Don’t Treat Grantmakers Like an ATM

Matt Hugg From Nonprofit Courses and Diane H. Leonard, GPC came together as fellow nonprofiteers to share some of their wisdom for those of us new to the nonprofit world as well as those who strive to keep learning. 


Funder Relationships:


In their conversation, Diane mentioned the importance of the relationship with grantmakers. A like mindedness is apparent in the way Diane and Matt speak about the relationships between the funder and nonprofits seeking places to help in their impact goal.


“Don’t treat a grantmaker like an ATM,” Diane instigates.


In his words, Matt explains that “It’s all about relationships, it’s all about connecting, and it all about looking at it from their point of view.” The nonprofit realm tends to lean towards dehumanizing funders in the best of ways; it is not always seeing them as a cash cow, but even so, seeing grantmakers as people can be a challenge. This is imperative to realize and to address for any successful grant seeking groups.


Tips for New Relationships:


Creating an initial relationship with grantmakers isn’t easy, in fact, it can be intimidating for those that haven’t done it often. Of course, having a certain amount of grant readiness is important. Having a bank of information for the initial conversation can show initiative and save both parties time. Remembering the value of people, another tip is to understand where you are connected.


If you’ve ever had to try talking sports when you or the other person don’t follow, it’s easy to picture a conversation between a grantmaker and a seeker where they don’t have or see their connections. As soon as a grant seeker finds the ways their companies intersect (i.e. mutual connections with people or goals), then the pair can form that connection and further the conversations on grants.


To watch the full conversation, you can go here.

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