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Turn failure into funding


Worried to tell your foundation that your outcomes didn’t meet expectations? Don’t be. Most foundations are run by business-minded people who understand long-term success often comes with short-term failures. Turn a disappointing outcome into an opportunity with these three steps:

  1. Highlight the lessons learned. Forward-thinking stakeholders find insights are often as impactful as outcomes. Use your data to dramatize what you’ve learned, the adjustments you’ll make, and the tremendous value of this knowledge going forward.
  2. Prove your agency is an honest, effective partner. It’s tempting to sweep a poor outcome under the rug. Don’t! Give your funder the full story and you will prove your agency to be a trustworthy, competent partner. The worst thing that can happen is to have a foundation exec uncover bad news on their own.
  3. Demonstrate your due diligence. You should review your case notes and staff memos to point out the steps you took to give your project every chance to succeed. Even foundation execs answer to someone, so give your champion the story she needs to justify future partnering.

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