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People First, Paper Second: How to Get Funded By Building Relationships

 In Blog

This blog post comes courtesy of Erin Dzida and Theresa Lu and is an excerpt from their book, “Total Domination: Millions from Grants”. Theresa Lu will be leading our Grantwriting certificate program on April 13th, 20th, 27th, 2016. Click here for more information.


The single most important thing in grant seeking, in my opinion, is relationship-building. Think people first, paper second! The grant writing process can seem really removed from relationships…so much time writing, alone at your computer, filling out forms, researching funders, etc. It can be easy to forget that at the end of the day, people give money to people. It can only help you if you build and nurture relationships with the people who may have a say in whether you get their funding or not.

So, let’s get started. First, do your homework! Scour the Internet for information about the funder. Make notes. Study them carefully. Make a case, in your mind, for why they may be interested in joining with your organization to achieve your mission. Make sure you are a match in that you are in the geographic area they fund, you provide a service that the funder is interested in funding, and they fund the type of program you are proposing.

Now, let’s get you ready to make a personal contact. Sending a proposal without first establishing a connection with the funder increases risk.

Making contact, continuing communication throughout the grant seeking process, and then maintaining an ongoing relationship is key. I really think this is what sets some organizations apart from the pack. Spend a little time making a script for yourself, briefly explaining who you are, what your organization does, why you are calling.  Take a deep breath, smile, and make the call!

Theresa Lu leads a certificate course on Grantwriting on April 13, 20, 27, 2016: Click here to register.

Click here for our full calendar of upcoming trainings.

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