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Grants and Growth through DEI: A Guide to Leveraging Diversity and Inclusion in Your Nonprofit

Writing a successful grant is essential for many fundraisers and nonprofit organizations. But not all grants are created equal, and if we want to create genuinely inclusive applications that can get accepted, we need to consider diversity and inclusion in our grant writing.

Why Is It Important to Consider Diversity and Inclusion When Writing Grants?

Considering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) when writing grants is crucial. DEI refers to valuing and respecting differences in people and understanding the unique experiences of different backgrounds and identities. Incorporating DEI into grant writing helps organizations reach a broader range of potential beneficiaries and meet the expectations of funders who are increasingly considering an organization's commitment to DEI when evaluating grant applications.

How Can Grant Writers Make Their Applications More Inclusive?

Integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into the grant-writing process is not just a trend but a crucial aspect of ensuring that all communities and individuals are considered in the grant-making process. DEI is recognized as a fundamental value for creating an equitable and inclusive environment in today's society. The recognition of differences and understanding of the unique experiences of individuals from diverse backgrounds and identities, including race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, ability status, and more, is at the heart of DEI.

So, how can you effectively incorporate DEI into your grant proposals? Here are three tips to keep in mind:

  1. To reflect the diversity of the community you serve, ensure the representation of people from diverse backgrounds in your proposal and use inclusive language.

  2. Consider how the project will create equitable outcomes for all stakeholders, including marginalized groups, and highlight this in your proposal.

  3. When selecting partners or collaborators, prioritize those who align with DEI values and have experience working with diverse populations.

How Can Nonprofits Incorporate More DEI Into Their Organization?

Now that we have discussed how you can incorporate DEI into your grant applications let's explore how nonprofits can incorporate more DEI into their organizations.

Simply put, funders are now expecting nonprofits to incorporate DEI into their grant applications and address any gaps in DEI within their own organization. That means it's time to get up to speed if you're not already familiar with the concept of DEI.

Here are a few tips on how your nonprofit can ensure its DEI practices are up to par:

  1. Conduct a self-assessment. The first step is to take a good, hard look at your organization and identify areas where you could be doing better regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. This might mean anything from increasing the number of staff members from underrepresented groups to reevaluating your hiring and promotion practices.

  2. Create or update your DEI policy. Once you've identified areas where you can improve, it's time to create a formal DEI policy for your organization. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to DEI initiatives.

  3. Train your staff and board members. Once you have a DEI policy in place, it's crucial to ensure everyone in your organization is aware of it and knows how to implement it. That means training staff members and board members on DEI and its importance.

DEI is now an expectation for nonprofits, and it's essential to make sure your organization meets these standards by conducting a self-assessment, creating or updating your DEI policy, training staff members and board members on what DEI is and why it's crucial, and evaluating progress regularly. By doing so, you can ensure that all grant applications showcase the commitment of your nonprofit to diversity, equity, and inclusion - increasing its chances of being funded!

Kristin Chute head shot

Kristin Chute is a freelance writer with a passion for helping nonprofits increase their reach and impact. She has written for companies offering SaaS solutions, nonprofits directly, and donor loyalty programs.

Kristin believes in the power of nonprofit organizations to change the world. With expertise stemming from her career and personal connection to volunteering at her childhood summer camp, she shares insights to help nonprofits increase their reach, engage supporters, and amplify fundraising efforts.

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