Strategies for Success

Foundations Are People, Too

No foundation wants its first grant to a nonprofit to be its last. Foundations – staff and board members – exist to provide funding that generates good returns on the investment. The foundation wants to support nonprofits to do good work now and again… and again.

Here are some tips to help ensure foundation grants continue to be well received:

Stay in touch, even when you’re not requesting money

If you reach out to a foundation program director only when you are asking for a grant, you are missing a host of opportunities to deepen the relationship. Look beyond the request. Put yourself and the organization in the foundation’s shoes. Assess the foundation’s needs and give the individuals responsible for making the decisions good reasons to appreciate your work and give. Stay aware of other grants they’re funding, and make sure your nonprofit continues to shine.

Build long-term relationships with foundation contacts

Treat your foundation relationships like major gift donors. Build trust with the decision makers through good stewardship of their grants. Most importantly, do what you said you would do. Treat these individuals as long-term partners in bettering the community.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Develop the discipline to communicate with your main foundation contacts monthly. Seek excuses to give them updates: new gifts, evolving strategies, campaign progress, new partnerships within the community, success stories of clients served, impact of services, etc.

Success in addressing the needs of the community is important for them just as it is for you and your organization. Foundations thrive when they make grants that make a difference. Be that kind of organization, and keep communicating that message in word and deed.

Louis Gehring, MM, CFRE
Louis Gehring, MM, CFRE

Executive Vice President

Houston, Tex.

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