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Even the most artful and comprehensive grant proposal may not convey all the information necessary for a foundation to make a fully informed decision about a grant request. And sometimes, there is nothing that can replace the opportunity to sit down face-to-face with an applicant, see agency staff in action, and flesh out important details about an organization or program.
For this reason, often there is nothing as informative to a grantmaker as a pre-grant site visit. For a site visit to be successful, however, some planning is required by those on both sides of the process. Based on review of the proposal and/or initial discussions with the applicant, a funder will generally prepare several questions in advance, and pose others based on interaction at the visit. Applicants should prepare answers and documentation necessary to address likely questions, as well as be ready to explain and illustrate the need for the grant requested.
A site visit does not infer a grant is forthcoming. It is an investigative fact-finding method used by grantmakers to determine the advisability of investing in a particular program or agency.
IRS determination, lobbying activities, independent or umbrella agency, governance and administrative capacity, history, mergers and name changes, mission, fundraising.
Sufficient staff and support, training and development, levels of experience and qualifications, communication, turnover, decision making and problem-solving capabilities, role definition and workload appropriations, understanding of program or proposal, dependency on volunteer staff.
Location, ability to attract and accommodate clients, accessibility to constituency, physical space and layout, compliance with code, upkeep and cleanliness, equipment and supplies, furniture, conduciveness to productivity, confidentiality of records and files, storage of hazardous materials and medications and supplies.
Geographic area served, number and demographics of people served, number of program specific staff, stated goals and purposes, evaluation and outcome measures, internal review processes, activities related to grant funds compared to on-going services, staff accountability and responsibilities, duplication of services, referral networks, documentation of activities.
Current operating budget, program budget, fundraising, cost allotments, salaries, operational expenses, indirect costs, staff responsible for financial affairs and budgeting, recent audit, billing opportunities and strategies, fees.