For Impact


Anatomy of an Ask – the Funding Rationale

WOW Email | | Nick Fellers

  • A clear request.
  • A compelling funding rationale.

80% of the organizations we encounter lack a funding rationale.

A funding rationale is the basis for your clear request. Insofar as you are asking someone to invest in your cause, organization, or project, the funding rationale articulates the return on that investment.

This return on investment can be quantitative: 10 lives impacted.

And/or it can be qualitative: With this investment we will change the life trajectory for a generation of kids.

It can be certain and distinct: Every time you invest $10,000 this enables us to impact one village in one year.

Or, it can be aspirational: with these funds we will attempt a new solution!

A good funding rationale…

  • Bridges the emotional thrust of your story to the role your funder can play in that story.
  • Offers some logical (or contextual) justification for the level of financial commitment/investment.
  • Can be individualized for a funder.

Although this leaves a lot of room for creativity, here is a simple framework you can use to litmus test your clear request and funding rationale:

Would it be possible for you to consider an investment of $ X? (clear request)
With this level of investment we will hope to make Y impact. (funding rationale)

The reason you need X is because it will do Y.
Or, in order to achieve Y it will require an investment of X.

The 1:1 ask is what compels and maximizes an individualized investment. A great ask has a clear request and a compelling funding rationale.