All Laced Up – Unexpected Windfall Crisis!

by Ellisha Caplan

Money Everywhere

Hypothetical: You’ve started a capital campaign to raise funds for a large building project.  You are reaching out to individual prospects, but have also sent out several large requests to foundations.  Out of the blue, a donor contacts you and says she’d like to donate the rest of the money needed for the project, on the very same day that you receive a sizeable check from one of the foundations.

What do you do?

A client asked a similar question of us this week, and after the initial shock of the question – how amazing would it be to have a “one and done” resolution to a major capital campaign?! – I thought, “Call the foundation!”

Lynn and I agreed that any foundation that wanted to fund the project would likely want the organization to keep the money, but that they would surely want to know what was going on.  They have taken the time to consider the request and have disbursed the funds, so they are surely invested in the organization.  The rest is just details that need to be discussed.

Communicating with funding organizations is easily as important as communicating with your individual donors.  This applies not only to incredible windfall donations that turn a grant into surplus, but also to significant changes for foundation-funded programs.

For some reason, foundations carry a certain mystique that leaves people questioning moves that would be simple in any other situation.  Perhaps it is because they are intimidated by the high stakes and sometimes complex application process?  Whatever the reason for the lack of clarity, the answer to the problem of what to do when the unexpected happens is simple – Call the foundation!

Shoestring Solutions for Nonprofits is passionate about helping small nonprofits meet their mission.  All Laced Up is just a taste of how we can help you gain traction with your constituents, raise funds, and make the most impact with limited resources.  Questions?  Contact us:


2 thoughts on “All Laced Up – Unexpected Windfall Crisis!

  1. Absolutely — Foundations WANT to be communicated with. They’re not monolithic – they’re people. Depending on the donor, you could also talk with the donor and explain that you’ve receive the foundation funds, and perhaps the donor would like to redirect their gift to another aspect of the organization.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s