Checklist: Attracting reliable funders

By governance expert Rodney Buse

As funding gets tighter, the best funders will search for ways to decide which charities they should support in the future. One key discriminating feature in their decisions is the ability of a charity to present its outcomes effectively and coherently.

All too often, there is a focus on what the charity does and the activities it performs.

For the most part, these are best described as outputs. Outcomes are the benefits - or otherwise - that are received by the beneficiaries of charities.

A good example is the charity that produces books for people who have sight difficulties. In this case, the important factor is not the number of books produced but whether they are read and make a difference to people's lives in a manner that cannot be achieved by alternative products.

Providing evidence of the difference made to people's lives can be demanding, but it is this evidence that will shape the decisions of the better funders. It is a much better approach than the indiscriminate cuts that less good funders might make.

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