A Paradigm Shift: How Grants Have Changed in a Virtual World
The pandemic has greatly impacted the way nonprofits conduct training, score grant applications, and partnering with peer organizations. While there are various challenges and opportunities to this remote environment, statistics show that the convenience and cost effectiveness of doing work through virtual means holds value for nonprofits.
In this article, we’ll discuss how various aspects of the nonprofit world have been affected due to the pandemic, and whether these changes have been beneficial or caused a hindrance for each.
Global accessibility: Turns out, online platforms can help boost the diversity of review panels and widen participation. Now that the financial burdens of travel are no longer a constraint, researchers from other countries are being invited to participate in review panels. Video conferencing has also prompted positive changes such as widening research agendas and expanding cultural diversity. While many are eager to get back to in-person events, online platforms have served as a great alternative for expanding reach and encouraging participation globally.
Panel reviewers: When it comes to reviewing applications, a recent poll suggests that many reviewers don’t love using video conferencing. However, as it relates to scoring, there wasn’t too big of a difference in the process. While reviewers might not be so keen on video, most agreed that it was cost effective and more convenient in terms of their time commitments when compared to meeting in person.
Training: Virtual training during the pandemic has increased the participation of international attendees, who may not have been able to travel to training sites prior to the pandemic. The biggest win for virtual training is the ability to engage a broader audience, including those with a limited budget for professional development. This allows smaller nonprofits to become engaged in learning opportunities, including virtual conferences.
Funders: Many nonprofits were worried about finding funding during the pandemic, due to changes in event construction, corporate sponsorships, and private and government opportunities. And while some corporate and private foundations may have decided to focus on existing grantees, others have modified their giving cycles entirely. Many funders saw the pandemic as an opportunity to emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion in their institution. And if their mission aligns closely with that of your nonprofit, it increases their exposure and helps your nonprofit scale.
The pandemic has increased our reliance on video conferencing, and altered approaches to travel, meetings, decision-making, and communication. While it was a challenge to transition to a remote environment, it’s also proved beneficial when it comes to cost reduction and innovation.
Is your nonprofit world looking to optimize its funding efforts during the pandemic, but isn’t sure how? RBW Strategy can help! We offer a variety of grant consulting services, like planning and research, federal grants management, fundraising collateral, and more. Contact us today!