Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity
- Published: Friday, 19 July 2019 17:43
Author: Karleen Gwinner
I worked with a client recently to help them develop a grant application for a lifesaving project. This organisation has a transformative purpose, a clearly articulated approach to its work, and a specialised niche. The grant application was made that much simpler because the organisation had brought together their targeted messaging in one document — a key messages document.
In this one document were simple and inspiring messages that were easy to relate to and understand. These were outlined in short and long form, prioritised and backed up with statements and evidence of their value. While there was still room for improvement, the document was useful as a foundation for refining the project description and thus, fostering greater understanding of the project and how it aligned with the organisations purpose.
The benefits of a key messages document
Here at Strategic Grants we know that the corner stone to successful grant seeking is communication. It is the foundation of achieving your mission and building your relationships with internal project leaders and funders alike. The benefit of a key messages document is that it focuses and simplifies your organisation’s values and successes so that they have impact. A key messages document details the key goals, outcomes and organisational information, to help staff anchor the core ideas, values and messaging in grant proposals.
The anatomy of a key messages document
CLAIMS + FACTS + EXAMPLES are three essential elements for powerful messages. With that in mind, here are four Ps and one A to ponder when putting together a key messages document:
Purpose – Outline your purpose. What is your organisation’s unique value proposition and benefits?
Pitch – Concisely describe the core idea that will help you gain traction with funders. What do you do? What makes it unique?
Persuasion – Identify what is actually likely to motivate and even excite funders. Be clear, concise, and honest.
Presentation - Key messages ensure consistency, continuity and accuracy about your organisation and help staff to link day-to-day efforts to the organisation’s mission and purpose. Package your content so that it is accessible for staff across your organisation and easy to use.
Adapt - Key messages are not static. Over time, routinely revisit the living document to ensure it still meets your needs and the messages reflect current trends, research and issues your organisation is addressing.
Share your key messages
Key messages need to be shared across your organisation so that everyone is singing from the same song sheet. Having clear, consistent messaging in your grant responses (and, in fact, right across your organisation) is fund-a-mental.
Ensure you get your point across by creating your key messages well before you start writing grant proposals.
Looking for more help in creating your own key messages document? Have a listen to A GEM of a Podcast episode 3, or get in contact with us and take advantage of our team’s expertise in creating clear, powerful messages that inspire people to take action.
Recent blog posts
- Project Planning – essential for funding success
- Why a Case for Support document is crucial to successful fundraising
- The New Zealand Charities Act (2005) Review – free webinar
- The Four Ps and one A for an Effective Key Messages Document
- The common ground of grant-seeking between Australia and Europe
- Evaluation – The key to learning and improving practice is asking powerful questions
- Centralising Grant-Seeking for New Zealand Organisations operating regional divisions
- The Future of Trust
- Q&A with a Local Council client
- Waikato Funders Expo - Wrap Up