Susan Wagoner, from Your Part-Time Controller, discusses the ins and outs of working with foundations on this Nonprofit Power Week episode. Susan begins by explaining the different types of foundations, such as family foundations, community foundations, corporate and independent foundations. She highlights the significance of aligning your nonprofit’s mission with the foundation’s mission when seeking funding and emphasizes the importance of effective communication and relationship-building in this process.

The discussion digs deeper into the distinctions between corporate and independent foundations, highlighting the trend of corporations establishing their own foundations as both a philanthropic endeavor and a marketing tool.

Co-hosts Jarrett and Julia raise questions about the timing of approaching foundations for funding, and Susan emphasizes the importance of doing research and building connections early on. She suggests using resources like and the Foundation Directory to gather information on potential funders.

The conversation also touches on the fluidity of foundation focus areas and how they may change over time, prompting nonprofits to stay informed about shifting priorities. Susan stresses the significance of building strong relationships with foundations, whether through phone calls, emails, or in-person meetings. They discuss strategies for effective communication and outreach, emphasizing the need to be genuine and respectful of the foundation’s time and priorities.

You’ll also hear a personal success story of how a simple email led to securing a grant for a school’s garden project, highlighting the positive impact of proactive communication.

This episode wraps-up with a reminder that foundations exist to do good and help nonprofits fulfill their missions, and building partnerships and relationships is key to successful collaboration.

FOUNDATIONS 101 – What Nonprofits Need To Know! from American Nonprofit Academy on Vimeo.