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Identify Your Funding Model That Makes the Most Impact

Resource Center - Foundation

(Sept. 6, 2011) Following up on their previous work about funding models, The Bridgespan Group has released a new guide for nonprofit leaders aimed at helping organizations identify strategies for identifying, creating and implementing long-range funding models.

The Bridgespan Group had previously released a paper on “Ten Nonprofit Funding Models.” This guide, “Finding Your Funding Model,” builds on that knowledge, outlining six steps organizations should take to determine the most effective funding model for their operations and how to implement them.

“This practical guide is a response to the myriad requests we received from social sector leaders who read our earlier publications on funding models but wanted to understand how to identify and build the right funding model for their own organization,” said Bridgespan Manager Peter Kim, co-author of ‘Finding Your Funding Model.’ “In many cases, nonprofit leaders have a clear vision for how their organization’s programs should evolve over the next five years, but they have little idea how they will secure the money for them over the same time period.”

Six Steps to a Successful Model

The new guide outlines six steps for embarking on a journey to find a funding model and illustrates the steps with real-life examples of organizations who have built them.

Step One: Evaluate your current funding approach and its strengths, weaknesses and opportunities through a diagnostic test that will highlight certain models that may be appropriate for your organization and its operations.

Step Two: Discover how similar organizations have explored their funding models and what you can learn from their work.

Step Three: Further narrow your funding model options to a short list and analyze how feasible certain models might realistically be for your organization.

Step Four: Examine the potential revenue and costs associated with each funding model, including overall funding available and how much your organization might receive, as well as necessary investments to implement each model.

Step Five: Identify one or two funding models that your organization intends to pursue.

Step Six: Create an implementation plan for your funding model that will include a timeline, list of investments and agenda for each staff person involved.

“We believe that a strong funding model provides the essential foundation for programmatic success, while the lack of an intentional funding model can undermine the success of even the most brilliant program model,” said Kim’s co-author and Bridgespan manager Gail Perreault. “We hope this guide will provide organizations with a clear and actionable roadmap and we look forward to getting their feedback as we continue developing our work in this area.”

You can download “Find Your Funding Model” at The Bridgespan Group website.

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