Rules of thumb when approaching grantmakers for funds

Wednesday, 28 August, 2002 - 23:00

From the Southern Africa Institute of Fundraising: Education & Training
(SAIF: E&T)
"The heart of effective fundraising is capturing people's attention, discovering
their interests and persua

From the Southern Africa Institute of Fundraising: Education & Training
(SAIF: E&T)

"The heart of effective fundraising is capturing people's attention, discovering
their interests and persuading them to give over and over again. People give
to people - they don't give to organisations with an administrative shortfall.
They will not fund debt. Giving brings out the best in all of us, fundraising
helps to stimulate this". David Cuthbert

(David Cuthbert is often referred to as "mr Fundraising" in Southern
Africa. He has decades of experience in the field and was a co-founder of SAIF)

SOME DO'S AND DON'T'S

DON'T use the so-called "spray and pray" method, that is,
send funding applications to every grantmaker you come across, in a directory
or elsewhere. Grantmakers do exchange information and are not impressed when
they learn that the same project has been "mass mailed". Also, receiving
endless and completely irrelevant applications is a source of great irritation
to grantmakers. So remember, if you are guilty of using the "spray and
pray" method or bombarding donors' mail boxes with projects unaligned to
their criteria, then you are not only minimising your own chances for funding,
but making life difficult for other organisations seeking funding from, or interacting
in other ways - as Thusanang does - with grantmakers.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK - find out which grantmakers support the kind of projects
you are seeking funding for, whether they have application forms or guidelines,
deadlines etc. It is important to remember: Linkage, Interest and Ability.



DO TAILORMAKE your application specifically to each grantmaker. Make
sure that you follow their guidelines and try to be as clear and concise as
you can. Remember that very few grantmakers have the time or capacity to go
through long-winded proposals (maximum 5 pages including the budget). Again,
in these cases, the likelihood is that your proposal will end up in the bin.

DO DISTINGUISH between local and overseas-based grantmakers. Usually
locally based grantmakers do not want or need the same levels of contextual
information as overseas grantmakers. Local grantmakers have local knowledge
so try and get to your point faster, don't bog them down with information on
things they already know. Make sure you have a succinct "problem statement"
stating the societal need, and some quantified statistics relating to the geographical
area, in which the project is to be carried out.

DO RESPECT that some grantmakers do NOT accept unsolicited applications.
They will typically put out invitations or advertise that they are ready to
receive applications, when they have funds available. Unsolicited applications
in these circumstances will go nowhere, and again make life more difficult for
the rest of us!

DO REMEMBER that grantmakers want to make an impact with their investment.
So make sure you state your case: why should they support YOUR project, why
it unique and what will be its impact, i.e. what difference is it going to make.

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