Let the Faces Shine Through

We hear a lot about outcomes and the need to include data in funding proposals. This is undeniably true. Increasingly, funders are giving to high-performing, high-impact organizations that have outcome data to back up their claims of success.


But, outcomes are not the only game in town when it comes to winning grant funding. “If you have compelling data, use it,” said Holly Thompson, contributing editor for The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif. “But don’t forget to give your funding proposal a human touch–tell the story. Be sure the funder can see the people behind the numbers. ”


Thompson suggests highlighting the people who make your program a success. Make the experience real for the funder by sharing both the vulnerabilities and strengths of the people you serve. What life circumstances brought them to your program? What were their struggles, and what strengths did they have that carried them through? How does being in your program impact their lives? How does it make them feel?


And don’t forget to highlight the other heroes of your program — the staff who carry your organization’s mission into the community and make the magic happen in your programs. Is there a person or group of people in your organization who take the lead or connect with your clients in a way that makes all the difference? What do they do? What does doing the work mean to them? How does it make them feel?


A foundation or government agency is really just a group of people who are trying to accomplish something — who are trying to make some aspect of life better. “Human beings will be reading your proposal,” said Thompson. “Anchor your discussion with data, but also anchor it in humanity. Be sure the faces behind the numbers shine through.” ©Copyright 2015 The Grantsmanship Center. All rights reserved.