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.
There’s no daily grind quite like that of nonprofit fundraising. While working at a nonprofit is intrinsically rewarding in countless ways, most industry veterans can recount horror stories of months (or even years) where their nonprofit was barely hanging on and that next grant or big donation meant the difference between keeping the lights on or closing down.
Successful grantseeking operations are as much about managing a wealth of information as they are about writing a stand-out proposal. From prospective funders to grant cycle deadlines, there’s plenty to track as you move grants through the pipeline.
As any good grant writer knows, our job involves far more than writing proposals. There’s program staff to interview, data to track, and plenty of deadlines to organize – smack dab in the middle of a busy nonprofit fundraising year.
Depending on the requirements of your funder, you’ll most likely have to file a detailed report about your financials, along with an evaluation of the funded program. Although grant reporting can be a valuable tool for growth, this crucial component of the funding cycle often causes sticking points for both nonprofits and funders.
Brad Smith is president of Foundation Center.
America's foundations are not particularly interested in receiving your proposal. Earlier this year I did a quick search on Foundation Directory Online (FDO) of the 96,042 independent, company-sponsored, and community foundations based in the U.S. The results were pretty shocking: only 26,663 are willing to accept unsolicited proposals. That's right, 28 percent.
For many nonprofit organizations, the grantseeking process is overwhelming. Every foundation asks for something a little different from their applicants – and after all the hard work, funding is never guaranteed. Maybe you find yourself wondering how you’re ever going to streamline (let alone master) the grantseeking process at your nonprofit. Don't worry. We've got five tips to get you started.