The Logic of Funding in the Pandemic by Julie Assel, GPC

This is a strange time for many nonprofits. For some nonprofits, they are busier than they have ever been, even at the height of the Great Recession. Other nonprofits have closed their doors due to stay-at-home orders and social distancing. Some wonder if it is indecent to even be fundraising right now for anything outside of basic necessities, while others are organizing new and extra fundraising methods because their annual fundraising events are now canceled.

How will this change the funding landscape and for how long? We don’t know. What we do know is that the funding landscape will continue to be incredibly competitive just as it was during the Great Recession. At Assel Grant Services, we were writing before, during, and after that recession, and we are writing in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis as well.

Experience has taught us that in order to be funded, grants must be about more than just passion and need. Programs must be of the highest quality and they must directly align to community needs. How can we ensure that alignment? How can we prove to funders that we are truly meeting the needs of the community? Run your programs through a logic model.

What? A logic model for program design? Absolutely! It is more than just an attachment that funders make you fill out. In fact, it is the perfect tool for program design, implementation, and evaluation.

High-quality persuasive writing assumes you have a worthy argument to make. There needs to be a direct correlation between your needs and your outcomes, between your activities and your outputs, and between your goals and your impact. Otherwise funders will only see activities that seem out of sync with the true need. And in these times, no one can afford that.

We must measure our activities (outputs) and the difference they make in the lives we touch (outcomes). Funders are being flooded with requests, and they still want to know the impact their money is having. Designing high-quality outcomes and determining the best measurement tools shows funders this impact. And remember, just like in the recession, their core assets just took a hit with the market too. They are looking for the best return on their community investments because they are not getting a high return in the current financial markets.

Check out Logic Models for Program Planning and Evaluation to learn more about how you can make sure your grant proposals for your programs are not just full of need and passion, but they logically point to your agency’s true outcomes as the best solution for the community right now and going forward.

Whether your agency’s doors are open or closed, take the time to learn more about logic models so you can emerge from this pandemic stronger and more competitive in your grant seeking.

GPC Competency 3.4 Identify structure, values, and applications of logic models as they relate to elements of project design.

GPC Competency 3.5 Identify appropriate definitions of and interrelationships among elements of project design (e.g., project goals, objectives, activities, evaluation)