Last week I participated in a site visit between my client, The Cove School, and a private foundation we are pursuing for funding. It’s a great story of cultivation and relationship building.
The Cove School is a private K-12 school in Northbrook, IL serving students with complex learning disabilities. I identified the foundation as a prospect through a simple key word search (special education) at the Donors Forum. Additional research followed via the foundation’s website and 990 tax return (accessible through Guidestar). Once I determined the foundation was a potential match, I reached out by phone. To my surprise, the executive director answered the phone himself and was responsive to the conversation. He encouraged me to apply through their application process, stating that The Cove School sounded like a good fit for their funding priorities.
Shortly after submitting the proposal, I followed up with a second phone call to make sure the proposal was received and to inquire if they had any questions. As the foundation’s office is in the same neighborhood as the school, I invited them to come for a visit. I was advised to call back the following month to arrange a time.
As the saying goes – the third time’s a charm. The third phone call one month later resulted in a date for a site visit.
The site visit occurred last week and went beautifully. I joined Cove’s executive director and director of development for a tour and conversation, filled with thoughtful questions and engaging discussions. While the outcome of the short- term goal remains to be seen (whether or not Cove will receive funds this year), the groundwork is laid for the beginning of a long-term relationship. It is a delicate balance between persistence and pestering – for me, the third time was really the charm.