Insights for Grantseekers… when funders place equity at the center of their giving
The Equitable Evaluation Initiative group recently published a paper in partnership with Grantmakers for Effective Organizations entitled The Equitable Evaluation Framework.
While it’s a little on the academic side, the paper’s work will be very interesting to grantseekers who are now faced with a shower of requests to judge their work within the context of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
The EEI paper asks grantmakers and grantseekers to imagine “What might be possible if evaluation was conceptualized, implemented, and utilized in a manner that promotes equity?” Not hypothetically, but really and truly.
This led us (specifically Access Philanthropy Researcher, Laura Wilson) to wonder: If foundations are really beginning to place equity at the center of their work, how can grantseekers effectively demonstrate their work in this area to prospective funders?
That is, if the funder follows the principles behind the Equity Evaluation Framework, and needs to know how your organization’s historical and structural decisions have contributed to the conditions your organization is addressing, how do you support your proposals in the terms of that Framework?
Here are a few take-aways, we pulled from the Framework that can assist grant-seekers:
- Highlight how your organization fits into that specific foundation’s strategic philanthropy plan.
Emphasize your role in addressing the larger issue.
- Showcase intentionality behind your decisions, actions, and program design.
- Demonstrate how your programs address the funder’s core issue; provide services that produce equitable results.
- Reflect on inequities in your approach to providing services to the community followed by specific actions you are taking to grow from those mistakes.
- Offer, implicitly or explicitly, to be closer partners, learning from each other and suggesting new approaches to an issue.
Above all, think reflectively about the work you do.
Have ongoing discussions with staff and board members about what’s working, what isn’t. How can you demonstrate your impact in ways that show it is advancing equity? Can you educate grantmakers on what you want to measure and need to evaluate to succeed? How can the community be involved in evaluating your work?
This is a long-haul process, one that could be very meaningful, if we are all active participants.