THE IMPACT LEAK
Updated: Jan 31
- What impacts the good we do?
Photo by Luis Tosta via UnSplash
"Empathy is the starting point for creating a community and taking action. It's the impetus for creating change." - Max Carver
And so, one must always start at the beginning.
ANSWER.it Inc. was formed in response to the pandemic. Knowing the deep impact Covid-19 would have on the nonprofit sector meant leaning in to save, to help and to support. As our mission to strengthen the sector took shape, so did our sense of the needs of funders and nonprofits. Imagining the sector as a triumvirate of government, foundations and individual nonprofits, we see the impact of shifts in interests and activities on what happens to those we serve. The nonprofit sector serves ALL Canadians and in that service, we continually engage society about their needs, but often neglect our own. Who decides what is good for organizations and thus, the sector? And how do those decisions bear out?
In Canadian society, one must follow the money. In assessing the impact of funding on funders AND nonprofits, we discovered the "'Impact Leak' - proposal failure negatively impacting the good we do." This impact can be measured in terms of lost time and high costs associated with applying for grants (nonprofits) and selection and administration of grants (funders). If both sides are experiencing loss and failure, something needs to change.
Photo by Jeremy Bishop via UnSplash
We found a research study on Brevio. It was undertaken in the U.K. in 2019 by Speller, M, Hodgson, P, Brandon-Jones, A, Dimov, D & Padget, J. titled the "UK Third Sector grant making: A summary of research by the University of Bath. " It illuminated the high costs and time spent on proposals and more importantly, failed proposals.
"The average (mean) failure rate per application is 66%" and this translates to "£726 million wasted on unsuccessful grants" out of a total of £1.1 billion spent annually on writing all grants in the United Kingdom.
Astonishing. Disheartening. Avoidable.
ANSWER.it has been developing technology coupled with behavioural science to change this - to save us all TIME, MONEY and FRUSTRATION. We want to replicate this research to assess the negative impact for Canada's nonprofit sector and have applied to several research partners, including Carleton University, to help us measure and validate the 'Impact Leak". From there, ANSWER.it will dedicate itself to reducing the number of failed grant proposals before they are written. That's our "starting point for creating a community and taking action". Join us here to see it shrink.