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Nonprofit Fundraising 101 by Darian Rodriguez Heyman

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Chapter 19 Research, Getting in the Door, and Securing an Invitation to Apply

“If we knew what it was we were doing, it wouldn’t be called ‘research,’ would it?”

—Albert Einstein

Introduction

Foundations gave out over $55 billion to U.S. nonprofits in 2013, according to Foundation Center, and global giving is steadily increasing over time. When done right, foundation fundraising can deliver much-needed funding, support, and credibility to your cause, but the key to success is working smarter, not harder. Identifying the right prospects, securing a call or meeting to explore points of intersection, and making the most of those opportunities may not be intuitive or easy, but with a few key pointers and best practices that we’ll share in this chapter, you can turn your success rate from 5 percent to 50 percent. And even better, you can do it in less time than you’ve been spending trying to secure grants.

Foundation Center tracks over 140,000 grantmakers globally, and if you don’t take the time to figure out which funders are a fit for your organization and programs, you will waste precious resources pursuing grants that you’ll never receive. You’ll also leave the impression that you didn’t do your homework, which might give you a bad reputation in the foundation community. Understanding how funders work and how to meet their standards and requirements will ensure you don’t waste time pursuing dead ends. Directed research can also uncover personal connections your team has to ...

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