Sometimes it makes a lot of sense to fund the new exciting idea that someone has. Other times it is valuable to take a step back and think about what your long-term plan is going to be. Many funders like to know that they are funding a project that is part of a larger picture. Other funders want the recognition that can come with funding your organization. It is important to know what kind of funder you are working with so you can plan accordingly.
When doing a grant or foundation proposal you will get much further if you have a comprehensive program. Take the time to think about what kinds of outcomes you can produce if you take enough time to do the project right. Are you training a few staff members? What if you trained all your staff members instead, how would that change your outcomes? What might that level of training mean for your organization? What if you did this program once a year or every month, how would that change your outcomes?
When you have a plan like this you can strategize about when and how you approach your funders. Work with your program staff and make sure that they are aware of your overall plan and on board with it. If you have a plan in place before you start, it is much easier to make sure everyone is on the same page. You don’t want to commit to funding a project before you receive approval from your funder or it could make the entire deal more difficult.
What kind of planning process do you undergo when you are approaching a new or existing funder? How do you prepare and set expectations for new projects? Have you ever lost a deal with a funder because of lack of internal coordination?