Developing Relationships with Funders

Step 2 Developing Relationships with Funders

WE HAVE ALL HEARD THE ADAGES: “fundraising is about relationships” or “people give to people who work at organizations.” The hard truth for grant writers is that we can write a compelling, well-conceived, and beautifully written proposal and submit it on time with all the required attachments, only to receive a message of rejection weeks or months later. Often that message will include little more than a “thank you for applying,” and no insight into why our project failed to receive funding. It can be a frustrating process. In this chapter, we look at ways to identify, research, and develop relationships with funders to increase the likelihood that our proposals result in positive funding decisions.

Prospect Research

There are multiple ways to identify and research prospective funders. Appendix B in the Resource section and on the Winning Grants Step by Step, Fifth Edition website provides detailed information and tips on how to conduct prospect research to identify possible funders. A short summary of some of the methods available to grant seekers includes: • Free online resources such a grant alerts from a city or state office that compiles open grant opportunities. • Paid online subscription services such as the Foundation Directory Online. • Researching the funders of peer organizations, which may be available in their annual reports, 990’s, or GuideStar profiles. • Professional prospect researchers who can provided tailed profiles of potential funders

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