Grant writers, development directors, executive directors, program coordinators: they are all consumed by multiple tasks requiring varying time commitments and “drilling down.” Narrowing the prospect pool of foundations to solicit, identifying the appropriate funding match for specific needs and strategizing the approach are time-consuming processes. Perhaps the following exercise, inspired by Joel Orosz’s workshop at a Michigan Nonprofit Association's annual Grantmakers-Grantseekers conference, could save precious time:
- Diagnose the foundation’s availability
Is it Passive, Proactive, Prescriptive, or Peremptory?
Passive: Typically small family foundations that do not publicize their existence but review and fund unsolicited proposals
Proactive: Typically these foundations demonstrate strategic vision, review and fund unsolicited proposals, have web presence, and publish annual reports and grant brochures
Prescriptive: These foundations have interests in specific areas, invite applications through an RFP process, and while they entertain unsolicited proposals are less likely to fund such proposals
Peremptory: These foundations focus solely on their own strategic missions and programs, and they neither entertain nor typically acknowledge unsolicited proposals
- Screen prospective funders
Identify potential funders based on their giving histories, determine their funding priorities and focus on the prospects with the best fit
With virtually no time to spare, eliminating a foundation from the prospect pool based solely on its availability diagnosis or mismatched giving history could enhance grantseeking efficiency.