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Let’s talk: Fundraiser feedback for funders

Thursday, September 3, 2015
Grantseeker Monthly
Grant Connect
Corporate Philanthropy
Three Blind Mice

When the Grant Connect team comes across an especially helpful grantmaker, we can’t help but get excited. After all, fundraisers and grantmakers are two sides of the same coin — both are tirelessly dedicated to changing the world for the better, albeit often through differing tools and approaches. A simple act like ensuring crystal clear funding criteria is a huge win for both parties — funders have a high proportion of excellent applicants, and charities better invest their time pursuing only the grants they are well suited for. 

That’s why we’ve been so interested to see the “dear funder” articles arriving in our inbox lately. One of our favourites from a few years back is, Clear writing at foundations: An issue we won’t give up, from the Knight Foundation blog. Well worth the read, they explore the challenges created by foundation jargon, which they playfully exemplify through their translation of “Three Blind Mice” as if it had been sung by foundations:

Three rodents with defective visual perception
Three rodents with defective visual perception
Visualize how they perambulate
Visualize how they perambulate
They all perambulated after the agricultural spouse
Who severed their appendages with a kitchen utensil
Have you ever visualized such a spectacle in your existence
As three rodents with defective visual perception?

This summer, Vu Le, the blogger behind Nonprofits with Balls, also stepped up to the mic. In Funders, thank you for doing these 12 awesome things, he celebrates great grantmaking practices such as when funders hold helpful information sessions, provide timelines for applicants, and give honest feedback. He followed up with, Funders, your grant application process may be perpetuating inequity, which offers a more sobering and critical discussion of ineffective funding practices.

On the other side of the globe, our friends at Philanthropy New Zealand put together a great article in their newsletter that highlights what grantseekers find most frustrating about the funding process (see page 14). They asked a group of nonprofit representatives for their thoughts and found that the group was surprisingly unanimous. Thoughts include, “making funding criteria clearer; making online application forms user friendly; simplifying the reporting process; providing more multi-year grants and funding for operating expenses; and providing feedback about why applications have been declined.” 

One day, applications will consist of a telepathic message from fundraiser to grantmaker. These will be simpler times. Until then, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter, Grantseeker Monthly and continue improving your grant proposals. Each issue contains helpful fundraising resources and practical posts like Demonstrating Transparency and Impact to Funders and How much should I ask for in a grant application.

Subscribe to Grant Connect to find partners and funding sources for your cause!


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