Do you ask more than one donor for the same thing? We are in the beginning stages of grant proposal writing, but we got a reply back recently that said the foundation would make a decision in November. So, do we wait, or send the same proposal to others?

If we get a positive response in November, and the project has been funded by someone else, I would think that would be good all the way around. But would it? Would it look bad for us for future funding from that foundation? I hope I am making sense! There are limited funds for Christian schools, and I don’t want to do anything to hurt our chances with any of these foundations!

~ Kelly Stilwell

Remember the old saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket?”

When it comes to programmatic or capital expenses, I’ve usually approached more than one foundation, depending upon the amount needed.

Say I needed $40,000 to buy a vehicle or $100,000 to get a new program off the ground, I’d ask anywhere from 2-4 funders, depending upon the relationship. Only a portion of your grant applications will be funded – and unless you have already established a strong relationship with them, foundations rarely fund all costs associated with a new program.

I am, as you know, a strong proponent of seeking out foundations who will fund general operating expenses.

If you’ve gone after programmatic expenses in your request and you’ve requested a grant for the entire project start-up costs, you’ll want to wait until you learn their decision before approaching other foundations.

Always remember that foundations look to fund organizations with diversified funding sources – and will often ask you to note other foundations you have approached in your proposal.

So, the short answer is: Get busy applying to additional foundations.

Posted on 11 May 2010

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