Working With Funders
Building and Maintaining Positive Partnerships
Think about when you last donated to your favorite charity.
You probably had certain expectations.
For instance, you might have expected it to use almost all of your contribution to support its beneficiaries, or for it to thank you in some way.
Now think about how you'd feel if you heard that the charity's chief executive received an extravagant pay package, or if the organization failed to thank you for your donation.
You'd likely feel less committed, and you might even look for a different cause to support.
We expect professionals who work for nonprofits to set up and maintain good relationships with the people who fund their organizations. However, the same is true for profit-making organizations, particularly if they depend on others for financial support.
As a manager in either of these kinds of organizations, you need to be both professional and thoughtful in the way that you build relationships with funders.
What Are Funders?
Funders are external people or groups that contribute money to your organization.
They include individual, corporate, or government donors, investors, and shareholders, and they play a role in many kinds of organizations, from nonprofits and state agencies, to start-ups and large companies.
For example, an organization might accept an investment from a private donor to fund a specific project. Start-ups may need external funds, initially from angel investors, and later from venture capitalists, to help them develop and scale up. Of course, publicly traded companies are partly funded by shareholders.
You may work directly with people who fund your organization – for example, company directors or other staff who have a financial stake in the business.
We've excluded this group from our definition of funders, because you'll need to manage your relationship with them in a different way. Read our article on working with powerful people for more on this.
How to Manage Funder Relationships
When you build and maintain good relationships with funders, you can ...