While it’s true that a well-written grant application with a robust project plan that meets funder criteria is a huge part of the grant application process, many people forget – or don’t realise at all – that a positive relationship with funders is the key to long-term grants success! Now is a good time to ask yourself – are you showing your funders the love? 

To ensure that your relationship with funders will stand the test of time, we’ve put together some of our top tips: 

Don’t apply without reaching out to the funder first.

We always encourage our clients to pick up the phone, or at the very least, email, early in the grant application process (unless the funder explicitly states in the guidelines that they do not wish to be contacted). This isn’t the time to bounce ideas off the funder, rather come prepared with questions you can confidently ask about the project you are pitching. 

Say thank you.

This stands even if you aren’t successful. If you are successful, ringing to thank them is also an opportunity to seek any clarity about the process moving forward, particularly the funder’s requirements when it comes to reporting. If you aren’t successful, see if they are willing to provide any feedback. 

Continue to meet and exceed funder expectations throughout the lifecycle of the grant and beyond.

Making sure you report on outcomes according to the terms of the funding agreement is critical. The funder has just invested in your organisation’s project – keeping them updated on how you are spending their funding is how you can show them the love! 

Always be thankful, honest, and transparent.

Hit a roadblock with delivering your project? Let them know and offer any explanations. Have your expected outcomes deviated from what you outlined in the application? Not achieving expected outcomes is not a negative. Explaining what you have learnt and how you are disseminating those learnings is extremely positive! And always be sure to describe the impact of the project – that is a sure-fire way to make the funder feel all warm and fuzzy! 

Keep the love going.

Even after you’ve successfully delivered your project and all reports are submitted, keep in touch. Share copies of your latest annual report or keep funders up to date with any major organisational changes.  

Remember, you know your grants strategy is on the road to long-term success when the funder approaches you, or you are offered repeat funding. But this won’t happen without developing and nurturing a beautiful relationship. So, next time you sit down to write a grant application, don’t forget to show the funder some love! And if you need any support with your grants strategy, the Strategic Grants team are here to show you the love!