Organizational Development

As grant professionals, we all know that one way to boost our proposals is to include collaboration. Funders like to see partnerships for a number of reasons. But too often, the partnerships we include might not be very substantive. Maybe we worked together on one event or they refer a few clients to our organization. But funders emphasize collaboration for good reason and it might be time to truly give those partnerships a chance to GROW! So, how do you go about helping your partnerships blossom? Begin by taking stock of all of your current partners, big or small. Partners could include other nonprofit organizations, funders, businesses, or individuals. Assess the ways in which you currently partner and begin thinking outside of the box to explore other ways in which both parties could benefit from expanded collaboration. One way the levels of partnership are often framed is through the 3C Model, which came from the for-profit sector. Its tiers include cooperation, coordination, and collaboration (moving from simple to complex). Here are a few ideas of ways to expand from surface-level partnership to meaningful relationships that benefit everyone involved:

To kick off the month of love, I’d like to talk about relationships. In our personal lives, we know that nurturing relationships with our families, friends, and partners is important. Strong relationships provide mutual benefits; we give support to our loved ones as they make steps toward their personal goals, and we hope they do the same for us. As nonprofit leaders and grant professionals, we all know how crucial it is to build solid relationships in order to succeed in reaching our organizational goals, as well. We build relationships with our beneficiaries to make sure our program strategies match their strengths, needs, and solutions. And we build relationships with funders to ensure we have a strong financial foundation to continue offering those programs. Just as every relationship in our personal lives is unique, so are the approaches we must take with funders, depending on whether they are a foundation, corporation, or federal agency. So, let’s talk about the distinct “love language” and which approach to take in building relationships with each of the funders listed below.

Cultivating Buy-In by Tracey Diefenbach, GPC I will never forget the day I took a grant approval form to the vice president of programs I worked with at the time. She took one look at it and said, “We are back to using this thing again?” The form required the team’s signatures on a statement of whether we decided to pursue a grant. At the time, I was fairly new to the position and while I thought what she said was cynical, a part of me agreed and questioned how a piece of paper could serve as full consensus and buy-in. I went with it and started using the form.