Would you go into business with someone you knew very little about, and perhaps hadn’t even spoken to?
Of course not. Yet many grant-seekers fail to read and fully understand a funder’s criteria and the majority don’t call to discuss their project.
By not undertaking fundamental research into a potential funder and failing to establish contact, grant-seekers are not only submitting applications that don’t match the funder’s objectives but they are missing a great opportunity to build what could be a long-term committed relationship.
Funders are people too
Relationships are central to successful grant-seeking. By keeping track of your funder interactions and building up your knowledge of the funder – what projects they have previously supported, who is on their board, how the corporate organisation is tracking – you gain more understanding and insight as you develop the relationship.
If you expect a funder to support you, the very least you can do is demonstrate that you understand the organisation, their funding objectives and their activities.
When you do make that call to the funder, don’t do it the week before the application is due. Plan ahead and make your calls before the funder is inundated.
This is your opportunity to create a positive impression of your nonprofit, and to start building your relationship and a platform for you to pitch your project.
If you take the time upfront to undertake thorough research, establish that your project is a match, and take a long-term view to relationship building, you have the potential to find a funder that will show commitment well beyond just one round of funding.