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
- 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
- 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
Organization(s): Try This West Virginia