Talking Points for Outreach to Grant Makers

If you joined me for my free webinar on CharityHowTo last week about Why It is Important to Build Relationships with Grant Makers (the recording is available here if you missed it!), you heard me talk through why relationships are important in grant seeking. I talk about relationships in grant seeking frequently as the key to relationship building that many grant seekers miss is not how to stay in touch *after* submitting, but how to get in touch and have a conversation with grant makers *before* even starting an application.
There are so may different ways that grant makers express their capacity and preference for having contact with a potential grantee *before* they submit an application. And YES, there are grant makers that will NOT allow communication prior to submitting an application.
So, without knowing all the details of the funder and their preference/capacity that you might be interested in, lets talk about what best practices and talking points for a grant maker can look like when you do find a grant maker that is willing or even encourages communication prior to submitting an application.
These talking points below work whether you are chatting with a Program Office for a foundation at a funder forum, in person at a special event, on the phone, or even over email. Before you dig in on writing the application that you send an email using the 3 key elements of the talking points outlined below.
3 Talking Points for Outreach to Grant Makers
1 – Introduce yourself/who you work for in one sentence.
2 – Share one or two sentences specifically addressing why *based* on your research of the grant maker’s work you think your organization is a strong fit for their priorities.
3 – Outline that you have a few questions (ask two or three) based on your research that would help you confirm your competitiveness of your application and also best respond to their priorities.
Connecting with a grant maker prior to starting your grant application using these three basic talking points as a frame work will help you focus your energy on those grant maker that are indeed a good fit, and then hopefully with the responses to your thoughtful questions, help improve the competitiveness of your proposal.
What other talking points have you use when reaching out to grant makers? What have you found works well? What hasn’t? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Share them in the comments section below, or email them to Diane directly at diane

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