Modifying your allocation process is a pivotal way to influence your community partners and demonstrate your commitment to Strengthening Families. By integrating the UWSF framework into your allocation process you can extend the community impact of your United Way initiatives through the leveraging of funds. When RFPs and grant applications use UWSF language, local United Ways are able to:
- Support grantees whose proposals actively address the protective factors.
- Ensure funding decisions fall in line with your organizational priorities.
- Clearly define and evaluate desired community outcomes.
- Demonstrate both how UWSF works and how it leads to community impact.
Reworking your granting process to incorporate the protective factors is best carried out after you have a comprehensive understanding of the UWSF framework. It requires you to rethink how to offer funding, how to communicate your priorities, how to rate your applications, and how to guide your decisions. Once you decide which projects to fund you must actively work to ensure grantees commit to UWSF principles and reap the benefits of using all the protective factors in their work—not just apply the wording in their RFP.
Because you will be asking something new of your community partners, this change in the allocation process must be as smooth as possible. Remember you are trying to get everyone on board and to view the protective factors as beneficial across multiple programs. And, although modifying the allocation process is complex, the pilot sites that engaged in this strategy considered it an undeniable success. Here we provide you with some guidance, keys to success, and resources to get you started.