Sometimes these initial conversations can save you valuable time in applying for a grant program that was not a fit—always do your homework on their funding goals ahead of time! But often, they are valuable knowledge-gathering sessions: use the call or meeting to identify the funder’s key priorities and desired language, which many times cannot be found on the organization’s Web site; figure out which of your programs or initiatives is the best fit; and determine how much money you should request. Finally, go out on a limb and ask if they would be willing to preview your Letter of Intent or proposal before you submit it officially. This advance look will give them a sense of ownership over your request and provide you with valuable feedback. Start today by calling the offices of your top foundation prospects and seeing if you can get on a relevant program officer’s schedule.