What You Need to Know About Reaching Out to Partners

This PLTW Blog entry is an excerpt from the PLTW Fundraising Toolkit. You can download the full toolkit here.

Communicating with someone who represents a potential foundation partner can help when you are unable to find answers to all of your research questions, or if you have determined the foundation is a fit and you would like to start a conversation about building a partnership.

When it comes to approaching a foundation, we highly recommend following the guidelines or directions the foundation publicly shares for contacting staff.

If the foundation does not have any particular guidelines for contacting foundation staff but contact information is publicly available, consider sending an email or mailed letter to introduce your school, share information about PLTW, and outline your school’s vision for PLTW. In this communication, you may want to invite the person to reach out at his or her convenience.

Other foundations may simply post directions for groups interested in applying for funds and ask you not to reach out individually. This is usually due to the volume of their grantmaking and/or grant applications received. However, in the case that a contact is listed for the grant opportunity, feel free to reach out if you have questions or are seeking clarification. Whether you send an email or call the grant contact over the phone, in your initial conversation it is wise to first provide a brief explanation about your school, PLTW’s programs, and your interest in submitting an application for whichever specific grant you are interested in applying – then pose your questions.

During all communication with potential foundation partners, it’s crucial to remember that the best partnerships are those that are equally fulfilling. Always keep in mind how you can help a potential philanthropic partner accomplish its goals as it supports yours.