Here are some words of wisdom I heard from seasoned Foundation executives at the Virginia G Piper Charitable Trust in Phoenix today:
- Make sure that your project “fits” with the Foundation’s funding priorities.
- Before you sweat it out, see if the project has Impact, Effectiveness, Feasibility and Sustainability (IEFS). If not, don’t waste your time applying for funding.
- Ask. Before submitting an LoI, Foundation officials want to listen to your ideas. This will save time in case the project doesn’t meet funding priorities.
- If your board is NOT giving cash gifts, it’s a bad sign. Foundations want boards to commit to monetary contributions, not in-kind gifts like airline miles!
- Ensure that all your financial documents are in order. Your fiscal discipline is critical.
- Collaborations get a better bang for the buck for Foundation’s that invest in your cause. Look for good partners so that together you can have a better impact in the community.
- Foundations invest in you just as they invest in stocks.Your portfolio must yield a good return in investment.
- As much as you need Foundations to give money to support your causes, they also need non-profits to invest their resources. It’s a two-way street.
- Responsive funding is in vogue. Foundations want to respond to community needs and are narrowing down their areas of interest based on core community needs.