Grant writing insights for nonprofits, with strategies for navigating grant applications with an equity-centered approach, with Stephanie Somerman, Senior Director at Elevate. From redefining the narrative to empowering communities, we focus on the importance of putting people at the forefront of grant proposals.

Elevate specializes in institutional fundraising, aiding nonprofits in securing vital resources for their impactful work. Stephanie stresses that the grant application process isn’t solely about submitting proposals but entails a comprehensive journey, from relationship-building with funders to understanding community needs deeply. Central to the conversation is the concept of centering equity in grant writing, defined as prioritizing people’s experiences and needs, ensuring their voices drive the narrative. Stephanie emphasizes the significance of people-centered language, urging nonprofits to convey their work authentically by reflecting the perspectives and historical context of the communities they serve.

Stephanie and our cohosts address the challenge of ensuring funders understand and appreciate equity-centered approaches, acknowledging the limited awareness among some funders, emphasizing the role of nonprofits in educating them. Through meticulous research and thoughtful grant narratives, nonprofits can advocate for equitable solutions while respectfully challenging funders’ perspectives.

Stephanie advocates for a shift in strategic planning within nonprofits, posing a bottom-up approach that empowers staff with lived experiences. By starting strategic planning discussions with frontline staff, organizations can tap into invaluable insights and foster a culture of agency and innovation.

Throughout this fast-paced episode, Stephanie underscores the complexity of grant writing within often constrained character limits, encouraging nonprofits to incorporate contextual elements such as historical and cultural context, alongside direct community perspectives, to enrich their grant narratives authentically, creating compelling narratives that resonate with funders.