You’ve done the hardest part- you’ve gotten the grantor to agree to come visit you in your own space. Congratulations! Whether you’re in the middle of a grant application process or prospecting a new funder, it’s your job to keep the funder engaged and entranced with your programs and mission.
Here are a few points to consider when you’re planning and executing the visit:
1. Call a quick pre-visit meeting with everyone who will be involved in the visit. This means program staff who will be performing your program services while the visit is occuring, development staff who wrote and steward the opportunity, and maybe even a champion of the program, depending on the application or prospect at hand. This meeting serves multiple purposes, including 1) alerting staff so they’re not surprised by a visitor that day, 2) allowing staff to briefly talk through highlights they wish to be made during the visit, and 3) walkthrough potential questions the funder may ask so that staff are prepared with responses other than, “Good question- I’ll have to get back to you on that.”
2. Consider the benefit of a one-pager that your guests can take with them. This one pager can include a brief overview of what your program does, recent statistics and impact of the program you’re touring, comments from clients. Please note that it will usually not serve you well to go through this one-pager line-by-line with your visitors. Rather, it should be a souvenir for your funders so that when they’re thinking through your application or proposal, they can refer to this sheet as a reminder of all the great impact your program and your organization are making on your community.
3. Leave more than five minutes at the end for questions. This is not to say that if you the best job possible you’ll have no questions. Instead, consider that the more interested a grantor or funder is in your program/organization, the more questions they will have as your conversation continues. Questions should be taken as a sign of engagement! It’s good to take a pause between major points of discussion to allow natural time for questions. Be sure to block your own calendar for at least 20 minutes after the visit in case your grantor has further questions.
4. Follow-up. Follow-up. Follow-up. As soon as you bid your visitors farewell, take 5-10 minutes to write a note or email to yourself with some details on your visit. Take another 5 to craft a warm thank you email to your funder, attaching anything you promised to send after the visit (if such attachments already exist.) As with all donors, grantmaking organizations also want to feel loved- so make sure you do just that! You may even consider drafting the outline of such an email before you start the tour so that you make sure to thank them properly. A good visit + good answers + good follow-up could mean the difference between a pass from your funder and their undying support!