As we begin fall, the proposal outcome letters have all come in from 2014 (it’s the grant world, where things trickle in slowly). We’ve crunched the data and are happy to issue our 2014 Annual Report infographic. It was a great year, with funded proposals totaling more than $10.2 million for New Mexico nonprofits (that’s an increase of $7.1 million over 2013 award amounts!). There is a lot to look at in the graphic below, but I want to highlight and expand on a few items.
The first is the amount of funds we secured from out of state: $8,657,043 or 85% (a four-fold increase over out-of-state funds secured in 2013). As Wendy recently wrote about in her article on the “philanthropic divide,” the funding needs for New Mexico nonprofits eclipse the resources of our local foundations, government agencies, businesses, and individual donors. Put plainly, to make real gains in meeting New Mexico’s needs, we must increase out-of-state funds going to our nonprofits.
At The Grant Plant, we have increasingly focused on helping clients compete for those funds, whether they come from the federal government, corporations, or national/international foundations. Importantly, there are more opportunities for large awards and multi-year awards found beyond our state’s borders, which can provide a more diverse income base. Securing external funds increases the “size of the funding pie” for area nonprofits instead of just increasing competition over (sometimes declining) local resources. Every time we get word of an award, we cheer; when it’s a large award from an out-of-state funder, we break out the metaphorical (and sometimes actual) champagne.
Another notable number, is the Return on Investment (ROI), which we calculate as: (funds secured for awarded proposals – billing for successful and unsuccessful proposals) / billing for successful and unsuccessful proposals. For 2014, our work for all clients yielded a 4,065% ROI, which means clients gained a return of $40.65 for each dollar spent on TGP work preparing their proposals. While ROI for specific clients varies, of course, it is an important indicator of providing value to clients.
I’m always curious about the exceptions to the rules, so I’d also like to highlight a few of the “zebras” from 2014:
- While the average award size was $120,123 and the median was $23,000, the largest was $2.9 million and the smallest was $1,400.
- Not all grants were checks… the award that was least likely to fit in a mailing envelope was three passenger vans.
- As shown in the client breakdown, we have a couple of funders in the client mix. We’ve historically worked with funders, doing things like serving on grant review committees, presenting trainings, and completing proposals for funder-sponsored agencies. We’ve been expanding on that work lately, tackling projects like application re-designs and researching possible grants available for foundation community priorities.
- Our “Stakeholder Relations Materials” category included a wide range of products, including slideshows, program case statements, data systems, infographics, resumes and job application materials, handouts, surveys, articles, award nominations, website content, and a number of other projects that fall under the umbrella of “helping you to make your case.”
Our success in 2014 is a reflection of the wonderful work being done by organizations in New Mexico. The quality and effectiveness of our clients gives us a head-start on writing winning proposals. Crafting proposals is a team effort, and credit goes to our clients for sending countless files, noodling over budgets with us, letting us see their operations, reviewing drafts, and cajoling their boards into completing innumerable signature pages and conflict of interest forms.
We are grateful and privileged that it is our job to write about the amazing work of our clients and to help agencies sustain and expand that work.
Contact: Aly Sanchez, Director of Organizational Strategy and Learning, email@example.com
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