Well, Fundbusters, of course. But seriously, how do you get to the people with the money? Individual donors are easy to talk to– they’re right there, at your events, your volunteer days, your productions. They aren’t “new” in the sense that by the time you need to talk to them about a gift they know you, and you know them, from simple proximity. With institutional fundraisers, you’re less likely to encounter them at your own events. It can help to stalk seek them out at professional organizations like AFP, Donors Forum, etc. But sometimes you just need to pick up the phone. It’s easier if you know who to talk to. Here’s who you’re calling, and how to find them:

  • Family foundations—you need a member of the family, a Trust officer, or someone who knows a member of the family
  • Community foundations—program officer in your field. If you’re not sure who this might be, just tell the switchboard succinctly what you need; they will connect you. Community foundations are the most accessible foundations around
  • Private foundations—same as community.
  • Government—read the website. Review the application form. Government deadlines and other requirements are inviolable. Many also require additional registrations, such as the System for Awards Management (SAM), Cultural Data Project, et al.
  • Corporate giving programs—behave like family foundations, in that you often need to know someone. Quid pro quo will be expected; this might be as simple as VIP tickets and the CEO’s picture in your program, or more extensive marketing on behalf of the corporation.
  • Corporate foundations—exactly like private and family foundations, except the funding comes from corporate profits. Will usually have professional staff, who tend to be more accessible than their counterparts in corporate giving programs.
  • Volunteer programs—great way to get to know people at a corporation. Call the director of the program, or go through someone in your organization who works for them.
  • Service Clubs– sometimes behave like foundations, sometimes like corporations, sometimes like individuals. This is another place where knowing someone on the inside is your best tactic; without that offer something to them–open your theater for a fundraiser night, or offer to do a lecture at one of their meetings.

Who do you call?