If you are lucky enough to secure funding it’s important to say thank you to your funders which may help you develop a long term relationship. Read any conditions of grant and find out how the funder wishes to be acknowledged and recognised.
There are a number of ways to develop the art of saying thank you and develop relationships with funders:
- An immediate letter of acknowledgement and thank you is key
- A telephone thank you by a board member can be useful and effective as it provides them with positive feedback on what they are doing and gives them direct contact with funders
- Send funders your newsletter and annual report. Lists of funders should be included in your annual report and your website.
- Solicit feedback from funders so they know you value their opinions. Communicate regularly to build a rapport. Invite them along to events and to meet beneficiaries.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring and evaluation is important not just for building long-term relationships with your funders, but also for the effectiveness of your organisation. The information you gather can be used to inform future funding bids. Evaluate your efforts and look at your outputs and impacts:
- How many people have you helped?
- What impact have you made?
- How have you changed people’s lives?
- Have you shifted attitudes?
- How has society benefitted from the work?
Don’t just look at the amount of funding raised, look at the time and effort involved, and the possibility of repeating the activity. This will help you measure the process efficiently, control costs, generate more income and supporters, and retain these supporters. Then you can see what does and doesn’t work and develop new and better fundraising techniques. Formal monitoring and evaluation is very important to grant funders, so think about how you will gather this information right from the start of your project. Further support is available from Evaluation Support Scotland and The Big Lottery Fund
Check any specific terms or conditions of the grants are met. If certain aspects of the project haven’t worked, be truthful and transparent and show how you have learned from your mistakes. If you can’t use the money for the purpose it was requested, then notify the funder. You can suggest an alternative use for the donation, or will have to return the money if they don’t agree to this.
When the funding is finished what will happen to the project? If it’s a capital project, how will you maintain it in the future? If you want to continue you’ll have to find other sources of funding or support, and approach them at least 9 months before the project runs out of funds to ensure continuity of funding. Consider if there’s scope for charging fees or ways of earning income from the activity, rather than becoming totally dependent on another grant.
Read our guide to finding other sources of funding.