Happy End of Year! As we close out 2023 and reflect back on the year, I am proud of what our team has built and accomplished together this year. Thank you to everyone that has contributed to making what Arula is today!
As most everyone experienced, 2023 was a difficult and chaotic year. Of particular affect on Arula was the increase in inflation and rapidly changing economy. This impacted all of our clients’ fundraising efforts; from grants to individual giving to events to investments. Nationally, grant funding decreased by an incredible 30%. Many foundations found themselves running out of money and, as a result, a number of them have even changed how they now grant funds. It was an unpredictable financial year to say the least.
At Arula, we started off the year strong with several new staff and an exciting plan for growth. We worked hard to solidify Arula as a professional company and created a number of new processes that have become the groundwork for stable and sustainable growth. I can safely say that our whole team is proud of what we have done with the building of our company and are excited for what it means for the future.
I am also very proud of the individual growth of each of our staff. Everyone has honed their expertise and even learned some new skills that we can use in helping our clients. They each take pride in their knowledge and areas of expertise and their diversity is what sets Arula apart. Because of them, we are able to offer our clients services in almost every aspect of nonprofit development and management. When clients work with Arula, they are getting an entire team of experts in one, and our skills and knowledge only continue to grow.
Towards the middle to end of the year, the economic environment started to take a noticeable toll on all the organizations we work with. We saw grants that have historically been awarded either decline in award amount or not be awarded at all. We saw foundations stop awarding grants to anyone but previously funded organizations. We saw funding cycles change. We saw funding delayed. We saw foundations stop awarding grants altogether. We saw these and other major changes in the funding that organizations have historically been able to rely on.
At Arula, we have been working hard to adapt to this changing grant and fundraising world and continue to strive to give our clients the best chances at funding success. We don’t know what 2024 will look like, but we give our promise that we will stay on top of the changes and adapt to them as best we can.
Despite the difficult year, I am proud to say that we were still able to raise over $750,000 in grant funds for our clients in 2023. That brings us to a cumulative total of over $6M since our founding! This is due to our amazing team and the wonderful partnerships we have with each of our clients. We will continue to work hard to make 2024 even more successful for our clients!
We had the opportunity to meet so many amazing organizations this year and got to talk to so many passionate people who are doing wonderful work in the community. Everyone is an inspiration to continue pouring good into the community. An incredible fourteen of these organizations became our clients this year and we are so excited to get to work with each and every one of them and help them advance their missions!
Arula’s Plans and Goals for 2024
I am happy to announce that we have some exciting things coming in 2024! In response to a rapidly changing economy, we are adding some new items and services to better meet the needs of our clients and the other nonprofits in our community. These will roll out over the course of the year but to give a sneak peak, we will be offering more fundraising tools and education to all who need them. These will particularly be designed for the organizations that are not able to afford our full services but still need help with their fundraising needs. Our goal is to help all organizations have the tools they need to achieve fundraising, development, and management success regardless of their budget. When nonprofits succeed, the whole community is elevated.
We will also continue building our skills and knowledge to better serve our clients. We want to be the place that everyone can go when they have a problem within their organization that they need solved. Nowhere else can you find such comprehensive knowledge and the ability to implement that knowledge to directly serve nonprofits.
Nonprofits are also not the only entities that need grants. With this in mind, we aim to help more startup and small businesses with applicable grants so they can go on to provide products and services that our communities need. Colorado is rich with these businesses and they employ the majority of Colorado residents. Of particular note is grant funding available for businesses who are in the “advanced industries” sector. Our goal is to help these businesses get their innovative projects off the ground which will, in turn, offer many opportunities for our Colorado communities.
We are very excited for 2024 and what the future will bring for Arula and our community. As we continue to grow and expand our services, we envision so many new possibilities. With our amazing staff and the help of our wonderful partners, we will continue to evolve to provide the best possible support to our clients and the broader community!