A Taboo Subject in Fundraising and Grant Seeking

Today’s Blue Advocado (a terrific nonprofit newsletter) shares horror stories “True Stories of Grant Seeking” about arrogant foundation giving officers.

It’s a must read- especially for beginning fundraisers who need to understand the rules of the game.

Unfortunately, many program officers of foundations act like it’s their money to give away and can be awfully high-handed to grant seekers.

The article shares story after story of inappropriate behavior by the grant officers. The most blatant is the corporate giving officer who called to tell the fundraiser that their proposal had been received and was under review. This person then proceeded to ASK the fundraiser for a $250 contribution to a cause she personally supported. As we say in the south, “Lord have mercy!”

But this is part of the way things work in fundraising. We are clearly not able to complain – except to each other!

Because if we complain, we’ll get blacklisted by the foundation!
What funder will make grants to a complainer? I never saw one that did.

I have met some arrogant foundation people in my day. And I’ve NEVER met an individual donor who behaved as awfully as some of these foundation people.

Fortunately there are not that many of these types around but you need to be prepared if you run into one. Humility can be a fundraiser’s greatest asset (in addition to listening and followup skills of course). So be prepared, and if you run into one of these types – just suck it up and do your best!