One of the most frustrating things we’ve encountered as grant writers is discovering that a foundation is not accepting unsolicited requests for funding after we’ve spent time researching their background, mission, and programs. It’s especially frustrating when that foundation appears to be a perfect fit with the organization we’re working with on grants.
There are a few different reasons this happens. Some foundations are set up only to benefit specific organizations. Others simply have an internal process for making grant awards or are too small to handle a ton of requests.
So what’s a grant writer to do?
If you can determine through your grant prospect research that a foundation might be open to giving to your organization, there are generally two options.
1. If you can get your hands on a list of the board of directors of that foundation, you can pass it along to your organization’s board. Maybe one of the members has a connection and maybe that will lead to an invitation to submit.
Most of the time, this won’t turn up anything useful, though, especially if your organization doesn’t have a well-connected board.
2. Your other option is to write a brief letter of introduction to the foundation, making them aware of your organization and asking for a future invitation to submit a proposal or an LOI. Briefly introduce your organization, its mission, programs and accomplishments. Ask for more details on their grant making process. Do not ask for money.
Grant writing is hard work. It takes persistence and sometimes years of cultivating prospects, but the payoffs can be huge if you do your homework and keep plugging away.