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When F&P Editor Lise Taylor attended one day of training that combined grantseeker and prospect research workshops, she found both provided best practice processes, tools and skills to assist fundraisers in their work.

When F&P Editor Lise Taylor attended one day of training that combined grantseeker and prospect research workshops, she found both provided best practice processes, tools and skills to assist fundraisers in their work. 


WorkshopsAs part of my continuing education around fundraising and philanthropy, I recently attended two half-day fundraiser training courses.

The first, a grantseeker workshop run by Strategic Grants, offered me information about an aspect of fundraising I hadn’t dealt with previously.

The second by FR&C, held in the afternoon at the same venue, was on prospect research for major gifts. I had already been interviewing major gifts fundraisers and editing articles on this topic but it was great to develop a more in-depth understanding of the complexities involved in prospect research.


Strategic Grants grantskeeker workshop

As a ‘newbie’ to grantseeking, I found this workshop highly informative, and the presentation by Harriett Carter clear and concise. I learned all the basics about what’s required to get an organisation grant ready and then how to follow through on building relationships, understanding how the process is also about achieving outcomes for both the community and funders, and how to apply for grants.

It was especially interesting to realise that 80% of the work needs to be around preparation and relationships, and only 20% of the time should be spent writing grant applications. Also noteworthy was how essential it is to do your research and only apply to funders that fund the type of work your nonprofit does. “Grantseeking is not just about getting grants,” Carter explained to the workshop attendees.

“It is highly relationship driven – just like a business partnership. Grantseeking is about achieving outcomes for the funder and for the community.” The workshop provided an overview of the grants landscape, including the steps to ensure your organisation is grant ready, advice on project packaging, developing grant-ready project plans, setting up internal processes, tips on relationship building and how to write a great grant application.

Also covered were the next steps to follow when an application is successful or unsuccessful, and effective reporting, acquittal and stewardship strategies. One happy attendee was Tracey Grobbelaar, Director of Development & Community Relations at Siena College in Melbourne, Vic.

“The workshop was interactive and provided many opportunities for delegates to discuss and ask questions,” she states. “Our presenter was both knowledgeable and engaging. Harriett provided in-depth examples of how to plan, approach and write grants.

“The six tips on ‘building the story’ along with real examples were excellent, as were the writing checklist, project information template and opportunity to hear from Kerrie Mattiske, Queensland Manager at The John Villiers Trust, about her grantmaker’s perspective.”

FR&C prospect research for major gifts workshop

The basis of this helpful half-day workshop is learning how to identify your organisation’s potential major donors and qualify them through effective prospect research. For me, it was fascinating to learn that in relation to prospect research the major gifts process is actually very similar to the grantseeking process.

The presenter, FR&C’s highly experienced Conor McCarthy, covered all bases including an overview of wealth in Australia, key developments, the main questions to ask around prospect research, how to effectively use the information and how to determine ask amounts.

McCarthy pointed out that, “With major gift philanthropy growing in Australia, understanding how to do prospect research well is more important than ever.” Two key points he emphasised were around how essential it is to take a donor-centred approach whereby you have a strong consideration for what a funder wants to see happen to his or her donation, and that prospect research can inform your cultivation plan for individual major donors. He also offered pointers on the essential question of how much to ask for.

In her testimonial about the workshop, Grobbelaar says, “Conor has a fresh, integrative approach to delivering the prospect research course. The course was informative and focused on all aspects of fundraising and prospect research. Conor catered for all levels of fundraisers from small to large organisations.

The use of the 12 key tools, such as search engines and social media for biographical research, were extremely helpful as was the opportunity for delegates to share their experiences and ask questions.”

Along with the excellent research resources provided to participants to help them carry out effective prospect research, including information about identification, evaluation, capacity assessment etc, participants received a free copy of FR&C’s new book, Understanding Major Donors: A Guide to Prospect Research for Australian Fundraisers. Priced from $30, it is available at

Lise Taylor received a complimentary registration to attend both workshops.

The lowdown

The cost for Strategic Grants’ half-day Grantseeker Workshop and the half-day FR&C Prospect Research workshop is $275 each inclusive of GST. The combined one-day workshops are $550.50. Workshops are held year round in major cities in Australia. For further details, including dates and locations, visit the training section at and the events section at

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