I like most of you do not advocate a shotgun approach to grantseeking. I try to craft proposals that are closely aligned with funder guidelines and submit only proposals that I am pretty sure are going to get funded.
However, on a recent junket to Los Angeles, I visited "Children of the Night" a shelter for homeless youth. We are building a similar program in San Francisco. The ED did all the fundraising: She wrote a boilerplate proposal, (a good proposal)and assembled a board roster, audit, agency budget and some marketing materials, and then sent this same package to every foundation that she had an address for.
She completely disregarded funder guidelines, interests, deadlines and formatting requirements. There is no ask amount in the proposal.
Of course most of these proposals were unsuccessful. But some funders do send checks, and many more respond back asking for further information or a new proposal according to guidelines.
Apparently, this organization receives no government funding, and their something like 2.5 million budget is balanced through this process, and throught direct mail solicitation.
I had non-fundraisers asking me why I didn't adopt this method, much to my dismay.
Yes, I know it's hard to believe. I can offer no explanation except that "homeless child prostitutes" make for a compelling case for support.