your nonprofit’s mission should inspire and pull people together to support the cause. To compete favourably for a grant, your mission statement should demonstrate potential impact and align with the grantmaking organization’s area of funding.
For example: WARIF (Women at Risk International Foundation) aims to raise global awareness and advocate against the growing prevalence of gender based violence, sexual abuse, rape and human trafficking amongst women and girls of all ages in Nigeria.
A nonprofit leader and board of directors should be willing and able to put their talent and time to develop the nonprofit. A third party is more willing to invest in an organization where the leaders show a high degree of commitment. Being knowledgeable in the relevant field, spending time to achieve goals, and making personal contributions demonstrate solid leadership which motivates grantmakers.
For example: Check out Visiola Foundation and read the profiles of their Founders and Board of Trustees
High-quality projects and programmes that are relevant and well-regarded attract grantmakers. Sustainable, well-structured programmes that are consistent with the grantmaker’s needs and addresses society’s problems are appealing. Ensure your nonprofit has the right amenities, equipment and resources needed to carry out the project, or make that part of your grant request and demonstrate how it would increase the impact of your programmes.
For example: Africare has a unique approach to its programming and an interactive graphic tool that provides details on their website.
Efficient Operations and Support Systems
Programme delivery is important to organizations. Your nonprofit has to demonstrate that there are capabilities in place to swing into action once the grants are awarded. All techniques and processes have to work together as efficiently as possible to achieve impact. Grantmakers want to see a SMART strategy towards planning, implementation, and evaluation
Having an operating budget and relevant financial statements showing sound financial strategies is a top priority. Your overall fundraising plan should include multiple funding sources from government, fundraising events, earned income, and/or private giving to demonstrate a reliable funding plan.
Successful Track Record
It’s never too early to document your success and effectiveness. Collate success stories and other outcomes to monitor and evaluate your effort and success. If you are just starting out and have no record of results, have a good financial plan.
For example: The Southern Africa Trust has a dashboard of all its monitoring and evaluation tools which is a useful guide.