Economists sometimes talk about “comparative advantage”—the particular feature of a company, region or nation that gives it an edge over competitors. Comparative advantage is a strong selling point, and it is important for nonprofits to be aware of their special strengths and hallmark accomplishments, and to present them convincingly.

In a time of tight resources, is it not enough to be a good organization doing good work? Funders need to know why your organization is especially worthy of their support, how it stands out among others doing similar work, why it is crucial for the people it serves and for the larger community.

Typically, defining your edge is not a matter of “hyping” the organization or its accomplishments. Most nonprofits evolve in response to urgent needs, and those that succeed have developed successful strategies for meeting those needs. Often it is simply a matter of stepping back from day-to-day demands to recognize what it is that you do best and why your services matter.

Do you serve a population no one else is reaching?

Have you been successful in meeting the needs of your clientele?

Do you provide a service that no one else in your area is providing?

Do you play an important role in relation to the larger community?

Do you bring unique expertise to your mission?

Have you successfully applied innovative strategies?

Is your cost/benefit ratio impressive?

All of these angles are far more effective in getting the attention of funders if they are backed up with hard data. Our Fundraising Search is ready and willing to help you define your comparative advantage and make your case.

In the nonprofit world, we tend to resist the idea of competition; after all, we are all working to alleviate problems, not to get the better of each other. Nevertheless, funders need to know why they should move your application to the top of the pile.