Nonprofit Technology

3 Ways to Ensure Capacity Building Grants Help Nonprofit Organizations Become More Tech Savvy


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Nonprofits are often forced into a “grantseekers dilemma.” For example, sometimes an organization applies for a grant that requires a certain kind of capacity, knowing they don’t have it, but hoping that with funding they can obtain it. It’s a lose-lose, for both funder and grantseeker, and reveals the critical importance of capacity building grants for effective nonprofits.

Capacity building should help nonprofits become more efficient, effective, and resilient by improving their core abilities, ultimately to produce meaningful results for the people they serve. Often these grants support things like, financial management, leadership, performance management, and technology.

Technology, specifically, has never been more important in shaping – and strengthening – the way nonprofits work. Whatever an organization’s mission, technology helps achieve it. This is why it is so critical for foundations in the business of capacity building to understand the particular importance of providing technology and technical assistance as a part of promoting stability and overall effectiveness for grantees.

It’s time to invest in your grantees’ ability to do better, more efficient, and more impactful work. Here are 3 ways to make sure your tech capacity building grants help your grantees become more tech savvy:

  1. Tailor your giving.

If you’re ready to fund a grantee, chances are you have an established relationship with them. You’ve most likely done lots of site visits; you might have met with their board, leadership, or staff; and you’ve got a firm understanding of how they operate. Apply this knowledge to your tech capacity building grantmaking. Help your grantees find the right technology for their specific needs. Every organization is different. Nonprofits thrive when they get the tailor-made resources they need

  1. Utilize an expert.

Just because you’re supporting your grantees’ journey to tech mastery doesn’t mean you have to be a tech expert yourself. You can hire experts to evaluate your grantees’ tech competency, and create custom implementation plans for them. You can also hire people to teach them how to use new software and devices. Anticipate your grantees will face a steep learning curve when their workflow changes. By hiring experts to help them get over the hump, you ensure that their mission-oriented work won’t suffer.

  1. Make it recurring.

Capacity building grants work best when they are recurring, or are established as multi-year grants. If you are committing to increasing your grantees’ tech savviness, make sure you stick with them until you know they’re truly competent. Ask yourself: Has your grantees’ workflow gotten faster, and more efficient? Are they able to serve more beneficiaries and communities? Have they been able to broaden their programs? Has their leadership strengthened as a result? Are their staff members doing better work? If you’re able to answer “yes” to these questions, then your grant is successful. If you can’t, it may be time to reassess the grant.

If you want to learn more about technology capacity building grants, be sure to check out our guide: Best Practices for Building Nonprofit Capacity with Technology.

Click here for the complete paper.

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