Jana Jane Hexter
Should I Call Him or Not? What to do When Your LOI Doesn't Get a Response
Ah, the not so sweet sound of silence. You sweated and toiled for hours to write a wonderful letter of interest and got no response.
Frustrating isn’t it?
You know that it’s not because you aren’t a good fit. Like all conscientious folks, you spent untold hours doing research to find the foundations and corporations that are actively engaged in supporting organizations like yours. Along the way, you may have found a few grantors that gave to your group in the past but haven’t been asked in a while.
So, what’s up? Why didn’t it work?
First, of all don’t start beating yourself up. There is a really good chance that you didn’t do a single thing wrong. Your mother can still be proud of you. Phew, now that’s a relief.
Double Check the Deadline.
First, double check how often the grantor has a deadline. Your options are once a year, multiple and none.
Once a year. If they only have a single deadline in December and you applied in March you will be waiting for a long time. Try to make sure that you apply close to the deadline so that your LOI doesn’t get lost in the fray.
Multiple Deadlines. If they have multiple deadlines you should expect to hear back within a month of the board meeting date (usually six weeks after the deadline). If it has been more than 12 weeks since you sent it in take action – keep reading we’re getting to that in a paragraph or two.
No Deadline. If you didn’t know when their board meets before you submitted the LOI, do a little more research. Take a look at their 990 or Foundation Center listing and see if there is an indication of when their board meets. Sometimes it is explicit, sometimes you can imply when it is by the dates of grant awards. If you don’t know when the board meets I suggest taking the direct approach and call to ask about the status.
Before you Call
We all make mistakes. Remember To Err is Human, To Forgive Divine.
Do yourself a favor and double check your records to make sure that you didn’t goof by sending an LOI to a grantor who doesn’t accept applications (or LOIs).
If you did, forgive yourself and move on. Just to put it in perspective I once met a grant developer who got a six figure grant by making just such a mistake….. but that’s a story for another article.
Should I Call Him or Wait for Him to Call Me?
I know that making that call makes the vast majority of us feel as though we are in Junior High School again.
But there is something at stake here. People are depending upon you to succeed. Remember why you are doing this. Remember why your clients, your after-school kids or your organization needs this funding to do great things. Then go make the call and let your commitment and passion shine through.
What Shall I Say?
It’s pretty simple,
“Hi, this is Jane from a Really Great Organization.
We submitted an LOI to you on February 17th we haven’t heard from you.
I recognize that you probably get thousands of applications but I am just following up to see if you need any further information from us?”
What they might say
You may well hear that they:
- lost your application or the application didn’t arrive and please resend it (a common response in a world which the average grantor receives 10x as many applications as they can fund)
- it was turned down
- they loved it but didn’t have enough money in this round so are holding on to it for the next board meeting.
- some technical glitch is holding it up and they need more information – like the EIN given doesn’t match the program name (because it matches the organization name)
So now you know what the issue is you can deal with it directly.
Future articles will you some hints on what to do if you are turned down or if the corporation or foundation doesn’t publish their phone number.
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