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Connections: How and Why You Need to Make Them

The Changing Funding Landscape

Funding for organizations has seen its ups and downs, but 2020 and 2021 really threw some curveballs. During the past 18 months, Covid-19 destroyed families and communities and at the same time, people began to have a more in-depth understanding of the realities of systemic injustice. These two co-morbid realities have changed the funding landscape for organizations. There is a noticeable shift in available funding resources over the last year and a half.  Covid-19 response, recovery and social justice funding have taken over a large share of funding for organizations. 

Changing systemic barriers from the inside out takes time and organizational capacity. Covid-19 surges and variants might mean continued funding for communities to respond to and rebuild the devastating health and socio-economic tragedies. These changes for very real needs mean that funding will be shifted from organizations that worked well prior to 2020 to new initiatives. A higher percentage of funding is expected to address more diverse and complex issues in society including the health of the nation.  

In our 23 years in the grant profession we have seen four Presidents come and go, The Great Recession and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We have crossed some pretty rough terrain. We have the experience and know-how to help you take the steps you need to ensure that your organization is grant-optimized. One step is to get to know your funder/potential funder(s).

 How do I approach a Funder?

According to a source at CalNonprofits only 24% of funders accept uninvited (unsolicited) proposals. Only 10% of Government contracts are available for an open bidding process. Additionally, many funding organizations are understaffed and if they have staff they are overworked and often do not have time to respond to your inquiries. Recently we sent a short description of an organization to a potential funder and they responded with their standard “We think your program is great, but we receive many more grant applications than we can possibly fund.” We did not ask for funding or submit a grant application. Many people are burned out after this past year and a half. Funders are people too. So how can we go about making meaningful connections with these funders?

5 Ways to Make Connections

  • Use your social media. 
  • Join networking groups. 
  • Ask potential funders if you can add them to your email list so that they receive consistent information about how you are meeting needs in the community.
  • Invite funders to your in-person or virtual events. 
  • Find out who knows who in your networks

Why Are Connections So Important?

Simply put, funding connections make a huge difference. People who know and understand your mission and have the ear of a decision-maker can be the sole reason your funding request receives a yes or no. Ask your connection to champion your request for the funding organization you are applying to. Cultivate meaningful relationships with funders. Don’t be like the friend that only texts when they need something. Building trusting relationships takes courage. Your investment of time can really pay off! 

More articles in the Becoming Grant-Optimized Series:

Connections: How and Why You Need to Make Them

The 10 Most Common Reasons Why Grants are Denied, and What You Can Do about it

The Changing Funding Landscape

How To Adjust Your Case Statement

Do We Have to Change Our Programming?

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