ILOs Understand the general nature, purposes, and techniques of literature with a sense of its relationship to life and culture. Recognize a representative selection of literary works by major writers….
In an ideal world, grant seekers would get the opportunity to meet face-to-face with a funder before they submit a proposal – either at the funder’s office or, even better, at the grant seeker’s organization. Such meetings allow the development of a personal relationship and, in the case of a site visit, for the funder to see an organization or program in action. Unfortunately, pre-proposal funder meetings are often hard to arrange because funders simply cannot accommodate every nonprofit’s request for them. Also, some funders are leery of these meetings because they do not want to raise unrealistic funding expectations. Managing grant seeker expectations is of the utmost importance to the majority of funders: they want to encourage the submission of solid proposals for programs meeting their interest areas, but at the same time, they do not want to raise false hopes. Remember, every foundation and corporate grant maker has a limited amount of funding available for grants every year. That said, if an organization has a contact that already has a strong relationship with a funder, this individual may be able to help broker a meeting; but understand that any early meeting secured with the grant maker will be very preliminary and in no way ensures that the grant seeker will receive funds from this source. If an in-person meeting is scheduled, grant seekers should have materials available that best describe the organization and the proposed program. In the meeting, the grant seeker should attempt to cover the following topics: • Credibility of the organization • Need for the proposed project • Program description • Community interest in the program • Proposed outcomes • Ability to measure success • Costs and projected revenue sources • Why this funder’s interests maybe met by investing in the program Time with a program officer is likely to be short, so organizations should be prepared to hit the highlights. Listen carefully to the funder’s questions and any concerns expressed, and make sure questions are answered fully and truthfully. These questions and concerns should also be addressed again in the proposal that will be submitted following the meeting, provided there is a good fit. Here are some additional steps to take to develop good relationships with funders to whom the grant seeker has spoken: • Add the program officer to the organization’s mailing list or listserv. • Personally forward your organization’s newsletter, and go the extra distance by including a personal note. • Send brief(one-to two-page)progress reports on the successes of the organization’s work – activities that the program officer has not funded but that colleagues at other funding institutions may have funded. • Invite the program officer to organization events with personal notes – even if she cannot come, she will remember the contact. • Contact the program officer occasionally by telephone or email with brief messages and updates. Include quotes or even notes from program constituents.