What do funders really look for in a proposal? How do they decide what to fund and what not to? These are the burning questions we have when labouring hours and hours of work for a funding application. On today’s podcast, we go behind the scenes with a funder and connect with Stephanie Rebello, Manager of Sustainability and Inclusion at LoyaltyOne to tackle all your burning questions.
Myths that Stephanie wants us to walk away
Getting a corporate grant is a cheque exchange. Gone are the days that corporate philanthropy is transactional relationship. Corporate funding managers like Stephanie care deeply about how corporate and charitable partners can co-create sustainable values.
Don’t report on bad news. Trust that your funders value resilience and adaptability and have faith in your expertise. When facing problems like the unexpected impact brought about by the global pandemic, be transparent with your funders, tell them the problems you’re facing, outline your pivot plan, and let them know how they can support you.
Stephanie’s tips on building partnerships with funders
Propose joint value proposition. Whether it’s for a pitch or a funding application, do your homework in thinking about what the funder can bring to the table and what your charity can bring to the table to co-create values for each other. Oftentimes, charities will have insights into specific communities that the funders would never have, and funders will have certain capabilities and capacities in a specific sector that the charities don’t have. Think holistically and creatively about how those cross sections can bring about collaboration and impact.
Take a co-design approach. One size does not fit all. Understand specific funders’ needs, objectives and capabilities in partnering with you and design the partnership proposal with both your charity and the funder’s perspectives in mind. Be open to get feedback and design with the funder. This process might take longer but the result will be rewarding for both parties in the partnership.
Lean in to your community insights and subject expertise. These are valuable assets that the funders won’t have or won’t know. Lean in your strength and inspire your funders in both your proposal and reporting.
Favourite Quotes from Today’s Episode
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“Ask what are some joint value propositions of what we're doing and what you're doing. One thing I love about working with some nonprofits is that deep knowledge that they have on their community members that I will never have. But I have some of the products, services, some of the data analytics and some of the powerhouse tools and resources. When you put them together, it’s really awesome and you can see some amazing sustainable impacts”
“We’re seeing such a transition and such a disruption in both the corporate social responsibility sector and the philanthropy sector, because we're no longer looking at transactional relationships. We're now more actively involved with purpose driven work products and services that give back.”
Resources from this Episode