Do you say thank you when you don’t get the grant?

Do you say thank you when you don’t get the grant?

Before I became a fundraiser in 2000, I spent nearly seven years working for a regional grantmaking foundation. When I came on board, the foundation had only recently transitioned from a casual, privately run organization with the founder and his wife sending out checks to their beloved charities to...
What’s the One Secret to Winning Foundation Grants?

What’s the One Secret to Winning Foundation Grants?

“It does not happen all at once. There is no instant pudding.” W. Edwards Deming When a colleague sent me a link to a web page with the following claims and asked me if it was legitimate, I had to smile. Hundreds of Billions Up For Grabs — Every Year! … there are the more than 75,000 foundations...
Live it to write it

Live it to write it

Last week I had the opportunity to meet two sisters, trustees of a regional family foundation.  I had applied for a grant from the foundation on behalf of a local client and a site visit was scheduled.  It was an excellent visit, relaxed, friendly, plenty of great questions, and an unplanned –...
How to build relationships with foundation grant funders

How to build relationships with foundation grant funders

One of the most commonly asked questions I get is “How do I build relationships with foundation grant funders?” It’s a good question because it shows that the asker understands that relationship-building is just as important when it comes to seeking grants as it is in building a sound individual...
Three Big Ideas to Take Your Relationships with Foundations to the Next Level

Three Big Ideas to Take Your Relationships with Foundations to the Next Level

Foundation folks are constantly being pitched, talked at, “worked.” How easy might it be to stand out from the crowd by taking a completely different approach? Here are three big ideas to get you started. 1. Connect without an agenda. Some years ago, the head of a major foundation spoke at...
8 Biggest Grant Proposal Mistakes

8 Biggest Grant Proposal Mistakes

1.  Have you followed the grant application guidelines? When I worked for a grant-making foundation, you wouldn’t believe how many times my colleagues and I would look at each other with dropped jaws:  “Did they even BOTHER to read the guidelines?” we would wonder. It’s truly...
11 Books for the Fundraiser on Your Gift List

11 Books for the Fundraiser on Your Gift List

When it comes to nonprofit development, you’ll find that many authors have a tendency to make simple things enormously complex. Quite the contrary, strong development involves learning basic marketing techniques, the value of truly understanding your donor, and, lastly, how to develop simple, consistent...
How Much Should You Request in Your Grant Proposal?  How Much Do You Need?!

How Much Should You Request in Your Grant Proposal? How Much Do You Need?!

One of the most common questions I’m asked is “How do you know how much to request when drafting a foundation grant proposal?” Well, how much do you need? Folks, this isn’t rocket science and I refer, once again, to my constant mantra of “systems, systems, and systems.” Have you been researching...
It’s the Economy Stupid!  What Smart Grantseekers Need to Know to Get Funds in Today’s Economy

It’s the Economy Stupid! What Smart Grantseekers Need to Know to Get Funds in Today’s Economy

“When written in Chinese, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters-one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy The other day I was chatting with a fellow nonprofit consultant on Twitter about business and she noted that “organizations...
Behind the Scenes at a Grantmaking Foundation

Behind the Scenes at a Grantmaking Foundation

Have you ever wondered just exactly what goes on behind the scenes at a private, grantmaking foundation once your proposal is delivered? I was fortunate for the opportunity to work at a private, family foundation for seven years. I worked for them during their early days, when they were just beginning...
Be a Fearless Grantseeker!

Be a Fearless Grantseeker!

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot. Eleanor Roosevelt Awhile back I did a poll on the biggest fears grantwriters face in writing a grant proposal. Not surprisingly approaching...
Prepping For Your First Foundation Site Visit

Prepping For Your First Foundation Site Visit

It’s been six weeks since you spent considerable time and effort researching the regional foundations and sending out eight new proposals in support of a planned educational initiative on behalf of your three-year-old community arts organization. So when the phone rings and it’s program officer Samantha...
Foundation Prospect Research – On a Shoestring

Foundation Prospect Research – On a Shoestring

Back in the day when I was running an entire development department alone on a tight budget, I recognized the importance of regular foundation prospecting research. Once a month or so I would trek into Philadelphia to spend a day at the public library researching funders on using Foundation Center,...
What to do When Your Proposal is Declined.  (Hint:  It’s the Beginning, Not the End!)

What to do When Your Proposal is Declined. (Hint: It’s the Beginning, Not the End!)

It’s always frustrating to have your grant proposal rejected, but it’s absolutely essential to stay optimistic and to persevere. The fact is that most grant proposals do get rejected, but learning from the experience—examining why your proposal was turned down—will benefit you by making future...
How to Build Relationships with Foundation Funders

How to Build Relationships with Foundation Funders

When it comes to foundation grants, the biggest question seems to be “how do we get our foot in the door?” How can our nascent grassroots arts organization quickly build relationships with the regional foundations that will help make our programming happen? Generally speaking, I’ve always believed...

Fundraising in a Recession – 7 Tips

Albert Einstein was quoted as saying “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Unfortunately, the world of nonprofit development can be notoriously fickle and unfocused. Clearly we are in a major recession with no end in sight. The trick is not to...