After the Proposal Has Been Submitted


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Waiting for the foundation to respond denies the emphasis on creating and maintaining a dialogue with the potential funder. Once you’ve sent the proposal, allow about 2 weeks to pass, then call the corporation or foundation to do the following:


  • Confirm that the proposal was received.
  • Find out to whom on the funder’s staff, if you don’t already know, the proposal has been assigned (be sure to get the correct spelling and title for that person).
  • Ask to speak with that person, if possible.
  • Offer to send any additional information, if it is needed.
  • Establish yourself or whoever is appropriate (and specified in the proposal) as the contact person, giving the specific phone number and e-mail address of the individual.
  • Offer to meet (or to meet again) to review your request and the specifics in the proposal.
  • Invite the staff member to visit your chapter, if appropriate and if it has not already occurred.
  • Ask when the foundation or corporate decision-makers will next meet.
  • Ask for any other information you need about the potential funder. However, be sure you’ve done your prospect research. Foundations expect you to find out as much as you can about them from printed materials, the Web, and other resources mentioned previously.
  • Thank the individual for their consideration of your proposal.



Another way to build and maintain your relationship with a potential funder while your proposal is under consideration is to update your contact on your organization’s progress, particularly as it relates to the program or project for which you are seeking support.  Don’t overwhelm, but do let the funder know key points. Things to communicate while requests are pending:


  • Hiring of staff for the program or project.
  • Completion or preparation of other major components of the program or project, such as cost estimates, acquisition of new space for the program, or construction plans for a new building.
  • Receipt of approvals, certifications, awards or accreditations, especially where these are required for proceeding with a program or project.
  • Receipt of major recognition or achievements for your chapter and the AF as a whole.
  • Receipt of other grants for support of the program or project.
  • Other critical information that will help your case for support.



Take note:


  • You are ethically obligated to inform potential funders if you have other requests pending or if funds other funds have been received for the same project or program.
  • Informing potential funders of funds received will usually help strengthen your case and often helps generate other grants from additional sources. Funders like to be on a winning team.



If your request is turned down the relationship should NOT end:


  • Meet with the funder, if possible, or at least talk over the phone.
  • Ask these key questions:

    • Will they share with you the reasons why you were turned down? Was it that you did not meet the areas of interest and published guidelines of the foundation, or were there other reasons that can be discussed?
    • What was the staff member’s overall opinion of your approach to the foundation, including your proposal and related materials? How could the approach, proposal and materials be improved?
    • How soon can apply for support at some future time?
    • Does the staff member have any other recommendations about other possible sources of support for this particular program or project?
    • Are there other helpful suggestions or advice the individual can share?




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