Did We Make A Difference?

          Recently I had the pleasure of working with a non-profit organization on submitting a grant application to further the services they provide in our community.  Their services are needed, a basic requirement of life, a life saver for many, a life altering experience for others.  Yet, like many programs that fall in the category of “social services”, they rely on the soft funds of grants to exist.

          The grant application itself was pretty straight forward – two pages of fact finding questions.  It was how simple the answers were that was troubling.  “Number of clientele reached in 2012” – a couple dozen was the answer – but wait that does not tell the entire story.  We live in a state that is designated as rural by the IRS.  Our particular region has not experienced the growth in population that the western oilfields have.  The couple dozen clients reached are a large percentage of our total population.  Where does it ask for a percentage?  Nowhere.

          “New partnerships formed in past year” – ummm, one.  Again, our population is not experiencing any leaps and bounds of growth so having other non-profits flock to our area to provide services just isn’t happening.  As soon as the one new one did appear on the horizon, our non-profit was there – anxious to be partners for the benefit of the clients and to, of course, show growth on a grant application.  One seems like such a lonely, low-ball response but it all we have.

          And so the questions and answers went.  Simple answers that did not convey the depth of experience held by our staff, did not convey how we had no other alternatives if this grant was not approved, did not convey how transportation issues made us the “only show in town” for a 90-mile circumference.   

          We attached a letter of introduction that was not required but that we hope contained all the information the grant did not ask for.  All was ready and mailed off to the designated designation.   And we shall wait to see if they could see between the lines to find the difference we make.