Successful grant seeking relies on research, connecting and learning

 In Fundraising, Philanthropy

Writing grant proposals is only one step in the process of building successful grant funding partnerships with foundations.

To illuminate the path, today The Chronicle of Philanthropy posted a video for grant seekers on The Giveaway blog titled, “Common Mistakes Made by Grant Applicants.” Follow this blog for news and analysis on how people and foundations are donating their money.

The video features short clips of interviews with grant makers and consultants who attended the April 2011 Council on Foundations Annual Conference in Philadelphia. They highlighted common mistakes and offered tips:

Grant maker tips to avoid common mistakes

  • Do no over promise, exaggerate or propose unrealistic ideas.
  • When foundations encourage it, take advantage of calling to find out what they are really interested in.
  • Do not miss strong opportunities (e.g., if a grant maker selects your nonprofit as a potentially good parnter, don’t fail to follow up!)

Read the post’s comments for additional tips offered by other readers. Some include:

  • Avoid careless typos such as the misspelling of a foundation’s name or company name.
  • Do your homework: Research the proper way to apply and the appropriate contact name and title.
  • Find out what an appropriate ask amount would be for a particular foundation. Do your research and make contact with the foundation.

Over the years, I have attended many presentations and panels organized to give grant seekers a chance to hear directly from the representatives of foundations and institutional funders. Oftentimes, I hear that they receive a large number of applications that have no alignment with their interests. Worse, sometimes letters are addressed to the wrong foundation.

The bottom line is that successful grant seeking relies on research, connecting and learning. It is not a numbers game.

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