4 Grant writing tips to bolster relationships with foundations

Grant writing is a time-consuming process. It can also be nerve-wracking if you’re inexperienced or working on a particularly important grant.

Here are four tips about grant writing and building relationships with grant-makers.?

  1. Don’t get trapped

The grant maker has the money  … and you don’t … so there is a perceived power imbalance This could be the reason many grant writers get trapped into staying within the strict confines of the grant application guidelines. Have the courage to step outside the boundaries of the application, and tell the foundation not what they think they need to know, but rather what you think they need to know can make the difference in an application.

  1. The “value” of money

Let’s face it, the reason not-for-profits turn to foundations and grants is a need for money. Some might think that the amount of money being asked for is a major part of the grant application process, but not necessarily. In many ways, the specific dollar amount may be the least valuable part of the whole grant.

There is also a misconception that once the money is received, the grantee has succeeded and the process is over. Instead, that grantee has now gained a supporter and another “person” in their corner. In that sense, the relationship between foundation and not-for-profit is very similar to the relationship that is strived for between not-for-profit and individual donors.

  1. Look for transparency

There is a great deal of emphasis on the need for not-for-profits to be transparent … and that’s a good thing!

However, there are certain things that not-for-profits have a right to know. The foundation’s strategy, priorities and goals of the foundation, as well as the process and criteria for reviewing grants. Knowing these things can help the grant writer know how their grant is being reviewed, and what they should emphasise in the application.

  1. Customer service is key

When you win a grant make sure the money is spent wisely, that you measure impact and hen keep the grant-maker advised of how their ‘investment’ has made a difference. Doing this will build trust and give you a better chance of success when you next make an application.