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How to Develop a Corporate Grant Strategy for Business Leaders

Developing a corporate grant strategy is an essential part of any organization's philanthropy and social responsibility initiatives. A well-crafted grant strategy can help your organization achieve its mission, meet its impact goals, and build relationships with key stakeholders.

If you want to develop a corporate grant strategy, here’s how to do it. First, let’s talk more about what a corporate grant is and the types of corporate grants out there.

What is a Corporate Grant?

A corporate grant is a financial award given by a company or organization to an individual, group, or organization for a specific purpose, such as research or charitable purposes. Corporate grants can vary in size, scope, and purpose, and may be given in the form of cash, in-kind services, or other resources.

Types of Corporate Grants

Corporate grants are typically awarded to organizations or individuals who are able to demonstrate the potential to make a positive impact in their field. Common types of corporate grants include:

  • Community grants support projects or initiatives within a given community, often targeting a specific demographic group.
  • Project grants support specific projects or initiatives implemented by nonprofit organizations
  • Research grants support research into a particular field or topic
  • Scholarship grants support students pursuing higher education or other educational pursuits
  • Endowment grants support an organization's long-term sustainability

Creating a Corporate Grant Strategy

Creating a corporate grant strategy can be a daunting task for corporations. It requires a lot of research, analysis, and coordination between multiple departments and stakeholders.

A corporate grant strategy should be tailored to the specific needs of the company and should include a plan for how the company will engage with potential grantees, how it will allocate funds, and how it will measure the impact of its investments.

With the right strategy in place, corporations can ensure that their grant-making efforts are effective and that their funding is making a meaningful difference.

1. Identify potential grantees

Start by researching organizations that meet the criteria of your corporate grant strategy - and align with the social and environmental impact goals for your company. It is important to look for organizations that have a strong mission, clear goals, and a track record of success.

Furthermore, consider the types of causes you want to support, the geographic areas you want to serve, and the populations you want to target.

2. Define your grant criteria:

Make sure to clearly define the criteria for your grants. This should include the amount of money you are willing to provide, the type of project you are interested in funding, and the timeline for when the grant funds should be used. Many corporate grants can be effective if given in a lump sum upfront, but other grants may be disbursed over time based on milestones.

Additionally, consider if you will require any reporting or accountability from the grantees to ensure that the grant money is being used effectively. 

3. Create a grant application:

Develop an application process for potential grantees to apply for your grants. This should include the necessary documents and information that they need to provide to be considered, including a detailed project proposal, budget, and timeline.

Make sure to set a deadline for when applications will be accepted to ensure that the process is organized and efficient.

4. Review applications

Carefully review each application to determine if it fits the criteria of your grant strategy.

Make sure to pay attention to the details of each application to ensure that the organization is a good fit for your corporate grant. Consider the organization's track record, the impact of the proposed project, and the qualifications of the people who will be implementing the project.

5. Finalize the selection

Once you have identified the organizations that you want to provide grants to, finalize the selection and notify them of your decision.

Make sure to provide clear instructions on how the grant money should be used and the timeline for when it should be used.

6. Monitor and evaluate

Monitor the progress of the grantees and evaluate the impact of your grants on the organizations and communities you are trying to help.

Consider tracking metrics such as the number of people served, the amount of money raised, and broader outcomes in the communities where the grant money is being used.

7. Report your results

Keep track of your results and report them to your organization. This will help in understanding the impact of the grants and informing future grant strategies. Sharing the results internally can also provide employees with a sense of connection to the important causes that the company is supporting.

8. Adjust your strategy

As you continue to monitor and evaluate your grants, you may need to make changes to your strategy to ensure that it is effective.

Consider changes such as increasing or decreasing the amount of money provided, shifting the focus to different cause areas, or changing the types of organizations you are willing to fund.

9. Celebrate successes

Celebrate the successes of your grantees and the impact that your grants have had on the organizations and communities you are helping.

Share stories and success metrics with your team and your organization to showcase the impact of your corporate grant strategy. This can also be a time to jointly celebrate alongside the nonprofit partners who are recipients of the grants. 

Disbursement Options

As part of your corporate grant strategy, you’ll need to decide on how to disburse the grants to your recipients. Most commonly, companies start a foundation to hold and disburse funds to nonprofits.

Why use a corporate foundation?

A corporate foundation is a nonprofit organization that is funded by a for-profit corporation. It works in collaboration with the corporation to support charitable activities that are related to the company’s areas of interest. 

The foundation can provide grants to charitable organizations, as well as support employees’ volunteer work, and provide in-kind donations.

Often, opening a corporate foundation takes a great deal of administrative burden that companies don’t have the resources to support. A simpler and more affordable option is to use a Donor-Advised Fund

Can I use a Donor-Advised Fund as a corporate foundation?

Yes. A corporate donor-advised fund can act as a corporate foundation. A corporate DAF enables granting funds to causes - and by extension, nonprofits - the company supports. 

It works by providing donors with a tax-deductible donation to the fund, which they can then use to provide grants to their chosen charities over time. The donor is not required to make the grants immediately, and can instead choose when and how to distribute the funds. 

The DAF also provides donors with a way to streamline giving and manage charitable activities.

Open a DAF with Groundswell

Setting up a corporate grant strategy for business leaders is a great way to provide additional funding for projects and initiatives that may not have been possible without this extra source of funding. 

With careful planning and research, business leaders can create a grant strategy that best suits the needs of their company and organization, as well as their overall impact goals and objectives.

Groundswell provides corporate DAFs that deliver all the benefits of a corporate foundation without the administrative burden at a much lower cost. 

Book a free consultation and learn more about opening a DAF for distributing corporate grants.

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