Communication is the backbone of philanthropy. The philanthropy industry depends on trustworthy relationships in order to accomplish bigs asks and far-reaching goals that often involve community input, public support, and teamwork. It’s no secret that foundations often fund the same nonprofits and causes again and again – especially if you have years-long initiatives planned with an organization. It’s natural to turn to what’s familiar and foster already harmonious relationships.
So how do you get a potential funder to pay attention to your proposal? Communicate well.
Read below for four tips that will help your team communicate in a way that’s both appealing to potential grantmakers and helps you clearly define your cause and goals!
1. Consider Your Audience
Before you begin a fresh grant request email, click into a grantee portal, or pull up a Word Document – pause and think about the funder you’re addressing. Do your research, tailor your message, and look for clues on the foundation’s website. What does the web copy emphasize? Who is the staff working on the area you are trying to fund? Look for a team page where you can research your recipient (or check LinkedIn). A little research can go a long way when you’re looking to tailor your outreach to the voice, tone, and interests of a new organization.
Most importantly, if your mission does not align with that of your potential funder, save their time and yours and skip the outreach. Look for funders who are looking for an organization like yours to make your outreach count.
2. Craft a Clear and Direct Message
The purpose of your outreach, whether it be a phone call or proposal, should be immediately clear. Don’t bury your lead! If you’ve done your research you should have a clear idea of what to include in your outreach – so do that, and leave out the rest. Funders are often inundated with proposals and seemingly random outreach that often does not contain the necessary information they request. A clear and concise message will stand out amongst the crowd of confusing requests and missing information.
3. Show Value
Let’s say you’ve researched a funder and made sure that your first paragraph clearly states why you’re reaching out and what you hope to gain, now it’s time to show value. Information is your currency and by far the easiest way to impress a funder. Give them a quick impact update and offer them some information they would otherwise never know unless they worked with you. What can you tell them about the people, animals, or environments that you help? Consider sharing a little about your management or organizational processes. What have you put in place in order to ensure continued impact and growth? Tell a funder about your dynamic team and why they are equipped to do this important work.
Share your key learnings. What do you know about why your program deserves to be funded? Did you recently conduct a survey or complete some research that may be of interest to a funder? Don’t keep all that interesting empirical evidence to yourself!
4. Be Trustworthy
There are several ways to be trustworthy in your communications. First and foremost, the information you’re sharing with a funder should be true. Second, honor application deadlines. Turn in your documents on time, call a funder when you say you will, be prompt, and showcase how dependable your team can be. It sounds simple, but these small and consistent gestures of goodwill can make all the difference.
So do your research, write that standout proposal, develop those relationships, and grow your impact! And remember, getting the grant is only the first step. Fluxx Grantseeker is here to help you manage your grants through the entire funding lifecycle. Check out the tour to learn more.
Prepare your organization for the future by registering for Fluxx Grantseeker today – it’s free!