Private Grants Alert

If You Want to Score With Funders, It’s Best to Develop Measurement Strategies

Grant Guru is an occasional feature in which we answer questions from our readers about fundraising. It is part of our continuing effort to enhance our coverage. Dear Grant Guru: "How important is it to develop measures that we can use to gauge the effectiveness of our work.  Is this something that funders really look for?" Grant Guru: It's quite important and is increasingly a critical part of most funding applications. Nonprofits that serve children and youth are often so busy running new programs, searching for additional funding, and managing daily operations that they overlook one of the most crucial steps in a grant funding plan: measuring the effectiveness of their work.  This is an essential step because all grant applications (either federal or private) require measurable objectives and scrutinize applicants to be sure their methods of success evaluation are reliable. --------------- Please Make Sure We Have Your Correct E-mail & Mailing Information! --------------- In addition, quantifying the impact of your work will illustrate very concretely to a funder how an investment in your organization will pay off.  By quantifying the success that your work has today, you will help yourself get more funding in the future. These five methods of measuring success can be used for almost any program.  The important thing to remember is to plan ahead.  All of these are most effective when they are built into the program and administered at intervals rather than only at the end of the program.   1) Questionnaire: Quite simply, ask participants whether or not they are enjoying a benefit from the program in a written questionnaire.  Ask them to describe what changes they have made because of what your work has given to them.  This should be a combination of open-ended questions (e.g., How has your attitude about school changed since participating in the program?) and checklists with standard answers.  The latter allows you to draw conclusions from the group as a whole (e.g., 85% of participants feel more enthusiastic about science after participation in the program). 2) Pre/Post Survey: Some changes are not obvious to program participants, so you may want to survey their behavior and attitudes multiple times: before they start the program, after the program has ended and at any interval in between.  Asking the same questions each time allows...

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