- About the GIFT Center
- For Faculty and Staff Private Grantseekers
About Charitable Grants
Getting Started with Grantseeking
Budgeting for Charitable Grant Proposals
Glossary of Terms
- Grantseeking Resources
- Grant Opportunities
- Grant and Fundraising Library
- Publications and Events
- Helpful Grantseeking Links
- Contact Us
Making Connections: Seeking a Grant
Sometimes getting started can be the hardest part of the successful pursuit of charitable grant support. The GIFT Center has tools available to help identify funders who may take an interest in your project, and we can advise you about the best ways to make an approach. We also maintain relationships with a number of grantmakers who have past or ongoing partnerships with the UA. Please see Getting Started with GIFT Center Grantseeking for an overview of the GIFT Center process and how to access our services. Also, bear in mind that it is critical to obtain clearance through your unit development office, business office, and the GIFT Center prior to submitting charitable grant requests and in particular to run your budget through your business office for approval. For information on how to submit a charitable grant proposal via the UA Foundation, download this guide.
Funders vary in how they wish to be approached; some prefer that grantseekers begin by picking up the phone to talk about an idea. In other cases, the preferred first approach is a formal proposal or less elaborate letter of inquiry. Know that in many cases, especially with local corporations and foundations, your request is part of a rich, long-term, and multi-faceted relationship already existing between the grantmaker and the UA. These multiple connections make clearing your approach in advance especially imperative, as others on campus may be impacted.
As diverse as grantmakers are in their processes, we can identify common factors that can help to make a strong connection between a grantseeker and prospective funder. Look for connectors:
- Shared mission and goals—a close fit between the grantmaker's mission and the goals of the proposed project.
- Planning—a well-thought-out project plan that can be described in clear terms showing high impact in the community or sphere about which the grantmaker cares.
- Geography—close geographic proximity often means shared interests and goals, and in the case of some funders, is a requirement for a proposal to be considered.
- Trust and Performance—a good reputation and/or positive past experience with the organization or people involved.
- Enlightened self-interest—in the case of many corporate grantmakers, philanthropy is aligned with business goals.
- People—sometimes the best resources for making connections are the people involved such as staff, volunteers, board members, and other friends of the organization who are also connected to a potential funder.
To take full advantage of these connectors, as a grantseeker, you should:
- Know Yourself. Understand and clearly articulate in writing your mission, goals, program plan, and the potential community impact of your work. Be able to articulate your case for support. (Download the project concept form as a tool for organizing your ideas and as a requirement for GIFT Center Services.)
- Know Your Potential Funders. Thoroughly research the mission, history, past grantmaking, guidelines, and grantmaking strategy of potential funders. Understand the institutional history with the funder, meaning not only the history, if any, with your own program but other partnerships across the University. Past grantmaking is a particularly important area to research, as it often indicates current interests. The GIFT Center can help you get to know potential funders and strategize the best first approach. See Getting Started with GIFT Center Grantseeking and Helpful Grantseeking Links.
- Uncover Connections. Ask those who are engaged with your work to self-identify connections to potential funders. The GIFT Center can help facilitate a search for connections. Director of the UA Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Dr. Soyeon Shim discussed the importance of building relationships and uncovering connections for University units at a talk given to the College of Medicine on September 23, 2008. You can access the video of her presentation by going here and choosing "Culture of Philanthropy." You can watch the video on MSN or iTunes by selecting the appropriate icon.
- Follow Guidelines. Honor the grantmaker's guidelines by reviewing them carefully, contacting the funder with any questions (if possible), and following instructions.
- Make a Strong Case. Build a top-notch proposal. See Proposal Writing and Budgeting for Private Grantseeking.
- Deliver if Funded. A key way to foster trust—one of the strongest connectors between grantmakers and grantees—is to deliver on what you outlined in your proposal and to communicate effectively before, during, and after the grant process is complete. See Strengthening Ties for suggestions and tools for improving stewardship of charitable grants.