Receiving foundation grants can be an exercise in futility, especially if your nonprofit is new and/or not well connected. But your board of directors can be an invaluable tool for making connections that lead to grants from foundations.
When you’re doing prospect research on possible foundation grants, be sure to download the board of directors lists from the entries in the Foundation Directory Online. Send these names out to your own board of directors via email, asking them if they know anyone. If you’ve built a strong, well-connected board that is involved in the community, they may recognize a few names. From there, see if they’d be willing to make an introduction. Even a casual, coffee shop chat can help open doors.
By building a stronger connection to local foundations over time, you’ll slowly increase your success rate when it comes to foundation grants. Unlike government grants, relationships are an important factor in successful foundation grants. It’s not the end-all, be-all, but it helps get your foot in the door. Coupled with a strong grant application, you may just see some return.
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