When I first started grant writing, “social media” didn’t exist. Facebook was years from creation, and Twitter was even further from existence. We did things the old fashioned way: called a foundation for information, wrote them a letter, or looked at their website.
Now, though, tools like Twitter and Facebook are so widely used that it’s tough to find a moderately-sized nonprofit or a large foundation that isn’t using social media in some way.
And though grant writing is one of the slowest-evolving creatures on the planet (glitchy online applications a case in point), your grant writing may benefit from social media in a few ways.
First, social media can be a good way to get to know grantmakers and their friends. Who they’re retweeting, who they’re following, and what they’re talking about, can lend clues about what they might fund.
Grantmakers may also release announcements about upcoming deadlines or new information via social media, so follow them closely to learn about the latest developments.
You can also connect to grantmakers through Twitter and Facebook to get questions answered. It’s a public arena, so they may be more likely to get back to you quickly than they would through email — otherwise they risk coming across as a deadbeat.
Last, you’re not just connecting with foundations. You can also reach out to other grant writers who may have tips, or other industry specialists who can clue you into the latest research or findings which may help with your need statement or with program development.