In my October 4th post, I introduced the second step in the four-step grantsmanship process: Grant Cultivation. I also outlined two methods I that have found to be effective in cultivating grants from foundations and corporations: including your Board Members and the Letter of Inquiry/Intent (LOI).
This month’s post will continue with three additional methods I that have found to be effective in cultivating grants from foundations and corporations:
1. Call the Foundation Manager/Trustee. I typically call the foundation manager or trustee two weeks after mailing the LOI, and they usually answer or call back when I leave a message. These phone calls are a very important way to learn more about these potential grantors, and for them learn more about your NPO. Most important, you can learn if the foundation is a good match for funding your NPO. Although it could be disappointing to learn that this potential funder is not a good fit, it is much better finding out before you spend any more time cultivating or submitting a proposal.
If they think they are a good fit, ask them what they would like to fund.
As I wrote in my post, “Donor Centric Grantsmanship”, it really is about
their funding priorities, and not about what program you would like to
fund. If the conversation is going well, you can find out other useful
information: an appropriate ask amount, grant deadlines and guidelines
if they are not published, AND…
2. Set Up a Meeting. The single best cultivation method is to meet personally with a foundation manager or trustee. So, if the phone conversation is going well, ask if they would like to meet with your Executive Director and the Board Member they know. The ideal meeting is at your NPO where you deliver services to your clients. At your school, your health center, your animal shelter, etc…
If that is not possible, or does not fit the foundation manager or trustees
schedule, then suggest a meeting at their office. As the Grant Manager,
it is appropriate for you to attend a meeting at your NPO, and sometimes
OK at the foundation manager or trustee’s office. Confer with your
Executive Director, and use your best judgment.
The most important goal of this meeting is to learn what this potential
grantor wants to fund at your NPO. This requires a lot of listening on
the part of your NPO representatives. If you do not attend the meeting,
do a quick debrief with your Executive Director (ideally w/in 24 hours),
take notes, and add this info to your donor database and grant files.
3. Send Invitations to Group Events, General E-mails and Mailings … But don’t overdo it. The contacts you have at the foundations and corporations that are a good fit for funding your organization need to be treated as the important potential donors they are: i.e. individually.
Lynn deLearie Consulting, LLC, helps nonprofit organizations develop, enhance and expand grants programs, and helps them secure funding from foundations and corporations. Contact Lynn deLearie.
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