Your philosophy, message, and actions must be truthful, regardless of who’s watching or listening, be it other staff, funding prospects, clients, or community leaders—in fact, even your friends and family. In this networked world, you never know who the next funder will be or who will influence them to support your projects. Being honest will
We’re pulling back the curtain on the mysterious minds of funders! The following are some of the considerations funders keep in mind when reviewing a budget. Is your budget request in line with the type and size of other grants given by your funder? Does your budget include all requested items and follow formatting guidelines?
We’ve been reviewers and have talked with others. Here’s a “hit list” of mistakes to avoid: Ignoring RFP directions Failing to use correct forms Using a typeface too small to read Listing wrong ‘through’ dates, asking for funds outside the calendar guidelines Not including a Table of Contents, or including one with incorrect page numbers
Problems happen. If you encounter one in the project, go to the funder as quickly as possible to explain what happened. Don’t let them find out through some other source. Most funders will be understanding and try to work with you if—and we emphasize if—you have been open, honest, and up-front with them from the
Outcome evaluations are becoming more valuable. These measures should be as important, if not more important, to your group as they are to your funder. Outcome data supports ongoing funding, builds your group’s reputation, and creates the institutional memory necessary to prepare subsequent proposals. Whether you have public or private funders, you should set up
Now that the grantseeking cycle is completed, it’s tempting to put the proposal on the shelf until the next funding deadline looms. Don’t! Instead, think of your efforts as a continuously running machine that you must oil and maintain for optimal performance. Work towards sustainability. End eleventh-hour planning, research, and writing by keeping information current.
If you were rejected for funding, what was the reason given? The proposal was late The proposal was incomplete The project idea was too narrow The proposal was poorly written The project did not match the funder’s mission The reviewer did not trust the ability of the organization to run what sounded like a good
Win or lose, send a thank-you letter to the funder. Then, send notes to your staff, board supporters, and others who helped you – especially to your team. Use those letters to enhance all your relationships, including with the funder. If you won, develop a timetable showing when the funds will arrive, the start date
In some cases, the funder will request a site visit. If so, there’s an 80% chance your program will be approved after a site visit. In our experience, the chances of approval are closer to 98%! So, first of all, relax. Then turn to your team to make sure everyone looks professional for the visit.
You’ve submitted your proposal. Now what? The average wait is six to eight weeks. Be patient and find something else important to do. Stay positive. If it’s a private sector proposal, it’s okay for the person who signed the cover letter to make one follow-up phone call about four weeks after submission. In the call,