Foundation & Corporate Grants Alert:
|Funding Q&A provides readers the opportunity to ask experts questions about a variety of funding activities. This month, Tony Silbert, President of Silbert Consulting Services, Inc., addresses the issue of grants goal development. Founded in 1996, Silbert Consulting Services is a Los Angeles, CA-based firm that provides grant development, research, strategy and evaluation services for nonprofit organizations of all shapes and sizes.|
|Question: My organization received a large challenge grant and I am afraid we will not be able to raise the funds required to meet the terms of the challenge and actually receive the money. What can we do?|
|Answer: First of all, take a moment to appreciate your large grant award. Many organizations can be resentful of awards that come with strings attached. Clearly, the funder believes in you and is willing to commit a large sum of money to your cause. So, enjoy your success for a moment…. Okay, enough.It is important to understand that all challenge grants are not created equal. Funders make challenges for a variety of reasons and the strategies for fulfilling the challenge depend on the purpose of the award. Here are some of the different types of challenge awards and how you may be able to approach them if things are not going well:
Regardless of what kind of challenge grant you have received, it is important to recognize the opportunity it presents and get the entire organization behind it. Since challenge grants almost by definition are secured by the “grant department,” it is not uncommon to see the challenge as their problem. To successfully meet a challenge, you will need the support of the Board of Directors, major gift program, annual fund, planned giving, special events, and all other facets of your fundraising program. Individuals, as much as foundations, like the idea of multiplying their gift and will respond to a challenge. So, get everyone together and promote the challenge in every venue possible, get all of your staff to own it, and then – regardless of whether or not you meet the specific terms of the grant – your organization will be a winner.
Lastly, remember that by making a challenge grant the funder is expressing a sincere appreciation of your organization and desire to help you meet your goals. As always, an open and honest dialogue with them will not only maximize the chances of receiving full funding for the current grant, but will establish a strong relationship for the future. If you need more time to meet the challenge, ask for it. If you come up short, admit to it. In the end, the grantor is on your side and wants you to succeed. In many cases, as long as you give it your best, they will help you find a way to meet the essence of the challenge and declare success.