Tips for Working with Grant-Making Foundations

  • They don’t want to support salaries of employees or operations; they want to give money for programming. Their true goal is to help with the programming – the part of a non-profit that is making a difference in the people it serves. One way to accomplish both is to prove how a person is so connected to a specific program that there is a symbiotic and synergistic relationship.
  • They give money to organizations that are working and collaborating with other orgs to accomplish the purpose. Grant-makers don’t like to have multiple non-profits all trying to do the same thing but who won’t work with each other. They feel that is not a wise use of resources.
  • They like organizations that have broad support from donors, not a narrow group. Mkae sure that you are tapping the widest possible group of potential contributors.
  • They are made up of people, of very caring people who want to do the most good with the resources they have. They all have restraints but I can tell you from personal experience all grant-makers want to give away far more than they are permitted to give.
  • Appeal to the generosity and humanity of the grant-makers. Get to know them as people and make sure they know you, not just your mission. Don’t be just a report they read, be a person and a face they relate to.
  • Ask them who else you can talk to. Not only do grant-makers know the local non-profits, they are usually well acquainted with many high-capacity donors. These donors may have additional financial resources they’d like to give away but do not know of a worthy opportunity. The grant-makers know the passions of these high-net-worth individuals and they might be willing to serve as a conduit for you to access these generous people.

Lead On!