Don’t underestimate the importance of a foundation representative coming to tour your office or project or to discuss your request—be prepared. Know that this is where your grant dollars will be tested. You may not be aware of it but during the visit you are being judged as to whether you will receive your full request, a lesser amount, or be denied all together. If you take the time to plan for a successful visit all the way from beginning to end, it won’t go unnoticed.
Prepare Staff & Board Members
It is important that everyone is knowledgeable and informed about the project to avoid possible discrepancies in responding to questions that are generated during the course of the visit. Consistency in answers and knowledge of the project are the positive impressions you want communicated.
Welcome with Open Arms
Little touches like having a welcome sign with the foundation’s name on it or reserving a parking space for them will make for a great first impression. Have a good representative of your organization as part of the welcoming group, and also make sure all volunteers, receptionist, staff, and board members are aware of who is coming and why.
Offer A Round Table Discussion
After the tour or site visit, sit down for a round table discussion with everyone present. This will give the grantor time to ask additional questions and get to know your organization more personally. Especially for an important financial request, always include a board member, the president, executive director, and any project specialist in the meeting.
Follow Up Immediately
A follow up letter should be promptly sent to the potential grantor. Provide any information that was committed to be sent and thank them for their interest and effort to visit your organization. If there is a delay on your side to retrieve specific information they requested, then start with a thank you letter and follow up with the additional information at a later date. If no attempt to follow up is made you will give the impression that the project is not a priority within the organization, resulting in the grantor postponing their decision.