If they turn you down...Unfortunately, this happens to everyone. Don't get discouraged, and don’t let the relationship end there. Send them a brief note thanking them for their consideration. Ask them if they’d be willing to discuss their reasons for turning down your proposal, so you can learn from the experience. Always be polite, courteous, and friendly. Never get upset with a funder for turning you down.
If you receive an award...Celebrate! Then thank them for the award as soon as possible. This might be a phone call to the program officer, an official acknowledgement from the organization, or a note from the executive director. Read all the paperwork they send, and sign any required forms promptly.
Grant Reporting Basics
- First, check to see if they have specific reporting requirements. If so, follow them. Make sure you meet all deadlines. Every past funder is a potential funder as well—don’t sabotage a future relationship by failing to provide prompt reports.
- If they don’t have reporting requirements, send them a report at the end of the funding period anyways. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy—it can just be a letter thanking them again, and detailing what you achieved during the funding period. Report on your progress toward your goals and let them know if you met your objectives.
- Be transparent. If you failed to meet any objectives, tell them why and what you plan to do in the future to remedy that. As a nonprofit, it’s your responsibility to be honest. Real life happens, and funders can be understanding
To build the relationship, get to know the funder. Invite them for a site visit or to view you in action. If you’re putting on an event, send them an invitation! Give them an opportunity to be thanked in person, and to see firsthand the impact of their support. And after the funding period ends, look for opportunities for continued or future support.
This is the last in an eight-part series on grant writing from Aril Consulting.