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5 steps to approaching grantmakers

by The NonProfit Times - May 7, 2013

As most experienced grantmakers probably realize by now, there is a lot more to applying for grants than just filling out a form. It’s important that all organizations seeking funding understand the grantmaker’s expectations and priorities before seeking out an application.

In the book “Five Good Ideas,” Robin Cardozo, CEO of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, wrote that aside from getting more information, approaching the grantmaker will allow the funder to learn more about you. She explained that funders must know that the grantee is a qualified, credible, and capable partner in achieving its mission. As such, Cardozo recommended approaching grantmakers in the following ways:

  • Show you can help a grantmaker achieve its objectives. Show that you don’t think of this as an abstract source of funding.
  • Do your homework. Look at the kinds of initiatives supported by the grantmaker you are approaching. Make sure you know the types of activities it supports, and the size and duration of the grants it issues.
  • Be aware of the competition for funding. Ensure that your request is realistic and be prepared to receive less than the full amount.
  • Be open to change. When you make an application, be open to the possibility that grantmakers might suggest changes or alternative approaches to your work.
  • Pay attention to details. Success in getting grants depends on more than having good ideas. Your organization must demonstrate its credibility and capacity to carry out the initiative.


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