Fundraising: How foundations think

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  • Money is for solving problems
  • Budget and general operating is not a motivating factor
  • "Othering" is not good; foundations are peers
  • two types of money: "living money" vs "dead money"
  • foundations are more risk averse
  • the power of program officers at foundations to get things done is almost exclusively to write checks.
  • program officers want to push grantees into horizontal grants rather than their specific program area (so that it doesn't come out of their allocation)
  • break up the interactions to interactions
    • The first interaction should be an offer to help the foundation
    • The second or third interaction should be about potentially asking for money
  • fundraising from foundations is "sales"
  • ask foundations about their strategy (because they love to talk about their strategy)
  • business meeetings all have the same structure. Leverage the five minutes in the beginning of the meeting to get them to talk about themselves.
  • engagement is in three phases: intellectual; creative; emotional
  • cold calls are last resort; seek out warm introductions
  • four ways to scope out opportunities
    • desk research
    • "who else should I talk to" over coffee
    • opportunistic
    • ???
  • meeting foundations at conference
    • make sure you are interesting; don't try to get funded
    • get someone to say to themselves: "hmmm, that was interesting. how would that work?"
    • first rule of pitching: never pitch