Decisions Often Based On Past Experience

August 8, 2016       The NonProfit Times      

Applying for grant funding requires so much care that applicants might think that decisions are based on some kind of absolute, Olympian standard.

A recent edition of The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) publication “Advancing Philanthropy,” includes an article by consultant Eugene A. Scanlan, based on one person’s experiences inside a foundation. Those experiences led to the following insights, offered in the article “Never Board”:
* Grant decision-makers are not always driven by the cold logic of a proposal and the staff’s write-up. Decision makers draw on their own experiences and emotions, as well as other involvements.
* Even the foundation staff might not know enough about these other factors to predict an outcome.
* Members of the executive committee did their homework. Lots of it.
* Decisions can be organization based, proposed program based, cause/need based or even person based (“I know the director there, and she’s doing a great job”).
* Proposals that use excessive jargon, make claims or do not seem to have wide support from those already served by the organization or others in the community will have difficulty.
* Before a proposal is submitted, especially for a new program or service, an organization should check if other organizations are doing similar things, especially in the same area.
* Understaffed foundations might have designated one person on the board to do the initial review of proposals, so an applicant might be dealing directly with one of the decision makers.
* Grand decision makers are people.