Recent Trends On Desk Studies & Grant Assessments

At LAPA Fundraising we conduct many desk studies each year to help nonprofits assess the value of their fundraising program, and how to grow it. Some call the desk study an assessment. Nonetheless, the desk study is a seminal moment of high level planning, usually taking 90 days, and can be an opportune time to take a step back and see where your program priorities align with segments of foundation funders.

More than Funding Alone

While conducting the desk studies, our Grants Officers make recommendations not just on new funders, or different approaches to current funders, but we also share critical feedback on your nonprofit management structure, client service delivery design, and the most updated information about what the foundation funders are looking for.

We often make key recommendations in areas such as board development, client data collection processes, program impact evaluations,  your overall analytics capabilities, financial systems management, and best practices in program operations. By improving these elements, you will become more attractive to funders.

A Recent Trend

We have observed a recent trend among institutional funders; they are increasingly making recommendations for changes to your program designs and suggesting operational changes to the nonprofits they fund. We encourage you to hear them out and be curious as to why they seek these changes.

The funders especially seeking these changes are mostly interested in racial equity.  Overall, many funders have begun to think differently about their role in advancing social justice.  These funders have recently stated clearly (and often for the first time) that they care most about providing resources to grassroots organizations and leaders engaged in mobilizing local communities to end racism and reduce social, economic, gender, and health disparities.

In many cases, they no longer see older, well-established nonprofits as the force they once were for driving social change. Thus, many organizations are facing a formidable challenge on how to position their programs in a way that attracts a growing group of foundation funders.

LAPA approaches funders’ concerns thoughtfully and we help you develop a strong business case with the goal of better positioning your nonprofit to attract multiple stakeholders, including foundation funders, individual donors, government funders, and other funding sources such as managed care payers (in the case of value-based care concepts for the social determinants of health).

We recently did an assessment for the Children’s Defense Fund, and you can watch a two minute video about that here.

We welcome your comments about this post on the LAPA blog.

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