Thanks to my good friend and mentor Dick Zellner; he clued me in on a simple premise and fundamental principle in fundraising… "Donors want to be investors in a well-managed organization that has an exciting plan for the future that benefits the community."
2 things to place high on your list:
1) Detail your program and identify outcomes for measurement. Funders like tightly controlled programs that yield data that identifies success. No numbers without stories and no stories without numbers.
2) Develop a case for funding that describes the community need, how you plan to fill that need, and how funders can participate. Your plan should allow prospective donors to share in your journey. "If you ask for money you get advice, if you ask for advice, you get money." – DZ
And, remember the best way to improve your brand is by simply being remarkable in the work you perform.