Grant-makers at foundations want to help people and organizations looking to do good, but taking them for granted is not a good approach for seeking foundation support. Using some smarts is.
During the recent Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Fundraising Conference, Rebecca Lake of World Wildlife Fund-USA and Rebecca Girvin-Argon of James Madison’s Montpelier emphasized the importance of using good strategy for approaching foundations.
A big part of that is building a relationship. That means:
* Initial strategy development: Study the foundation’s strategy and giving patterns; identify overlap of the organization’s goals; and, decide on the initial approach: Networking, an email requesting a short with a few details to pique interest.
* First steps in building the relationship: Schedule a call or meeting; Decide who should attend; and, Prep the program staff or executive.
* The Meeting: During the meeting, listen for signals of interest; Take detailed notes; and, Identify next steps, but don’t pitch. Keep it low key.
* Concept note or letter of inquiry: Background or context; Need or problem to be addressed; Goal of the project; Outcomes or objectives that lead to the goal; Activities for each objective; Results, outputs, outcomes and indicators; and, Budget total.