Donor Giving Trends for Today and Tomorrow, Part 3
“Relationships between your board and their staff is vital,” Slocum said. “Find a connection. Open doors to new funding. Smart nonprofits are working their networks.”
Developing and sustaining good relationships with institutional funders provide those avenues to new funding and help maintain current support. Ask your board and staff who knows whom at what institutions and how those relationships can be leveraged to gain a competitive advantage, Slocum said.
Beyond relationships, foundations are focusing on results more nowadays than ever before. Funders are looking for measurable outputs that demonstrate success. Funding decisions rely more and more on assessing the value of an organization’s programs, and foundations need to see evidence that what you do works. Find sensible ways to prove your doing good work, demonstrating the effectiveness and efficiency your organization has in carrying out its mission, Slocum advised.
Foundations are taking a more hands-on approach and demanding more transparency from the organizations they’re looking to fund, just like individual donors. Approach them accordingly.
Slocum offered these suggestions to position your organization for institutional-giving success:
- Ask yourself: Are you a top-performing nonprofit? Your case for giving must be strong.
- Keep your ear to the ground. Pay attention to external factors and trends. Stay on top of hot-button topics. And be an early responder.
- Partner up for broader impact, particularly if you are a small nonprofit. “Successful collaborations are most likely to make large-scale change,” Slocum said.
- Stay in touch with your funders, and don’t just ask them for money. Again, this comes back to building relationships, just as you would with an individual donor. The donor/funder-as-ATM model simply doesn’t work today. Give quick updates on your successes. Ask for guidance on new ides and programs. At the end of a grant cycle, see if your program officer can recommend other funders that may be interested in your work. Make the funder feel a part of your organization, your mission and your decision-making.