PMA Consulting, LLC

7 Keys to Romancing Foundations

Romancing a FoundationPatton McDowell & Associates recently attended the AFP Charlotte Breakfast Meeting, “How to Romance a Foundation.” We heard some great presentations from three foundations represented on the panel: The Leon Levine Foundation, Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation and BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina Foundation.

As we continue our February focus on Foundations, below are seven keys to “romancing” a foundation that we took away from the meeting.

  1. Respect the process – foundations generally explain how they like to be approached.
  2. Don’t circumvent the rules and try to appeal directly to family and board members.
  3. Do your homework – you should be able to tell whether your organization is a “mission fit” with the foundation’s funding interest.
  4. Look for collaboration between your organization and others – foundations are interested in creative solutions.
  5. Look for collaboration among funders – a foundation may be more attracted to your organization given other funder support.
  6. Demonstrate a plan – great ideas are a start, but foundations need to see some detail too.
  7. Demonstrate strength in three areas – staff/board, evidence of measured success, and financial sustainability.

Photo Courtesy of: Luigi Diamanti