If you've been invited for a site visit, this means that your proposal has entered the next stage of consideration. Some funders kindly provide an agenda or purpose to the site visit to help you prepare. Some funders, unfortunately, do not. Either way, preparing for a site visit from a potential grant funder is crucial for making a positive impression and increasing your chances of securing funding.
Here's a comprehensive list of tips and considerations for you as you prepare for your upcoming visit:
Before the Site Visit
Research the Funder: Understand the funder's priorities, interests, and past grant recipients. Tailor your presentation to align with their mission and goals.
Review Your Proposal: Ensure that your proposal is fresh in your mind. Be ready to discuss the key points and any changes or updates since you submitted it. We recommend printing it out and highlighting things you want elaborate on.
Prepare a Detailed Itinerary: Plan the visit carefully, including a schedule, locations to visit, and people to meet. Share this itinerary with the funder in advance.
Select the Right Team: Choose staff and volunteers who can effectively represent your organization and its mission. Ensure they understand their roles during the visit.
Prepare Talking Points: Develop a list of key messages and talking points that highlight your organization's impact, achievements, and future plans.
Gather Supporting Materials: Assemble relevant documents, reports, success stories, and visuals (photos, videos, infographics) to provide a comprehensive view of your work.
During the Site Visit
Warm Welcome: Greet the funder warmly and express your gratitude for their interest in your organization.
Provide a Tour: Offer a guided tour of your facilities or program sites, emphasizing the impact of your work on the community. If you don't have a facility, use this time to help ensure the funder is comfortable by offering water or coffee.
Introduce Key Staff and Beneficiaries: Introduce the funder to key staff members and, if possible, beneficiaries of your programs. Share success stories and testimonials.
Present Your Programs: Deliver a concise presentation that highlights your mission, objectives, programs, and outcomes. Your presentation need not be a PowerPoint, but can be a more detailed "pitch" with pamphlets or other visual aids. Be prepared to answer questions in detail.
Financial Transparency: Be ready to discuss your organization's financial health, budget allocation, and how grant funds will be used. Provide financial statements if requested.
Evaluation and Impact Metrics: Explain your methods for measuring the impact of your programs and share data on outcomes and achievements.
Sustainability Plan: Discuss your organization's sustainability plan beyond the grant period, including diversifying funding sources. If you're working with Bloom, be sure to ask for a grant snapshot to have ready to share!
Questions to Anticipate and Be Prepared to Answer
Why is Your Work Important? Be ready to articulate the significance of your mission and how it addresses a pressing need in the community.
How Will the Grant Funds Be Utilized? Provide a clear breakdown of how the funds will be used and the expected outcomes. Highlight key needs in your program budget if one was submitted.
What Are Your Long-Term Goals? Discuss your strategic plans and how this grant fits into your larger vision.
Challenges and Mitigation: Be honest about the challenges you face and your strategies for overcoming them.
Questions to Ask the Funder
Funding Priorities: Seek clarification on the funder's current priorities and any specific expectations for grantees.
Reporting and Communication: Inquire about reporting requirements and the funder's preferred communication channels.
Feedback and Next Steps: Ask for feedback on your proposal and inquire about the timeline for their decision-making process.
After the Site Visit
Follow-Up: Send a thank-you note to the funder, expressing your appreciation for their time and interest in your organization.
Provide Additional Information: If the funder requests more information or clarification, respond promptly and comprehensively.
Stay Engaged: Maintain regular communication with the funder, providing updates on your progress and impact.
Remember that site visits are opportunities to build relationships and showcase your organization's dedication and effectiveness. By being well-prepared and engaging with the funder effectively, you can increase your chances of securing the grant and establishing a long-term partnership.