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Meet the Grantmakers: Getting Your First Foundation Grants

San Francisco, CA
April 19, 2007

Your organization's first foundation grants are often the most difficult to secure. This program, geared toward organizations looking to expand their fundraising plans to include foundation donors, will address what foundations look for in new organizations, how to make the initial approach, and advice on making the best first impression with foundation donors.


You may also download this biography handout to learn more about this program's panelists.

Listen to the program:

Download mp3 audio: [Right-click and choose "Save Target As"]

  • Introduction and Segment 1: Please begin by introducing your foundation's guidelines, including a brief overview of your application procedures and any particular guidelines that pertain to new organizations. (22:26, 10.2MB)
  • Segment 2: What is your advice for how organizations that are new to you should present themselves—e.g., method of initial inquiry, what you look for in a new grantee, etc? (13:33, 6.2MB)
  • Segment 3: And following up on that question, what if an organization is not just new to you, but also a new organization in start-up mode? What things do you look for in a request from a start-up organization that may signal proceed with caution? And on the positive side, what are the elements that make one start-up request more compelling than another? (10:14, 4.7MB)
  • Segment 4: Do you require a site visit or a meeting with the potential grantee before a grant is approved? How important is meeting a member of the board, and what general advice do you have for our attendees about preparing for site visits? (5:26, 2.5MB)
  • Segment 5: For the SF Foundation representative: Since you represent one of the larger foundations that are willing to make smaller grants to new groups, can you talk about how a larger, more formalized foundation might differ in the way it evaluates requests? How many people review the request, what approval is required, is it just expected that because of the competition people must submit numerous requests to the foundation and get declined, before acceptance is granted? Is there a test of time kind of thing that goes on? Or have some small groups received funding on their first try? (2:29, 1MB)
  • Segment 6: Please describe one or two new organizations, or organizations that were new to your foundation and had little to no foundation funding which you recently supported that are representative of your foundation's overall grantmaking practice and explain why you selected those over other requests from other grassroots groups? (12:42, 5.8MB)
  • Segment 7: Moderated Q&A with the audience. (42:25, 19.4MB)

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