Tara emailed me asking whether I have a form that I use when I go to see a new client. I don't. But, I jotted down a few things for her and then thought I'd share them with you, too.
When a new (to me) organization engages me to do a piece of work, here's how I get started.
Before my initial interview in person or on the phone:
- Review the organization's 990 and website
- Ask them to send me a packet of their PR materials, any boiler plate they have, and perhaps an earlier grant application they've submitted.
- Do a Google search on them including news and blogs
- Sometimes I'll review the research and best practices prior to the first meeting, sometimes later
Based on that, I usually go into the interview with a pretty good idea of the public face of the agency. Then, if the interview is for a specific grant, we discuss:
- Project orientation - how we'll work together, who's on the team, who's the agency's lead, what tools we'll use, time table, etc.
- What makes them want to apply for this grant? What are they currently doing makes them feel they have a good chance at receiving the funding?
- Review the grant requirements - assume they haven't read the details
- Walk through each section of the application and appendices discussing content, identifying what information is outstanding, determining who will get it, by when.
If they are asking for help to identify new funding opportunities we discuss
- Current operations
- Strategic direction
- Previous and current funders
- Applications submitted but not funded
- How we'll work together