Greetings from GrantLessons!
Well I had to come to Portland OR to find rain! This week I promised to discuss the importance of marketing and relationships to the application writing process for foundation grants and corporate contributions. Let’s start with relationships.
It is sometimes hard to establish a relationship with a funder because they do not want to appear to be biased in the decision making process of which organization gets funding. Read the application over at least three times. Frequently, one finds a statement like, “due to the number of applications received the funder cannot receive questions about the application” especially questions like, “Will my application be funded?” Once an application is submitted it can take from one month to six months before a determination is made. Again if the funder does not want calls do not make calls while you are waiting.
Sometimes a member of the foundation’s board of directors will call and want to meet with someone from the organization. Be sure that you return the call as soon as possible within one business day. If the funder wants to talk, invite them to your chapter house and show them around and be sure to focus your conversation around the program for which you are requesting money.
Once you receive funding you will find that either the funder wants recognition for their donation or they want to remain anonymous and do not want to be included in marketing efforts on your part. Be sure to respect their wishes.
So how does one impress a funder with information about the chapter outside the application? Marketing your chapter is very important. There is a reason why nearly every application asks for a website address. It is important to work with your website administrator to make sure all data is relevant and up to date. For instance, you do not want last year’s list of Board Members on your website. Be sure that your philanthropic program information provides information about the good work you are doing. Placing anecdotal stories from recipients on your website is a valuable addition to funders who rarely ask for this information in a application.
Do you have a Speakers Bureau, this is another great opportunity to express your appreciation to funders who help make the chapter’s philanthropic programs possible. Do you have a community newsletter, this is a great place to list those funders who provide grants and contributions. Do you have an ongoing DVD running in your thrift shop that shoppers view when they visit, this is another place to be sure and have a slide that covers those funders who want the recognition. Are you lucky enough to have a local radio or television commercial where you discuss your philanthropic programs and how they are funded? Do you have an annual report, be sure to list the funders and send them a copy. You have to remember you never know who you are having a conversation about the work you are doing and your ongoing need for funding! For instance I know that one of our major funders happened to initially hear about our organization at a service club presentation. Another funder heard about our work from another funder. Word of mouth is still one of the most common ways to spread the news about your chapter.
Out for a fun day with my granddaughter;-)
Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon! Sandie