Identify Philanthropic Organizations for Outreach
Rural organizations need to identify philanthropies that may be appropriate partners. These stakeholders can help rural organizations to identify appropriate philanthropies:
- Board members. Rural organizations' board members should be knowledgeable about the philanthropic organizations in the community, state, or region and will be important connectors to these organizations. It is important to ensure that board members are connecting with philanthropies and sharing consistent messages about the program (See Develop and Refine Elevator Speech).
- Community champions. Rural organizations may have other connections and, likely, champions within the community who can help them identify and connect with philanthropies.
- Community foundations. Rural organizations may wish to connect with their community foundation as a starting place. If they are not an appropriate funder, they may be able to refer the organization to others.
- Nonprofit associations. Many states have a nonprofit association, a membership-based organization that helps nonprofits by providing trainings and resources. Nonprofit associations can help to make connections to people throughout the state, which can be helpful—particularly in large states where it is challenging to identify potential funders across a large geographic area.
- Government agencies. Rural organizations may consider contacting their State Office of Rural Health, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture, among other agencies, for information about similar projects and suggestions for philanthropic partners.
- Local partners. Rural organizations may wish to reach out to local public health agencies, schools, libraries, and other community stakeholders to ask about philanthropies.
- RHIhub. The Program Clearinghouses in this toolkit and other RHIhub toolkits feature examples of rural programs that have been successful in working with a variety of funders. They are invaluable resources and are willing to share their experiences.
In addition to these strategies, rural organizations must be ready to partner with philanthropies. There is not a formula for readiness. The organization needs to have staff with the time and capacity to conduct outreach to philanthropies. Outreach is a significant task and requires attention and patience, while not always yielding immediate benefit to the organization. Rural organizations are understaffed and overburdened, and outreach to philanthropies may take time away from important program activities.
Resources to Learn More
Funding Your Community Projects: Read
Overview of first steps to consider when preparing to apply for funding. Includes general information on finding funders and types of foundations, as well as some information specific to West Virginia.
Organization(s): Try This West Virginia