Friday, December 07, 2007


A long week of working on grants; squeezing vital information and explanations into tiny boxes on online applications. (And I write concisely in the first place.) The business of trying to sell the funders on the importance of your service, why it deserves funding. Building charts that show how your service is working toward specific outcomes (already prescribed by the funders).You provide them with the number of people who received help, and show them how the need is growing, show them your budgets and audits. But that isn’t enough. They want quantitative evidence – and all you can show is that 98% of the participants stated in a survey that they felt this service helped increase their quality of life – or access to health care – or access to food.

Would people miss the service if it shut down because it didn’t receive enough funding? 100% of participants say YES. But does that matter to the funders? It depends.

Lately, a number of funders have been changing their funding priorities. For example, it seems that funding basic services, such as soup kitchens, or help for elderly, or health clinics that serve low-income people aren’t "in." And with enough funders seeking causes that are more "in", the cumulative effect is that funding for those basic services is cut. Right as the need for those services is increasing.

Certainly, there are thousands of worthy causes that deserve funds. But causes, like other aspects of our society, seem to be driven by trends. And when the trend to fund basic needs becomes passé, then people truly suffer.


Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.
-St. Francis of Assisi

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