Guaranteeing a Grant

Guaranteeing a Six-Figure Grant

Project Overview

As a non-profit, the majority of our funding came from large foundations. One of our grants covered the majority of our operating costs--in excess of 2 million--and was split into three disbursements over two years. The catch? We had to hit certain milestones in order to keep receiving funding, and one of these revolved around how many views our program materials received.  Our funder wanted to ensure people were actually looking at what we had put out. 

Unfortunately, my predecessor had completely neglected this metric, and August 1st, only a few weeks after I joined, we realized that we were nearly 40,000 views short of our goal. If we didn't hit it by the end of the month, we would lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in operating budget. 

For an organization that tended to average about 6,000 page views a month, we now need to do an enormous lift to make the deadline. 

Step 1: Getting an Accurate View Count

My predecessor had not been properly measuring progress towards this metric (for example, they included items that the funder wouldn't count towards the total) so the first order of business was to quickly find an accurate way to measure the previous six months. I created an excel dashboard, installed analytic software, and did my best to see just how in-the-red we were.  In the end, because so much data was missing, we could only reliably count on 10,000 views for the materials they requested, whereas we needed to hit 50k by the end of the month. 

Given that, I decided to set the goal for the month to 45,000, that way we'd clear the 50,000 we needed, and if later on we discovered we could track and count more from previous months, that would only be gravy. 

Step 2: Content Creation and Remixing

With a goal set, we now had a major problem: How could we possibly hit 45,000 views in a month, particularly when we didn't have a lot of old content to market, and anything new was going to have to be created on an incredibly tight schedule? 

First things first: We needed to immediately start promoting content that counted towards the goal. So I started by taking all previously created content and making new social media posts/tweets/ads so that we could remix them and immediately something to promote. You can see some of these remixed pieces on the right. 

Then I created a chart of all the content we could possibly release in a month and how much time each piece would take. The goal was to find the best overlap between what could be finished quickly, while ALSO having the best chance to get lots of views. 

Step 3: Creating and Promoting New Content

In evaluating the potential content we could create in August, I discovered that two videos from a previous program we held were currently being edited with a finished deadline of September. I asked for it to be an immediate priority, and to have final cuts within two weeks so we could use them in the second half of August, knowing they would rack up views far faster than any written content we could put out. 

To make sure we were firing on all cylinders, I secured extra budget to promote all of these pieces, and reached out to several influencers asking for them to please share what we were putting out this month since we had an important milestone to hit.

Then I got to work, cranking out drafts of new blog posts, infographics, and other materials that we could start promoting the second week, with the hope that the videos in the third week would push us over the top.  

You can view one of the final videos below. 


The full-court press worked. By the third week of August, we officially got over the 50k goal, and by the end of August we achieved 62k content views in total, with the video promotion pulling in MANY of them.

Even better? The content push created a backlog of materials that we could release over the next 3 months and steadily promote afterward, keeping our numbers up. 

Most importantly,  we secured the $600,000 and ensured that we would have an operating budget for the remainder of the year.