Over 20+ years of fundraising, I have been asked to write grant applications and funding proposals for operating grants, projects, corporate sponsorships, naming rights for buildings– sometimes as a ‘one off’ or as part of a capital campaign or a major gifts approach.
Unfortunately, I was often put in the position of having to prepare for donor meetings or write proposals in the absence of crucial information. So, over the years, as my confidence grew, I developed a questionnaire for those requesting the funding (here it is:Fundraising Project Checklist).
I admit that asking for this level of detail didn’t always make me popular, but, it shortened time spent completing grant applications and proposals or preparing for donor meetings – and more importantly, made me more successful in raising funds.
It also provided wonderful fundraising project summaries for board members, other fundraising volunteers and staff in a consistent and timely fashion.
Yes, it does require an injection of time and energy ‘up front’ and could be seen as a ‘tortoise vs. hare’ approach, but I have found it to be a very worthwhile investment. And, having access to this information means a quick turnaround in delivering information to prospects who show interest during initial, exploratory discussions (so valuable from a donor relations perspective).
And, to help all fundraisers be successful by creating a supportive workplace environment, I’ve also created a companion piece: A Fundraiser Bill of Rights.