Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Understanding donor objectives

Followers of this blog know that I am all about matching the most closely aligned mission objectives when researching possible grant or donor profiles.

How can you do that if the grantor or donor profiles aren't specific?

Anyone who has ever used resources such as the Foundation Center database is familiar with the categories or fields of interest filters. Youth, education, human services etc. are a good place to start. but they are overly broad.

To drill down to specifics, try these things:

·         Go to the grantor's website, and look beyond the obvious.  Who are they supporting, and just as important, who is supporting them? Research those people or entities too.
·         Don't overlook the obvious. Check out their grant application requirements and note the exclusions.
·         Do a general search for mentions of the prospect on the 'net.
·         Research the board members. Their particular interests and passions may drive the grantor agency's policies.
·         The same holds true for the grantor's largest partners or donors.
·         When possible, connect with them before you ask for money. Go to an event they sponsor, or attend functions where board members are likely to be present and listen to them speak about their interests.
·         If you get the chance for one-on-one contact, even just a brief introduction, be prepared.  Perfect your 30-second elevator speech and have business cards available.

Yes, all of this is time-consuming. In fact, grantor research is the single most often-requested service I offer.

Still, why would you spend two hours each writing ten grant proposals that have no chance of being funded, when the same time could be spent on one or two qualified prospects that you may have an 80% or greater chance of landing?

Work smarter, not harder!

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