Step 9 in the text provides an overview of the organizational background component. In 200-300 words, write up a background on the organization you have selected for your project, addressing some of the following components (addressed on page 88 of the text):
a. A brief description of the organization and its mission and vision, as well as a description of how it came to be (its history).
b. The demographics of the community your organization serves, followed by the ways in which both the board members and the staff reflect those demographics. This information is growing steadily in importance to funders, as they want to make sure that the nonprofit is in the best position to truly understand and connect with the community it strives to serve.
c. A description of the organization’s position and role in the community. Who are the organization’s collaborating partners in the community?
d. A discussion of the ways the organization is unique in comparison to others providing similar services.
Who are you? Organizations have mission statements that essentially drive the organization, vision statements focus on where the organization sees itself going, values statements that explain the organization ‘s beliefs and priorities. Ideally these complement one another.
For example, the American Red Cross offers the following:
The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
The American Red Cross, through its strong network of volunteers, donors and partners, is always there in times of need. We aspire to turn compassion into action so that…
…all people affected by disaster across the country and around the world receive care, shelter and hope;
…our communities are ready and prepared for disasters;
…everyone in our country has access to safe, lifesaving blood and blood products;
…all members of our armed services and their families find support and comfort whenever needed; and
…in an emergency, there are always trained individuals nearby, ready to use their Red Cross skills to save lives.
Fundamental Principles of the Global Red Cross Network (Values)
The Red Cross, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavors—in its international and national capacity—to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found. Its purpose is to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace amongst all peoples.
It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavors to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.
In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Red Cross may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.
The Red Cross is independent. The national societies, while auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their governments and subject to the laws of their respective countries, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may be able at all times to act in accordance with Red Cross principles.
The Red Cross is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.
There can be only one Red Cross society in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory.
The Red Cross is a worldwide institution in which all societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other.
This is what the organization says about itself, and what others should expect of it. In grant writing, you need to consider these when offering your background statement. What does your organization (specifically) address, and why does it deserve funding? A weak background statement can sabotage your entire process. This background statement can be driven by the other statements (above)
O’Neal-McElrath, T. (2013). Winning grants step by step: The complete workbook for planning, developing and writing successful proposals (4th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
· Step 9: Writing the Organization Background Component
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