As a follow-up to last week’s post in which we offered some general advice from “real world” funders on how nonprofits should operate, this week we’d like to share with you some red flags that funders see when it comes to requests. The following are a list of no-no’s when it comes to putting together a request for foundation funding. According to the funders at VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads’ Funders Forum last week, a nonprofit request receives an immediate red flag when:
- The board cannot demonstrate 100% participation in terms of giving.
- An unreasonable request is made (i.e. the grant request is more than nonprofit’s budget).
- The project budget numbers don’t add up.
- A request is made for seed funding to start a program but no long-term plan for sustainability is in place.
- A nonprofit hasn’t taken the time to build, or at least start to build, a relationship with the program officer before submitting an application for funding (i.e. the first time the foundation hears from a nonprofit is receipt of their application).
Foundations look at giving as an investment, therefore they want to meet and talk to you before you submit a request. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call them directly and, don’t forget to stay in touch after the grant is received. They want to hear how the money was used and learn about the impact that it made on your organization.