If you have written more than one grant proposal, you have received the following response from a foundation: “The foundation receives a large number of requests for funding, and we regretfully have to decline many worthy grant requests.”
Instead of throwing out your next grant declination letter, try these best practices to establish a relationship before the next grant cycle:
Write a Thank You Letter
Write a letter to the foundation thanking them for reviewing the proposal and asking to meet to discuss how you can strengthen the proposal. Foundations rarely receive thank you letters for grant requests they have declined.
Place a Follow-Up Call
After a week, follow-up with a phone call requesting a 15 minute meeting or phone conversation.
Meet With The Funder
Ask for feedback on how to strengthen the proposed project, as well as how the proposal and program can be presented more competitively. Be gracious and open to feedback and really listen to the points made. Following the meeting, send a brief hand written thank you note.
Follow-Up in a Few Months
After three or four months, follow up with the foundation representative to let them know how their feedback impacted the program and the organization. These four simple steps will help you build relationships with funders that go beyond just asking for a grant once a year. In fact, they have the power to start an honest dialogue with your funders and prospective funders, while also increasing the possibility of future funding.