Get Stronger Private Grants By Engaging Your Public
By Sheldon Bart, Senior Associate
Every organization has its “public,” and we should know all we can about it because public outreach can pay off in grant or sponsorship dollars.
For example, I’m on the Board of Governors of the American Polar Society (APS), and I recently suggested that we conduct a survey of our public, which is to say, our members, to learn what we could about them. Twenty-five percent of the membership responded. We learned that 37% of the respondents have been to the Arctic or the Antarctic, while 56 percent have been to both polar regions. That means a whopping 93% of the members comprising this sample have seen one or both polar landscapes first-hand.
Here’s what else we learned:
- Most of our members have a science, military, industry, or government background
- Two-thirds have postgraduate degrees and one-third have doctorates
- One-third of our members are licensed professionals subject to the oversight of a governing body safeguarding the public interest (i.e., attorneys, engineers, CPAs, architects, commercial pilots, etc.)
- Sixty percent have published articles in scholarly or popular journals and/or books
- Ninety percent own their own homes, and more than 10% own businesses with two or more permanent employees
- Fully 67% intend to use our dynamic new website (americanpolarsociety.org) and Facebook page to keep up with polar events and stay in touch with polar professionals and enthusiasts from around the nation and the world
These results reflect most favorably on our organization. They tell us how unique we are and will help us sell ourselves to grantmakers and commercial sponsors. Don’t hesitate then to find ways to tap into your community, your public, because, as the APS survey suggests, you might thereby raise your profile in the competition for private dollars.