As Valentine’s Day approaches, in addition to thinking about your personal relationships, take some time to think about your relationships with your current and potential grant makers for your organization. Here are my 6 tips to improve your grant funder relationships:
1 – Contact your potential funding source prior to applying (whether a new or existing relationship!). Follow their communication preference and capacity guidelines regarding communication. Bottom line, ALWAYS call or email to talk about if your proposal will be competitive if they will allow such a dialogue.
2 – Be sincere. Always. In all interactions. Enough said. Each interaction is building trust with the grant maker. Recognize and respect that.
4 – Express your gratitude. Saying thank you in the formal IRS letter is required. Go beyond the required thank you and look at how you can sincerely (see #2 above) share stories of success as a means of saying thank you to a grant maker for being your partner in a new program, project or idea. Look at the networks that you can use or the creative ways to express your gratitude (yes, social media might be an appopriate option, see #5 below).
5 – Utilize and promote your work and their work via social networks. When appropriate, promote both your grant funded work as well as your funder’s other work via the social networks where your grant seeking organization is active. In particular, focus on doing so on networks where both your grant seeking organization AND the funder are active. Both on Twitter? Excellent! Tweet about grant awards, grant project successes, and retweet information about research shared by the funder. Both on Facebook? Fabulous! Share success stories about funded programs with lots of photos, tag and thank the funder in the post about the successful project.
6 – Focus on creating impact. Yes, you are seeking their grant funds to help your organization achieve *your* goals. Your potential funder has goals too. They are providing you those funds in order to achieve *their* goals. How can your work create impact for the funder and achieve both your goals and their goals? Focus on that mutual point in all relationship building efforts.
Following these six tips as part of your grant seeking efforts and larger grant maker relationship building efforts will definitely help increase your grant revenue…but don’t forget…“We love our funders, but funders are human too!”
Do you have any other tips or suggestions on how grant seeking organizations can improve their grant funder relationships? Please share them with us in the comment section below.