I recently wrote an article for Charity Channel about the grant professional's role in the all-important site visit. For those of you who want to avoid an unimpressive visit and the disastrous consequences it may bring, here are some ways to help your organization prepare:
- Create a format for the site visit and prepare an agenda including who will say what.
- Invite board members to attend (research from my book shows that only 37% of organizations have board members attend site visits).
- Ask key collaborators to attend the visit and present their (hopefully positive) views on your organization and/or collaboration.
- Include clients either in the form of a presentation, testimonial or other way. If no clients can be present (for example for children that may be in school during the visit) letters or pictures may help show the organization's impact.
- Arrange a facility tour if possible, and don't be afraid to point out the signs of poverty!
- Discuss the grant proposal ahead of time and ask for feedback from staff members about potential red flags.
- Make sure key staff members such as program directors and financial director are available to answer questions and provide data as needed.
- Follow up with site visitors after the event to make sure their questions were answered to and get an indication of the timeline for decision-making. Sending thank you emails or letters is another good idea for making a positive impression.
Hope your next site visit is a good one!