Let’s be honest…we have all likely asked the question early in our career as grant writers/grant professionals/grant developers, “Are grant maker relationships and partnerships *REALLY* that critical to our grant seeking success?” As new grant professionals we might often naively think that a well-written proposal will stand on its own two feet and soar above the other proposals, engaging the reviewer and securing the foundation grants that we are seeking for our organization.
Then we get a little more experience under our belt. What was once a question, now becomes an emphatic statement of best practice to anyone that will listen, “Grant maker relationships and partnerships are such a CRITICAL part of the work that I do to secure grant funding!”
Is that best practice statement implying that crafting a well-written proposal is not important when a relationship or partnership has been established with a foundation? Absolutely not! What the statement means is that a well-written proposal in combination with a relationship and/or partnership with a foundation is what will lead to the best grant seeking and grant management situation possible for your organization. The synergies created by achieving your goals as an organization while also working with the foundation to achieve their goals and mission is the magic that long-term funding relationships are made of.
A question that we often receive is, “What do you mean by relationship?” Are we talking about having a face to face meeting at your office or the foundation’s? Are we talking about an informal meeting at the local Starbucks? Or is a phone conversation or email dialogue the start of a relationship? The answer is that foundation relationships and partnerships are a wide spectrum depending on the foundation’s capacity for pre-award and post-award relationships as well as their preferences. Each relationship will likely, and should likely look and feel a little different based on those capacities and preferences. Just as we customize each proposal to each grant maker, we also need to customize each relationship to each grant maker.
Do you want to talk about grant maker relationships in more detail? We have a few great related professional development opportunities for you this week. We will be talking about relationships and partnerships with foundations this week in #grantchat as well in our Thursday Blueprints for Grants webinar on April 30th at 12pm (just $25 for the webinar handouts as well as both the live and recorded access to the session!). You can register for the session here:
Hope to see you at one or both! Not able to make either? Let us know your biggest question or concern about grant maker relationships and partnerships in the comments section of our website, via email, or via our social media networks.