Restoring Trust in Your Grant Funders
A grant funder is more likely to give when they trust an organization and its team. If a situation occurs where the funder loses trust, it is up to the organization to take proactive steps to remedy the issue.
Below, we’ll list out a few scenarios in which trust your grant funders can be lost, and what can be done to rebuild the relationship.
Situation #1: Deadlines aren’t being met
If your organization is failing to meet milestones throughout a project, the funder might question your reliability. A rule of thumb here is to always communicate early, so expectations can be managed. Procrastinating until a report is due shows that proactive steps weren’t being taken to resolve the issue. Funders should be treated as true partners, so it’s important to remain transparent and have open lines of communication.
Situation #2: Going over budget
Going over budget is common, whether it’s an increase in program expenses, changes in participant costs, etc. When it comes to a funder’s trust, It’s important to never assume where those funds can be redirected. Since you will likely not be reimbursed for these additional funds, be mindful of how your organization is absorbing the cost. Before making any changes, reach out to the funder to discuss the situation. Come prepared with solutions, and let them know you’re open to their recommendations and requirements.
Situation #3: Internal changes
Shifts in leadership might cause a funder to raise their eyebrows. They want to make sure their requirements are being met, regardless of any internal movement going on. Stability is important for funders, and consistent churn could indicate a poor culture. On the other hand, internal changes can be a great way to leverage your relationships with funders. Take this as an opportunity to introduce new members, and build trust by reiterating how this may affect them, if at all.
Situation #4: Lack of recognition
As we stated earlier, this relationship should act as a partnership. It’s important to show your gratitude, and showcase this acknowledgement through various media. An acknowledgement letter is not only legally required, but failure to do it could damage the fabric of funding relationships, getting you off to a poor start. A lack of recognition could happen if you forget to include them in an annual report. Or maybe you misspelled someone’s name in print collateral. Make sure your organization’s marketing team understands what is expected post grant, and be quick to correct any errors where applicable.
Situation #5: Your reputation is under fire.
If your organization is undergoing a public crisis, funders might feel like they have a reputation by association. The last thing you want is for the funder to hear the news from someone else, or come across an article online. Be proactive in communicating with funders during these difficult times. Address all of their questions and concerns, and explain what steps are in place to resolve the issue.
How has your organization restored trust with grant funders? Leave us a comment below!
If you’re looking for grant consulting services, you’ve come to the right place. RBW Strategy can provide tailored guidance in key areas of grant management, and set your organization up for success. Contact us today!