Chelsea Staley: What grant funders look for in applications

Guest: Chelsea Staley joined the Petco Foundation team as the Director of Lifesaving in May 2020. Chelsea oversees the Foundation’s grants team and supports animal welfare organizations nationwide. Before joining the Foundation, Chelsea served as the Executive Director of Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association in West Virginia. She also has an MBA from the University of Charleston.

Main question: What do grant funders look for in grant applications?


  • If you have never written a grant before, there is no need to be intimidated. Experience is not essential for writing a successful grant.

  • You don’t need to be invited to apply for grants. Major funders often have grant cycles, and you can learn about these application due dates on their websites.

  • Each grant maker has their own areas of focus. Tailor your request to each foundation. Read the instructions carefully and follow them.

  • Petco Foundation bases grant decisions on an organization’s data. They look at annual budget, animals handled and those saved with the resources you have. They will work with you if you've got a commitment to lifesaving.

  • Be a great partner with funders. If they call you, call back right away. Write the follow-up report on time. If acknowledgment of the funder is requested, comply on a timely basis. If the foundation has initiatives they want recipients to support, an adoption event for example, enthusiastically participate.




Recorded September 22, 2020

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