Existing as a nonprofit in today's crowded and competitive landscape isn't easy. As much as you want to devote yourself to the programs your staff and volunteers carry out day in and day out, the specter of raising funds is always with you—a process that can leave you drained and dejected after pouring yourselves into proposals created to suit someone else's priorities. There is, however, a way out of such doldrums; and even if your situation is not dismal, there's a way up to distinction.
In his book Functional and Funded: The Inside-Out Strategy for Developing Your Nonprofit's Resources, Harvey Chess shows you how to not only create that winning proposal, but also how to build a stronger and better functioning organization through the process. You can transform this arduous chore into a litmus test for the overall effectiveness of your organization's work, shore up weak spots, and clarify your purpose—and in the end, come away with a proposal that stands out above its competitors.
By applying Chess's distinctive system of Integrated Resource and Organizational Development, or IROD, you embark upon "business as unusual”, flipping typical proposal development on its head by documenting needed change rather than a needed program as the basis for your funding request. By departing from conventional wisdom, you can organize a proposal that serves you whenever your organization pursues resources – whether competing for grant funds, joining the throngs for crowdfunding, or making a direct, personal appeal when sitting down with an individual donor. Wherever it lands, your proposal will be a study in excellence, reflect well on your team and it's work in the world.
But a knockout proposal is not the only thing you'll gain from this book. The soundness of a nonprofit seeking resources directly affects its success in securing them, so the IROD approach includes internal analysis and adjustments designed to improve your organizational effectiveness.
The book's helpful and varied resources include example proposals with annotated comments dissecting the hits and misses of each. A reference section of topical internet resources, a Tool Kit to guide and support you, and a step-by-step IROD guide to keep the proposal development on track, all provide essential elements that will assist your pursuit of funds and your organization as a whole. The book invites quick and frequent referencing, and you'll find yourself using Functional and Funded time and again.