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Prospect Research Methods of how to conduct research to identify possible funders • Free online resources such as grant alerts from a city of state office that compiles open grant opportunities • Paid online sub services such as Foundation Directory Online • Researching the funders of peer organizations, which may be available in their annual reports, 990's, or GuideStar • Professional prospect research who can provide detailed profiles of potential funders • Free community-based research centers and libraries, including The Foundation Center • Other helpful places include The Chronical of Philanthropy, Inside Philanthropy, and others <then> • Do as much research about funders interests, grantmaking process, board and staff members, and other details • Speak with other grantees about their experience in developing a relationship with the funder • Look if members already have an existing relationship w potential funder • Develop a tool to track prospects Developing the Relationship • Strategic communications w funder should continue before, during, and after the funding relationship has ended Few ways to approach funders • Send funder brief email inquiry, unless foundation website discourages or prohibits email outreach • Call foundation & request to speak with some1 regarding proposal idea, unless directed otherwise • Send brief letter of inquiry (LOI) to the funder. Follow funders guidelines for LOI's (less than 2 pgs) • Invite funders to your organization for event that demonstrates orgs programs and effectiveness • Having some1 who may have a connection to the funder opens doors on behalf of organization for initial meeting or phone conversation Be careful about these relationships as it can make funders feel obligated to these meetings Think "soft touch" rather than "heavy hand" Sending Email Inquiries to Funders• Valuable for stimulating more meaningful contact bc it provides opp for brief introduction of staff members, org represented, and program needed funding. • Gives program officers the time to review info and potentially respond • KEEP IT BRIEF Contacting a funder by Telephone • Preparation is essential • Provide highlights of org's programs w/in 10-15 min convo • Includes time it takes for person to ask questions for clarification • Trying to make a connection, not sell program proposal • Can help discover if funders priorities and org's program are a match • Be prepared with info on identifies=d unmet needs that may fit into funders interest areas • Make sure to reiterate any follow-up steps resulting from call and send quick thank you email for persons time Funder Meeting • Face-to-face meeting with funders is rare bc they do not want to provide false hopes but also want orgs to submit their proposals • If in case of meeting, should discuss • Credibility of the organization • Need for the propose project • Program description • Community interest in the program • Proposed outcomes • Ability to measure success • Costs and projected revenue sources • Why funders interests may be met with in the program • Times is short thus be prepared to hit highlights • Listen to funders questions and concerns carefully • Should be addressed in the proposal Additional steps: • Add program officer tot the orgs mailing list or listserv • Personally froward orgs newsletter and add a personal note • Send brief progress report of the success of the orgs work • Invite the program officer to org events with personal notes • Contact the program officer occasionally by telephone or email with brief message and updates Writing a Letter of Inquiry• Should be treated as a vital step in relationship building • Check if funder have a guideline for LOI • If not follow these steps: • Orgs mission, history, accomplishments, related to program • The need the org or program meets and who its serves • General details of how org will conduct project • How the project or org aligns with funders priorities • Organizational project budget and funding needed • Basic attachments may be required o Orgs budget and IRS determination letter Most funders have online portals through which you can submit LOI but may also accept email Pay attention to: ▪ LOI deadlines ▪ LOI format ▪ LOI requirement attachments Public Funders • Building relationships with public funders requires gov entities to remain impartial towards grant seekers and ensure everyone gets the same information • Opportunities to engage with them include • Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) • Request for Application (RFA) • Prebid Conference or Webinar • General Information Sessions • Many savvy gov grant seekers develop visibility of their org long before a funding application is made • These gov grant seekers are active members of the community and have allies for their work across

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UNT PADM 4220 - Prospect Research

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