Making an initial, and brief, call to a foundation representative improves your chances of getting the grant. Make it BEFORE you start writing any grant; it’ll save you tons of time. This call will help you confirm that what you’ve learned about the foundation is accurate, deadlines are correct and any additional information about the process of submitting grants. The call will make them aware of your organization and your needs, and if they’re interested in hearing more.



The success of the call isn’t tied to the length of the call, it’s about making a connection to the foundation. Always be respectful of the person’s time. Be prepared, know what to ask before you pick up the phone. Represent your organization as competent and well-run. Tell them why your organization is so great. You want them to enjoy their time talking to you and want to know more.


  • Introduce yourself and your organization
  • Tell them why you’re calling “….to ask you a few quick questions to make sure we have all the correct and current information about your grant process.”
  • Do you have any internal mutual contacts “….(i.e. your board member) suggested I call”
  • Give a description of your organization. “….(your elevator speech)”
  • Why are you interested in the grant. “I’ve reviewed your website and mission and it seems that our project is a very good fit with your guidelines.”

What to Ask:

  • “Based on what I’ve told you, do you think an application would be appropriate?” If you’re told your application doesn’t seem like a good fit, you’ve just saved yourself a lot of time and effort.
  • “The guidelines say the deadline is _______, is that correct?” or “The guidelines indicate an open ended application schedule, is that correct?” Confirming the deadline, you make sure the grant is submitted in plenty of time.
  • “Would you be able to review our proposal for feedback before our final submission?” If you ask for feedback on your application you’re giving your grant application the best chance for success. The funder may give you some insight that could make a big difference in whether or not your application is funded or not.
  • “Is there an average or appropriate amount for a grant request?” Asking this question will give you some honest guidance on the funding they are willing to consider and provide.
  • “Do you have recommendations on other foundations that may be interested in this project?” Funders often know of other opportunities; by asking this question you can get valuable information on other funding sources. Foundations like to know that you don’t see them as your only source of funding.


  • Thank them for their time.
  • If you plan to submit an application, tell them when you’ll be submitting it. Submit it when you promised!