Many times nonprofits will say they are aware of all the available opportunities and so there is no need for further research, but this ignores the fact that the world of foundations and corporations are ever changing. Trustees and executive directors come and go at foundations and with the changing of the guard can be changes in priorities and/or new policies regarding from whom they will accept applications. Furthermore, altogether new foundations enter the market. If an organization never invests in research then these new opportunities for funding go unnoticed, which amounts to missed chances for enhancing facilities, expanding programming, and increasing employee compensation for the vital work they do.
Nonprofits that are concerned about how to explain the “risk” of funding research to board members and donors should be prepared with answers to the following questions:
- How much will it cost? What percentage of the organizational budget will be devoted to funding research?
- Will there be a focus to the research? What programs will potentially benefit?
- Who will do the research? How is this person/organization qualified?
- Why is now the time to invest in funding research?
- What will be the consequences if funding research is not pursued?
- How will new leads be followed up on? What will be the cost of following up on leads?