If you are struggling to articulate how you fit into a potential funder’s or partner’s continuum of mission or service here is a magic formula – put it in context.
In Context provides clarity, precision, transparency, understanding, proper perspective and the ability to demonstrate your place in a continuum (specifically the funder’s or partner’s continuum).
Out of Context causes ambiguity, uncertainty, vagueness, misunderstanding and the inability to illustrate your place in a continuum.
Here are the steps to invoking the magic formula:
- Understand that the services and programs you provide are not what is important to the funder or partner. What is important to them is the problem, need or difficulty that you can address for the population/community they are trying to help.
- Acquaint yourself with the mission, programs and past fundings/partnerships of your target.
- Be certain that you are asking for funding or asking a partner for something that actually fits into the mission or program of your target. Do not try to make desperation for operational money appear to be a funding or partnership request for a program that enhances the target’s mission. Out of Context
- Completely develop your program before you seek funding or partners. Include the budget and focus on Outcomes. The Outcomes should be things that easily flow into the funder’s/partner’s mission and programs. For instance: You will provide nutritional meals twice a week to 100 seniors to help your funder/partner improve the health statistics of seniors in ABC community. In Context
- Demonstrate how you will use measurements that are in concert with those of the funder/partner. Don’t just say you will – demonstrate how. In Context
If you do not plead your case in context with that of the target’s, you will appear, at best, to be vague, at worst, not worthy of funding or a partnership. One other benefit of proving you are in context is that you will more fully flesh out your own program or organization, which in turn leads to better results and other funding.
Now, if we could just get the rest of the people in the world to see things in context what a more harmonious world we would have. There would be less knee jerk reactions on social media. Elected officials could accomplish much more. And there would be a lot less selfies. But that’s just the researcher in me dreaming out loud.