Grant Writing Is Not Just That

By Stephanie  |  February 9, 2012  |  Nonprofit Development

Nonprofits are finding it very difficult to score grants lately.  Capturing the interest of grant givers at times feels like mission impossible.  Tighter foundation budgets make for fierce competition.

Now more than ever, nonprofits have to approach grant writing as one step in a larger relationship building effort.  Here are some suggestions on how to make your organization’s grant writing efforts more successful:

  • Approach grant writing as you do any fundraising strategy – first explore connections and existing relationships.  Talk to Board members, volunteers, and engaged donors.  Let them know about your funding needs.  Ask them if they have any connections to family foundations, corporate giving programs, or other grant making entities.  A request for support from a trusted friend or colleague is the easiest “yes” for any grant maker.
  • Reach out to local companies that may enjoy a relationship with your organization.  Companies that don’t have large foundations dedicated to grant making may consider joint events or sales where proceeds go to your organization.  Such joint ventures are beneficial to all involved – they make the local company look like an active community member, increase your organization’s visibility in the community, and raise new monies.
  • When crafting a grant proposal to a new or existing corporate donor, offer to get their employees involved.  This has always been popular with companies – and employee volunteerism isn’t going away.  In fact, younger generations expect such activities from the companies they work for now more than ever.  For companies, it enriches the experience of employees working there and strengthens team spirit.  For you, it builds new, possibly long-term, relationships with companies that in the long run, could cut big checks.

Simply put, grant writing should be thought of as another part of the relationship management critical to effective fundraising.  It is one small tiny element of the larger “means to an end.”  A strong proposal – and case – for why you need support is critical.  But so is the relationship behind the check.

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