Tips from Grant Funders

Susan Sygall publicly thanking two individuals
If you work for a Disabled People's Organizations (DPO) in the US or abroad and looking for funding, listen up!

Several international NGO professionals share their top tips for building relationships with grant funders.

Before writing the grant

  1. Do your homework on the context: What is going on in the community? What can your organization offer that uniquely solves a problem?
  2. Do your homework on the funder: First and foremost, make sure you are going to the right funder. Understand how to work in their framework. Think of how you can improve on existing programs.
  3. Network with funders: Find out who works in your region or city and invite them to your events.
  4. Collaborate with other DPOs to build strong partnerships for grant proposals.
  5. Be a positive resource to the donor and international development community.

Writing the grant

  1. Consider a project proposal as a reflection of your organization: The proposal should reflect your mission.
  2. Have a clear goal and priorities.
  3. Have a clear plan with outcomes: Have about three strategies with specific outcomes for achieving the goal.
  4. Have a clear, practical and coherent timeline.
  5. Be realistic: Be clear about what you can and cannot do.

During the project

  1. Credit your donor: Thank your donor at events and add their logo to signs and on project materials (follow the donor's guidelines)
  2. Invite the funder to project activities and recognize and thank your donor at these activities.
  3. Share updates regularly about your project: Your funder wants to know how you are doing.
  4. Have clear monitoring and evaluation plans.
  5. Be transparent about your problems with implementing your projects.

After the grant

  1. Share the results: Tell stories that show the impact of your project.
  2. In reports to funders, be clear about how the funds were used.
  3. Reflect on lessons learned.  Donors want feedback on how their support can be most effective, and they rely on your feedback to do make improvements.
  4. Think long term: Focus on building networks over the long term and continue to build on these relationships after the grant has ended.