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Corporate & Foundation Relations

What foundations look for

When foundation staff or board members review your proposal, they will look for answers to the following questions:

Fit

  • Does the proposed project or program align with our mission and our particular strategy to achieve that mission?

Significance

  • How important is the proposed work to our mission?
  • What contribution will it make to the field?
  • Why should we invest our limited resources in this work?

Quality

  • What is the applicant’s or team’s expertise? What is the competition?
  • Does the applicant present a well-developed, coherent and rigorous plan?

Capacity

  • What resources and organizational support does the applicant have?

Feasibility

  • Is the proposed work reasonable in scope and duration?
  • Can the applicant devote sufficient time to the proposed work?

Impact

  • What difference will it make if the applicant’s work succeeds?

Evaluation

  • How will the applicant know if the work is successful?
  • How will he or she measure progress to goal?
  • How will measurements inform course corrections along the way?

Sustainability

  • If a program rather than a project, does the applicant have a plan for continuing the work beyond the grant?

Successful proposals not only answer these questions, they do so in a way that is clear, coherent and focused. Avoid jargon and acronyms and back up your claims with evidence. Revise for readability.