Feb checklist supplement

Grow Your Grants with Gratitude

Grants come as a result of growing relationships with funders not only before but after your organization wins the grant. By making the decision makers at a foundation feel appreciated for giving a grant, they may feel more likely to give again. Use this checklist to make sure you are taking every opportunity to appreciate your funders and grow your grants success.


Paper – Write a handwritten note to thank a funder after you receive a grant. Extra points for incorporating warm words from someone directly impacted by the funded program.


Phone Call – Let a funder hear how enthusiastic you are to receive a grant. Take a moment to call the funder and thank them for their support.


Picture – Consider mailing a photo of program participants or send an email with a photo attached. If a picture of program participants is not possible, try to show their funding in action another way.  


Personal interaction – Invite funders to join you at an event like a volunteer appreciation breakfast, a regularly scheduled program, or an on-site tour. Face-to-face interaction can help boost a funder’s understanding of your organization’s mission.


Publication – Be sure to acknowledge your funders for their support in donor recognition lists and in promotional materials. Include their logo, if appropriate, in printed publications. You can even include a shout-out in your newsletter to explain how a funder’s grant has made a difference.  


Partner – Foundations often want to be partners, and not just funders, to their grantees. Take the time to ask each funder what they seek in a partnership. Through a conversation you can better understand their expectations and tailor your approach accordingly.  


Present – Go the extra mile by sending your funder a thoughtful gift, especially something that ties back to the funded project, like a handmade item from program participants. If you already send donor appreciation gifts to major donors and volunteers, think about adding foundation contacts to the gift list.


Plan – Think ahead to plan meaningful points of contact over the course of the grant period. Mark a couple of dates on your calendar when you intend to send an informal program update or share a key project milestone. This way you aren’t only communicating with your funder when the next report or proposal is due.


Just like individual donors, the decision makers at foundations want to know their giving makes a difference. By taking these extra steps to show appreciation, you can deepen funders’ interest and their sense of connection to your organization.  


Jessica Robb