I have a donor in mind for support of my program...what do I do next?

Please make sure to contact the Office of Corporate & Foundation Relations to ensure that your project is coordinated with other University of Memphis efforts. The University may already have a relationship with the funder. We want to add value to what you do by assisting with developing and writing proposals, acting as a point of contact, etc.

How do I find out what kinds of gifts are being made by a corporation or foundation?

The Office of Corporate & Foundation Relations can advise on current and past gifts made to UofM. This information can be very helpful in preparing your request. Please contact us at 901-678-2930 or cfr@memphis.edu.

Several of my recent requests have been declined. What are corporations and foundations looking for?

Corporate and foundation support represents just 15% of giving nationwide and is extremely competitive. To be successful, your program or project must be leading-edge, exciting, and stand out from the crowd. Your proposal must also be well-written and fall within the interests of your identified prospective funder. Do not become discouraged -- most proposals fail because funders lack the money to fund every good request. The Office of Corporate & Foundation Relations can help you identify possible partnerships that match your interests and can help craft the best approaches.

Why can't I approach the major local foundations and corporations?

The UofM carefully approaches local large foundations and corporations, many of which have active relationships with the University. The UofM has a priority-driven agenda with a few select funders and a process in place to ensure that the same few corporations and foundations are not simultaneously inundated with requests from our University. Many of these relationships are managed through the President's Office, and approaches are made for major gifts for key University priorities. 

Often, there are current conversations happening with corporate and foundation funders and/or there is a longstanding relationship. Additionally, funders will sometimes request that UofM coordinates all proposals centrally, and this is accomplished through the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations. Therefore, please contact the Director of Development in your College or the Office of Corporate & Foundation Relations prior to contacting any foundations or corporations for philanthropic support.

I am interested in soliciting a particular corporation or foundation. May I?

For the most part, yes. However, to make this effective, please contact the Office of Corporate & Foundations Relations before contacting a corporation or foundation for funding.

How can I determine if someone else at UofM is approaching the corporation or foundation I hope to pursue for funding?

The Office of Corporate & Foundation Relations maintains a list of all the funders that we know of that are being approached by UofM. Feel free to contact the Director of Development in your College or the Office of Corporate & Foundation Relations for information and advice about the funder you plan to approach.

I feel confident in my ability to prepare and submit a competitive grant proposal. Why must I get approval from anyone before proceeding?

Your Dean and Department Chair are responsible for guiding their areas according to a strategic plan. Sometimes a project is not right for the strategic direction of the department; sometimes the timing is not right; sometimes another proposal is already in progress to the same funder you have in mind. The approval process outlined is designed to coordinate the grant seeking efforts of the faculty and staff at UofM.

What is meant by a "match"?

Sometimes as a condition of receiving a grant, a funder requires the applicant to provide or raise cash or in-kind goods and services for the project. The match is often expressed as a ratio. A 1:1 match means the applicant must provide or raise an amount equal to the amount requested of the funder. A synonymous term is cost-sharing. Determine if the funder allows in-kind donations to serve as the "match."

What are in-kind goods and services?

In-kind goods and services are items of value for which an organization would have to pay cash if it were necessary to purchase them. In-kind goods and services can often be used to fulfill a match requirement. For example, if a colleague who has expertise in program assessment agrees to assess your project without expecting payment, the value of those services could be considered an in-kind contribution.