How to Alienate a Foundation Official
Sample CRFNET Communication


The following originally appeared in Foundation and Corporate Grants
Alert (Vol. 5, No. 1).

... among the things that turn foundation officials off to fundraisers:

1) Selective deafness - the person who does not take no for an answer
and crosses the line between persistence and pestering.

2) Neurosurgery by telephone - calling to say "I would like to pick your
brain" when what they really want to pick is your pocket.

3) Insistence on seeing the foundation head, who knows nothing about the
visitors institution or program, rather than the program officer, who
knows a great deal.

4) That wonderful line "I'm going to be in town in a couple of weeks,
and just wanted to stop by and bring you up to date on our activities."

5) The call out of the blue that begins to describe in detail a proposal
you have never seen.

6) The fundraiser who has no proposal and no program and asks what to do
to get funded.

7) To make an approach without having done adequate homework.

8) Failing to understand or respect clearly stated criteria for grant
making activities.

9) To do the homework and then request support for something we don't
fund, saying "I thought you might make an exception for us."

10) The development officer who tells your staff and others that you are
best friends after three 20-minute conversations.

11) Project budgets that are padded, mathematically incorrect of omit
important details.

12) The person who tells you how timid and unimaginative your priorities
and categories are.

13) Describing another funder as "really excited" about their project
when that funder merely returned a phone call.

14) The butter you up chatty fundraiser with the smiling, smiling,
smiling face.

The bottom line for grant seekers?  "Give us less charisma and
salesmanship and more substance," says Cook.  - Patrice Hagmann

"Cook" is Mr. John Cook, President, Henry Luce Foundation.

I hope this helps.
Sincerely,
Gerard L. Brandenstein

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