The ‘good ol’ American know-who’ was something my grandpa used to say. Instead of achieving something on know-how, he was quite critical of those who achieved things by their know-who.

Trouble is, in grant writing, people give to people and it’s very important to use your contacts if you have them.

An outside grant writer usually doesn’t have direct involvement in fostering a funder relationship for a client, but that relationship can make all the difference to a successful application.

Where to start? Download the list of a foundation’s board members and send it to your organization’s board members. See if there are any connections that can be the start of a relationship.

Sharing a coffee or sending an email introduction to the program coordinator may be all you need to get your application earmarked for careful review.

Some funders choose not to be transparent and for those, submitting your shot-in-the-dark application into a black hole may be unavoidable. But if at all possible, find a personal connection to help get your application to the top of the stack.

Writing the grant is the mechanics, the know-how, and I can take care of that. You’re in charge of the know-who.

Read more Grant Writing Tips.