How to Cultivate Relationships with Grantmaking Foundations - Auxilia

Posted by Tyler Nanos on 12.3.2020

photo_2020-03-12_18-13-28Cultivating relationships with grantmaking foundations is a core method for any nonprofit that relies on consistent funds to maintain steady operations. However, it is important to keep in mind that like any relationship, ensuring harmony and cooperation between two entities requires effort, respect, and communication. Here are some tips on how to cultivate relationships with foundations. 


The key to cultivating a relationship with grantmaking foundations is to meet the people involved. Compile a list of foundation that you want to get to know, reach out to them, and invite them to events that you host.

Building relationships with the people involved can pave the way towards receiving grants from them because they can put faces to the name of your nonprofit and familiarize themselves with what you do.

Make sure you follow up with the foundation after the event as well. Ask them if they had a good time, if they have any knowledge, ideas, or feedback to give, and if they are interested in coming to the next one.

Use the events you host as a jumping-off point for deepening your relationship with them and building exposure and presence for your nonprofit.

Demonstrate Your Impact

You do not just have to invite foundations to events. You can also extend an invitation for them to see your day-to-day activities. They can come to see your nonprofit in action and the direct impact you make on the community you serve.

For instance, if you were The Humane Society, you could invite them to your animal care centers and show them a day in the life of the animals that are receiving care. You could introduce them to the medical specialists, the handlers, and the rescuers. The foundation would get a first-hand view of all the work going into the structure of the organization.

This allows your nonprofit to transcend an idea and adds real evidence to the good work you’re doing. When it comes to asking for funding, foundations will have an idea of where their money is going in the context of your work, which helps build trust, camaraderie, and their involvement with your nonprofit.

Apply for Funding

Applying for funding is the most direct way to reach out to foundations and receive the funding that you need. It may feel daunting at first, but rejection doesn’t necessarily mean that you will not receive funds at some point.

It is best to cast a wide net and apply for funding from as many foundations as possible. Chances are, something will stick! Any grantmaking foundations that reject your application will be exposed to your nonprofit, which puts you in a prime position.

You can reach out to the foundations that rejected you and ask for feedback about why your nonprofit was rejected. Once you’ve started a conversation with them about how you can improve, they’ll remember you the next time around.

Then, when it comes time to apply for funding again, you’ll have a much better chance of receiving what you need.

Learn how Auxilia can help you cultivate relationships with grantmaking foundations.  Request a demo today!

Photo Credit: Annie Spratt

Topics: Networking, Grants, Foundation