The absence of strong Funding Rationales (a.k.a. your reason for needing funds) likely means your organization is not maximizing relationships.
At a major-gifts level* there needs to be some specificity in terms of funding a specific program, outcome, or priority initiative. (See 10 Types of Funding Rationales).
If you don’t have a specific Funding Rationale then one of two things usually happens:
- The commitment is not maximized.
People give to support a mission or a cause, and they invest more to support specific impact (or outcome). Our experience has been that a portfolio gives 3x more when you’re able to clearly define a strong funding rationale!!!
This is the difference between asking,”Will you invest $10K in our vision?” And, “Will you invest $10K to help with this priority and these outcomes that will help us deliver on the vision?”
- Funders (over) restrict the funding.
When we see this, it’s an indication that the funder is creating a rationale because yours is not clear enough!
Note: While restricted funding is not bad in and of itself, gifts committed with restrictions crafted by the funder hinder an organization’s efficiency or focus. Said another way, if you don’t define your priorities/rationales then someone will do it for you.
*For most organizations this is $10K+ and could come from an individual, corporation, or foundation.