Are you ready for foundation fundraising?
If you’ve never solicited family foundations before, it can seem like a daunting task. Where to begin? Who to approach? For which project? How should the proposal be presented? When is the right time? These are some of the questions we face as we embark upon foundation fundraising. The truth of the matter is that it isn’t as difficult as you think, provided that you are organized, strategic and most importantly, you have done your research.
Raising money from foundations is all about marketing, i.e. clearly positioning what your charity does and targeting the right group of funders. So before you plan to solicit funds from foundations, you should already know:
• What is your charity’s identity
• What is its niche
• What is unique about the programs and services it provides
• What are its needs in terms of financial support and for which programs and services
In essence, you need to have a clearly defined case for support. Your case for support will be the key document that will make grant writing easier and help keep you focused on your organization’s needs. If you don’t already have a case for support, take the time to write one and you’ll be amazed at how much easier the next steps will seem.
Once you have a clear understanding of what makes your charity unique, you can then draw up a list of foundations likely to support your charity’s unique programs and services. Be selective and make sure you allocate enough time for prospect research because matching your programs with the philanthropic interests of a foundation is not always easy. The next article in this series will be about prospect research and will give you some pointers on how to determine whether a foundation is a good match for your charity’s needs.
Ligia Peña, M.Sc., CFRE, President of Diversa Consultants, has more than 10 years of experience in fundraising and communications and has collaborated with a variety of charitable and non-profit organizations ranging from the community to international development groups. Ligia’s company, Diversa, specializes in helping small and mid-sized charities with their fundraising and communications.
(Cross-posted at Diversa.ca)