This is Part 2 of the Grant Dating series, following Part 1: Getting Out There.
That first date can be nerve wracking. You've found someone interesting through a mutual friend or an online service. You think they're cute (as foundations go) and you want to make a good impression.
Note: if you're looking for actual dating advice, you're in the wrong place. If you want grant datting advice, read on.
Do your homework. Before your grant date (whether it's a phone call or a meeting), learn whatever you can about the foundation, its funding priorities, what it has funded in the past. Make sure you're up to date on innovations and new things in your issue area. You want to be able to impress the funder with your knowledge. There are few things that are more of a turn-off on a first date than not having some basic information. (Note to those of you looking for relationship - not grant - advice and are still reading: Googling your date too much - and starting with detailed knowlede about them gets a little creept. But it works well for grant dating.)
Prepare some questions to ask. Remember, this is a relationship. While you need to talk about you (and compellingly...more about that below), be sure to ask your grant date about him/herself, too. Everyone likes to talk about themselves (to some degree), and asking questions can both build a rapport and provide useful information about how to prepare a proposal or move forward in building a relationship.
Be yourself. You've gotten a first date with this funder. Try to relax, and talk about your organization and what makes it great. Don't try to talk in headlines -- present good, compelling information about your organization (both numbers and stories are good), but remember that this is a conversation, and that you're just starting to get to know each other. Be sure that you're not saying anything in this first date that you won't be able to substantiate in a later date. And remember that they liked you enough to agree to the date -- don't try to be someone you're not.
What are your tips for preparing for a first grant date? What other grant dating advice would you like to read?
Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/4595312874/