Grant Writing and the Dynamics of Social Networking

Stop and consider the dynamics of social networking with regard to grant writing. What is social networking and is it really necessary? Is it all just liking and sharing and growing your brand online? After all, social media has become a vital tool for nonprofits, allowing them to reach new donors and funders and broaden their missions. Of course, there is far more to it than posting on social media, but it plays a large part in expanding your brand, whether you’re a nonprofit, a small business, or an individual. Social networking is necessary because it builds relationships and connections that can provide support, opportunities, and resources, essential for personal and professional growth.

Some grant writers and grant seekers may be concerned about reaching out on social media. However, many grantmaking organizations prefer that you reach out and introduce yourself before you submit your application. Unless a funder specifically asks you not to or doesn’t offer contact information, it’s a good idea to reach out. Besides, networking in any form builds relationships, gains insights into funders’ priorities, and increases visibility and engagement, which can enhance chances of securing funding. To that end, GrantWriterTeam has some vital information to share with our readers.

1. Reach out to Introduce Your Organization

Reaching out via social media allows funders to start familiarizing themselves with your organization before you even submit your application. This first contact is a great way to ask questions about the submission process, the funding organization’s preferences, and to make sure the program you’re seeking to fund is something the organization is interested in supporting.

What’s more, taking the time to ask well-thought-out questions in advance will help you to stay  fresh in their memory.

Historically, it’s been common practice to reach out via phone or email if you can find the correct contact information. With LinkedIn becoming standard, it never hurts to reach out on there if you can’t find other contact information. This will work even better if you have a common connection who can arrange an introduction.

If you’re reaching out to a local grant funder, it’s advantageous to request a one-on-one meeting, even if it’s virtual. If they don’t have time for a meeting, ask if you can follow up with email or LinkedIn.

2. Follow Up after You Submit Your Application

Grant writers should proactively engage with funders on social media to establish meaningful connections and understand their funding priorities better. Building rapport through platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter allows writers to showcase their expertise, ask relevant questions, and gain insights that can inform stronger grant applications.

After submitting an application, it’s beneficial to follow up with the funder, respecting their review timeline, to express continued interest and seek feedback. This proactive approach not only reinforces the importance of the grant but also demonstrates a genuine commitment to building a productive relationship with the funding organization.

3. Say Thank You (even if you were turned down)

Whether your application was accepted or not, reach out to the funding organization and thank them. If your grant application was successful, it’s an even better idea to give the funding organization a call.

A phone call is generally considered to be more thoughtful. This gives you a chance to ask if you’ll need to supply progress reports in order to accept the grant. You can also use this call to offer representatives from the funding organization a tour of your facility so they can see your organization in action (once it’s safe, of course).

Even if your application was rejected, thank the funding organization for taking the time to consider you. If they gave you feedback on your application, make sure to thank them for their advice, as this advice could help you secure future grants.

If they didn’t automatically respond with advice, consider asking the funder what you can do to strengthen your application the next time around.

4. Stay in Touch

Now that you’ve received your funding, you have a real opportunity to build a long-lasting relationship with the funding organization. To do this, you’ll want to go beyond just sending them any required progress reports.

Start by sending the funder a handwritten note. Have the note signed by several members of your staff, including those in leadership roles. You can also send them your organization’s regular newsletter with a special note attached. Finally, make sure to send additional periodic updates—preferably with pictures and videos—to show just how much the grant has made a difference.

Making sure the funding organization knows they made the right choice helps you cultivate the relationship. This improves your chances of being considered for further grants. Grant funders want to trust that their money made a difference—showing them that your organization is a good steward of resources will demonstrate their faith in your organization was not misplaced!

The Bottom Line

There’s more to grant writing than researching opportunities and submitting the applications. Social connections make the process of applying for and winning grants easier. By keeping the channels of communication open, you’re creating relationships that can benefit your organization now and well into the future. A healthy nonprofit operates transparently and using a mix of old school and new to communicate with funders.

About GrantWriterTeam

Are you a nonprofit or small business in need of some help? If you are searching for grants but are feeling overwhelmed, hiring a grant writer may be the perfect choice for you! Grant writers thoughtfully grant opportunities and consider the pros and cons of applying and the chance of success. Consider your writer an extension of your organization. Your grant-seeking success is our priority at GrantWriterTeam.

Disclaimer: There is no guarantee that grants will be awarded as a result of this information.