7 Tips to Research National Foundations

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Weaving through what seems to be mysterious threads of geographic funding, there is always a history and a story behind the funding trail. One key to receiving funding from a national funder is to learn the story of its interests and build a relationship with it. Below are some ways to learn about a potential funder.

7 Tips to Research National Foundations

  1. Find 5-6 national funders that are a good match to approach
  2. Follow social media or sign-up for email notifications from the foundation
  3. Find their issues or theories of change and follow all information on the topics
  4. Ask your staff and board review the funder’s staff and board list for existing relationships
  5. Find a way to meet the funder in-person (fundraising, state-wide foundation, or nonprofit events)
  6. Know your organization’s elevator speech
  7. Patience, persistence and precision (make a correct match and give time for the right opportunity)

If you find a national funder that funds in your state, having a plan can help you win grant awards:

  • Kindly and efficiently get to know the fund’s busy Program Officer;
  • Be a subject matter expert in your field: speak and publish about it often;
  • Create a fundable organization: know your niche, methods, and successes;
  • Create a project model that can be elevated from local to national;
  • Breakdown everything in your NPO to a project and its budget;
  • Realize that a national funder won’t know your local story; and
  • Know that national funders receive four times the applications as a regional funder.

Always have national funders in your organization’s prospect sights. It may take longer to build a relationship or receive a grant, but working toward this goal while building capacity with local and regional funders, and your persistence will be rewarded.

Do you have other tips for how you research and approach national foundations? We’d love to hear! Share your tips in the comments section below or with us via email at info@ dhleonardconsulting.com

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