👻 Funders who ghost

Here’s how the story goes. You identify a potential funder that looks like a good fit. Then you reach out and get a meeting. The meeting goes really well. The funder is enthusiastic about your organization and your program. You reach consensus a proposal that they indicate would be fundable. A few days later you submit a great proposal, and then

You wait.

And wait.

And wait.

You send a follow-up email to confirm the funder received your proposal and ask if they have any questions for feedback.

And you wait some more.

Crickets.

You email again.

You go old school and call, leaving a voicemail.

Finally you give up and make a mental note to shade the funder when you run into them at the next nonprofit conference or happy hour.

I find these funders who ghost to be incredibly unprofessional, and all too common. Even more so in Kansas City where people are too polite, when actually ignoring a colleague like this is very impolite.

Maybe the funder is too busy to reply, too busy to say no, or too busy to give feedback. So? We are all too busy to do some of the basic parts of our jobs, but we make the time anyway. If didn’t, we would gain a reputation as unprofessional and unreliable.

Ginning up the courage to say no or to disappoint someone is a sign up professionalism and personal integrity. Wasting a colleague’s time shows a lack of both qualities.


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