One of the best ways to improve your chance at securing grant dollars is by getting to know staff at the foundation or any other type of grantmaker from which you are seeking funding.However, we know there are many barriers that exist for getting in the door and speaking with those who believe to be deciding on our financial fate. We offer these suggestions to make a connection:
After identifying the grants that seem most relevant to your organization, the next step, and sometimes the most arduous one, is finding contact information. Here are a few ways to find contact information for the foundations/grantmakers:
- The Private Giving databases mentioned here
- The funder’s website
- Their 990 Form (Can be found via GuideStar or Foundation Directory Online)
Generally speaking, it will be fairly obvious whether and how a grantmaker wants you to connect with them. If they would like to hear from you, they will provide the form of contact that is best for them, whether that is through email, phone or letter.
In our fast-paced world, a letter may seem like the least convenient way to begin conversations on something that is so important. So, other questions to consider include:
- Who is on their board?
- Do I know anyone working for this grantmaker, and could they connect me with someone who I could speak with regarding our project?
If an email is provided, make sure to write a concise, well-edited project description, and ask to set up a 10 minute meeting to speak about your grant project. Again, the more a funder knows you, the better chance you will have at being awarded those dollars.