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The Insider's Guide to Grantmaking: How Foundations Find, Fund, and Manage Effective Programs by Joel J. Orosz

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The Relational Nature of Policy Work

Much has been written about the revolution in electronic communications and its effect of “annihilating distance.” Supposedly email will shortly replace letters, and teleconferencing will make travel superfluous. This may be true in some contexts, but it is not the case in policy work. Tip O'Neill rightly remarked that “all politics is local,” and by the same token, all policy work is personal. It is necessary to form a relationship with a policymaker before one can realistically hope to garner his or her support. Such relationships must be built face-to-face; the policymaker will not return e-mails. In fact, on Capitol Hill, e-mails are the lowest-valued form of communication, on the theory that they are ...

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