Beyond Schmoozing: How to Develop a Foundation Solicitation Plan
When seeking funding from private foundations the thing to keep in mind is that foundations are giving less to organizations and programs. They are funding projects. Why the shift in funding? Competition is rife, and foundations want to see a return on their investment. Projects can be set up to have clear and measurable goals. And foundations, like most funders, want to see good solid data on how effectively their money is being used. Understanding that foundations are seeking to fund specific project types is a great starting point for creating a solicitation strategy. And now it’s time to make your case.
Five Steps to Strengthen Your Organization’s Case
1. Create a client need analysis for the organization. This analysis will allow for the identification of particular issues that clients are facing by department or program. Once the needs are identified, development should work with the appropriate departments to identify quality projects that can help clients better meet their needs.
2. Once two or three projects are identified for each program, create a summary for each project. Include the basics such as the project name, and description, as well as more detailed information like clients served, the cost break down, and the outcomes you hope to achieve.
3. Set up meetings with the key foundations. The meetings should include you and the CEO or appropriate management personnel. The goal of these meetings is to review the projects with the foundations. Ask the foundation representative to identify the projects that most closely relate to the foundation’s annual priority. Also ask them for their view of your organizational strengths. Remember, you want their viewpoint. Don’t make recommendations or suggested changes to theirs.
4. Now that you’ve identified the priorities of the various foundations, and determined which of your projects are a good fit you can build your foundation solicitation schedule to meet the needs of your organization and its programs.
5. Work with program staff to fully develop the projects that are to be funded. Make sure they include measurable and achievable goals, benchmarks and objectives.
These five steps allow for the organization to develop a greater role as a partner in achieving the foundation’s goals. This collaborative relationship will develop confidence in you and the organization. Additionally, these five steps focus on identifying projects that are of importance to the organization. Ensuring that the foundation has a project to fund that’s closely aligned to their mission means that your organization is not simply chasing dollars. This kind of relationship will allow for the greatest long-term success with a foundation.
Take a tour of AmpliFund Full Cycle to learn how to manage every stage of the grant cycle, from pre-award planning and research to post-award performance and reporting.