Let's Raise Some Money
Insights from Karen Climer about fundraising and nonprofit organizations

The Program Officer Deserves Your Appreciation

March 4th, 2014 by Karen Climer

Last year, I was asked to present to our local association of grant writers about stewardship.  I contacted all of the funders in the area to get their perspective (which is the only perspective that matters when it comes to stewardship.)  The program officer of Generous Foundation said that if Generous Foundation awarded a grant to Do Good Nonprofit, she expected that the president of Do Good Nonprofit would send a thank you letter to the president of Generous Foundation.  Most nonprofits did this.

She also expected that the grant writer (or whomever the program officer dealt with) would send a thank you note to her.  The program officer was the one who spoke with the grant writer about the proposal before it was submitted and answered their questions throughout the process.  She told me that only a few grant writers sent this thank you note.

Notice that she said she expected this thank you.  That means she looked in the mailbox every day to see if your thank you letter was there.  This doesn’t mean you get brownie points for sending it.  This means if you don’t send it, you get a black mark.  You and your organization are now labeled as rude and inconsiderate.

The next time you hear back from a foundation, whether you are pleased with their decision or not, send a note to the program officer.  Thank them for taking your calls, answering your questions, and shepherding your proposal through the process.  I can’t promise that this will help in getting your next proposal funded, but I can promise that you will make that person’s day.  

Posted in Acknowledgment, Grant Writing

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