Stick to what you’re good at.
If you find yourself wondering how to craft your proposal to fit a funder’s guidelines, welcome to the club. That’s what we all do.
But if you find yourself wondering how to change your program in order to fit a funder’s guidelines, be very careful that you aren’t losing sight of your organization’s mission. That’s mission drift.
The truth is, mission drift isn’t fooling any funders. In fact, if the project for which your organization is applying for funding isn’t a natural fit with the other work that you do, you risk looking like your organization has lost sight of its raison d’etre.
Can’t you ever try anything new? Sure! But you must show a funder how the novel project is building on the success of your previous work. Or, perhaps you need to explain how your organization has noticed a need that is affecting your ability to achieve progress on your core mission, so you’ve developed a novel project to address that need.
It’s common for organizations to change their direction, but it should be a mindful strategic decision and not done in pursuit of funding.