Funder Receptivity to Inquiries

Question: In reality, how receptive are the funder contacts to the questions and pre-proposal submissions you have mentioned in the lessons?

Answer: Funder contacts have varying degrees of receptivity to inquiries, of course. For example, one corporate contact locally is very receptive and actually prefers to meet in person to discuss your nonprofit needs. Other corporate and foundation contacts — especially large ones — are harder to reach. My experience is that all have answered my questions if I meet with them in person, some by the phone.

Government agency contacts often provide Technical Assistance workshops and will often meet with you during the time before and during the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. I’ve found all receptive to email and phone inquiries as well.

Although you have quite a few questions in Secret 21 (Pre-Proposal Contact) to guide you, you don’t have to ask all of them. In fact, I prefer to spend time up front verifying funder priorities and getting to know them and their goals a little before I ask any questions. Also, I like to have 2-3 proposal ideas on hand to run by the funder. Sometimes, it’s the 2nd or 3rd idea that interests them the most. I can’t remember any funders I haven’t been able to reach ultimately or who wouldn’t answer questions.

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