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Book Review: Corporate and Foundation Fundraising: A Complete Guide from the Inside

Resource Center - Foundation

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Corporate and Foundation Fund Raising: A Complete Guide from the Inside, by Eugene A. Scanlan, Ph.D., CFRE
Aspen Publishers, Inc. 1997; 268 pages, including appendices; softcover; ISBN # 0-8342-0936-5

"The Funders Speak"

Some books on grant seeking treat foundations as if they each were a single, often unknowable entity. But, like all organizations, they involve people. Corporate and Foundation Fund Raising: A Complete Guide from the Inside is intended to give the fundraiser an insider's point of view that will enable them to succeed in getting grants.

This book describes the dynamics of grant maker boards and staffs, how they interact, and how decisions can get made. Author Eugene Scanlan moves away from the view that each foundation or corporation is an "it" and toward the view that each is better described as "they." The result is a book that is both a "how-to" manual and a way to get a glimpse inside the world of organized philanthropy, by hearing the thoughts and ideas of the grant makers themselves.

Each chapter begins with a brief outline, then covers the listed topics with general discussions and specific examples used to illustrate particular points. At the end of each chapter, the reader will find helpful "inside" Strategy Tips and an annotated list of recommended additional readings.

Some of the topics covered include researching foundations and sources of information; strategies for approaching funders; developing proposals; and what to do before and after you send that proposal and (especially!) after you get the grant. There is also a helpful chapter on working with nonprofit management consultants.

The final chapter, "The Funders Speak," offers an insider's view on how to get your proposal noticed, why proposals are turned down, and how to understand funders' grant review procedures. This section is organized as a Question and Answer checklist of "things every grant seeker needs to know about grant makers."

Like every other aspect of fundraising, grant making is a very human process -- one that cannot easily be measured and put into a formula. This book, with its "insider" view, offers a better understanding of the human part of grant seeking and grant making. It belongs on every nonprofit's bookshelf!

About the Author

Gene Scanlan, Ph.D., CFRE, has been involved with not-for-profits for over thirty-six years. His experience includes serving as a professional staff member of one of the largest foundations in the country; he has also held management, consulting, development, and teaching positions with several organizations including national, regional, and local groups, colleges, and universities. His areas of expertise include strategic planning, corporate-foundation relations, fundraising, assessment, program design, and major gifts.

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