Nonprofit Grants: Building Meaningful Relationships with Donors
One of the most important components that nonprofit organizations need to be aware of when submitting a request for proposal is how to develop a professional relationship with potential donors. There are several essential steps that nonprofit directors should consider when soliciting a nonprofit, federal or government grant.
Step 1: Verifying Your Organization’s Eligibility
An area of extreme importance when submitting a request for proposal is to ensure that your nonprofit organization meets the eligibility requirements of the funder. Every foundation has specific requirements they are looking for nonprofits to meet when they are selecting their recipients. The specific characteristics of organizations that foundations may be considering include, but are not limited to, geographic location, the demographic that the organization serves, the specific programs that are being offered by the applicant, and what the funding would spent on.
It is imperative that nonprofit organizations do their research prior to submitting any custom writing to foundations. Not only will this save your directors from wasting their valuable time, it will prevent your organization from looking unprepared and ill-equipped when seeking funding opportunities.
Organizations may want to consider hiring a professional grant writer that has access to a foundation directory for their custom writing needs. These professional writers will have the options to research perspective donors by their geographic location, types of programs they support, and a variety of other filters.
Step 2: Approach the funder in the correct manner
It is essential that nonprofit organizations approach the funder in manner that the foundation has requested. Nothing will turn away a potential donor faster than the nonprofit’s failure to follow their instructions. Every funder will have their own preferred method of initial approach by an applicant and that may require submitting a letter of inquiry, filling out an application that the donor has created, or submitting the entire grant proposal from the start. Funders may also have specific preferences when it comes to receiving the submitted materials via the post office, email, or through their online system.
Another value of hiring a professional grant writer is that they will be able to inform you of the correct submission avenue.
Step 3: Following up with the donors after your custom writing was submitted
Another vital component of requests for proposals is building relationships with the funders! Within two weeks of your first approach to the foundation, the Executive Director of your organization should reach out to the funder with a brief phone call or email. This interaction will allow your Director to introduce themselves, ensure that the foundation received your application, and to inquire if your organization can provide any additional materials or information. Ideally, your Executive Director will have the opportunity to ask about the foundation’s timeframe when it comes to reviewing submitted applications and to inquire how often a nonprofit can apply for funding. This is also a great time to invite donors to visit your organization’s facility if they are in the local area!
If the funder is unable to support your organization during the current fiscal year, your Executive Director will want to follow up with the foundation again to request information about future submissions and any key areas that your organization should focus on in order to be successful in future request for proposals. The feedback given during this conversation may be the key to future success when taking on custom writing!