Developing the Relationship

Developing the Relationship

After establishing that there is a good fit between your organization and the funder, relationship building becomes a continuous process that begins before a single word of a proposal is written. Strategic communication with funders should continue before, during, and even after the funding relationship has ended. Here are a few concrete ways to approach a funder to open the door to relationship building. These are discussed more fully in the following subsections. • Send the funder a brief email inquiry, unless the foundation’s website discourages or prohibits email outreach. • Call the foundation and request to speak with someone regarding your proposal idea unless the foundation’s website discourages or prohibits phone calls. • Send a brief (no longer than two pages unless the funder expresses the need for more detail) letter of inquiry (LOI) to the funder. Be sure to follow the funder’s guidelines for LOIs. • Invite the funder to your organization for an event that demonstrates your organization’s programs and effectiveness. • Although grant guidelines may determine an organization’s initial approach, grant seekers may have a connection to the funder, such as a board member who can potentially open a door on behalf of the organization for an initial meeting or phone conversation.

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