3 Reasons to Build Relationships with Grant Makers

By Diane H. Leonard, GPC

What is all the talk about in grant seeking best practices about building relationships? Are relationships with grant makers really such an important part of the process?


As CharityHowTo colleague, and fellow GPC, Heather Stombaugh says, People Grant to People, Not to Proposals®. While not all grant makers have the capacity or preference to communicate with potential grantees prior to making a grant award, there are important reasons to keep in mind that relationship building is a key best practice in grant seeking.

Here are 3 reasons why you need to TRY to build relationships with grant makers before you start on your draft application:

1. Confirming Potential Alignment

You should confirm that the reasons you think you are a good fit with a potential grant maker resonates with the grant maker as well. The grant maker does not want you spending time crafting a proposal, that regardless of how well it is written, will not be a good fit for the funder.

2. Putting a Face to a Proposal

Before you submit a proposal as an unknown organization or name on a cover letter, reach out to personalize the process and let the grant maker know a bit about you before you work on an application for submission. Your conversation is the first impression for the proposal you plan to submit.

3. Clarifying Questions

Having the opportunity to connect with a grant maker, whether via phone or email, will give you the opportunity to ask questions about their process or priorities that may sway your specific request or language choice in a proposal to increase your competitiveness.

Are you convinced that building relationships with grant makers is something you should start to do? Great! Now it is time to read on, and learn about 6 Tips to Improve Your Relationships with Grant Makers or register for our upcoming FREE webinar: Why Build Relationships with Grantmakers?

And then you can learn more tactical tips via our on-demand recording to learn about how to Establish and Maintain Excellent Grant Maker Relationships.

About The Author

Diane H. Leonard, GPC, President of DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services, LLC is an experienced and highly respected grant professional who provides grant development counsel to nonprofit organizations of varying size and scope. Diane founded DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services, LLC in 2006 and has secured millions of dollars in competitive grant funds for clients from the federal, state and local governments, and private foundations.