Competition is tough, and there’s no such thing as a guaranteed grant. We don’t want you discouraged or downhearted, and that’s why we’re here to talk about some best practices when soliciting funds from donors.
First thing: the ones who are doing the funding are not just a giant dollar sign with legs. They’re people too, and who they are matters. It’s important to know the people you’re reaching out to for funding as best you can before making the first move. Are they a private group or foundation, run by or in the name of an individual or family? Perhaps they’re operated by a company who uses their business profits to give grants. Some of the private foundations submit 990 PFs (PF meaning private foundation), which detail who they’ve given money to in the past. When you’re researching potential donors, it’s very helpful to see if their 990 PF is available.
Once you’ve identified a potential funder, you need to understand you won’t be the only suitor at the table. Grant organizations are overwhelmed with applications, so you need to reach out and ask when they might be available to discuss your proposition. This could take time. You’ll need to be prepared to answer any initial questions they will have (they’re checking you out too) and be poised and patient as you present yourself. This first contact between you and a potential donor can reveal key things for and about both parties. Maybe when they give you more information you’ll have to write them off your list of potential partners. Maybe they’ll be just what you’re looking for.
The final best practice when approaching funders is to deal in where you are now as much as where you want to be. Your mission is worthwhile and your vision is strong, but never be afraid to be open about areas where you’ll be able to improve. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Funders know you’re coming to them because you need help. You’re showing initiative. You want to grow. You aspire to something greater. Painting a picture of a perfect organization will make grantors wonder why they’re needed in the first place. Honesty means credibility in the eyes of investors.
Have you looked into which partners may be right for you? In an ideal world there would be a passionate and people-friendly organization who would handle all your grant writing, research, review drafting and they’d – wait a minute, that’s us! We specialize in all that and more, and we’d love to team up and aid you in drafting the best possible grant request. Reach out to us today!