1. Make sure you have an organizational home and affiliations. This brings you credibility.
2. Use the format that the foundation requires for letters of inquiry and the full proposal.
3. Have a sustainability plan. Foundations want to know they won't have to support you forever.
4. Cultivate your partnerships and be able to describe in detail what these entail.
5. Be flexible with your plan. Business plans change and evolve.
6. Know what kinds of projects the foundation funds, what the organization objectives are and what its mission is, and how your project fits into this.
7. Be true to your own mission and objective and be able to coherently communicate these.
8. Be clear about what money requested will be used for.
9. Be resourceful. What donations can you obtain, what in-kind contributions do you have access to, what costs can be cut, what do you absolutely need?
10. Diversify your requests. Do not rely on one foundation or funding source. Foundations also want to know that there are others that are willing to invest in your project.
Transplants are growing, tomatoes are tomato'ey, May rains have come, we have begun our search for manure and a way to load and transport and have opened up the entrance to Aldrich Park. I've been taking some nice long walks in Aldrich, identifying weeds, introducing Mason the dog to groundhogs and coming up with plans for a campsite and pond where the sinkhole is.
Some plans for this summer on Aldrich are brushhogging, contouring and leveling and redistributing leaves (anyone know of any contractors who might be willing to donate some time to the project in Flint?), hooking up electricity, setting up a (battery powered, solar powered?) irrigation system out of Swartz Creek, planning for a driveway (concrete, asphalt), and cleaning up the entranceway.
Thanks for checkin' back in. Oh, and you might want to check out The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird for summer reading.