Books: Making Relationships Last
JM: That is an interesting question. Just as background: We had decided that this book should be a compendium. To put it together we asked a select group of seasoned professionals on both sides of the grantmaking equation to contribute various chapters. Everyone who participated did so on a pro bono basis and, I might add, were more than happy to contribute because they felt this little-understood topic was so important. The interesting thing to note is what a high level of concurrence there is between advice provided by foundation executives to nonprofit grantseekers and advice from seasoned fundraising professionals to their colleagues. This advice is almost identical.
FS: Why is it important for grantees to develop a relationship with the funder?
JM: In fundraising, it's all about the relationship. It may sound trite, but people give to people. That is quite evident if you read the case studies. In each of those successful grant projects, a real rapport developed between funder and grantee, to the point where the grantee actually provided assistance to the funder in a variety of ways unrelated to the grant.
Novice grantees are often intimidated by their new funder and therefore fail to communicate appropriately. This is particularly the case when there is not-so-great news to relay. They tend to avoid the funder like the plague during those circumstances. And that is a big mistake, since program officers at foundations love to help you problem solve and very much view themselves in this role. It is truly embarrassing to them when news comes out about one of their grantees to which they were not privy in advance.
FS: The book mentions providing an accounting to funders. Why does the book state this needs to be done? (Isn't it required?)