As a funder, you can move away from transactional work and into transformational collaboration with nonprofit partners. Here’s how one Grants Manager and one community-led nonprofit did just that.
Too much, too soon
In October 2022, Academy Camp, a nonprofit in Japan supporting children affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, learned they were selected to receive a GlobalGiving grant through GlobalGiving’s partnership with Riot Games.
Academy Camp had participated in GlobalGiving’s grant program before, and the organization was thrilled to receive additional funding. The Academy Camp team expected a similar experience in the new grant program. However, when they received their grant agreement from GlobalGiving, they found the award amount was significantly more than the previous award. When the team realized they would need to spend the award funding within a year based on the timeline outlined in their grant agreement, concerns about being able to accept the award began to mount.
Though the funding would be critical for Academy Camp and life-changing for kids in their community, it was important to the team to be honest about their organization’s ability to spend the funds within the one-year timeframe. So, the team wrote to GlobalGiving sharing that they were thankful for the nomination, but they couldn’t accept the funding.
“We wanted to be honest and make sure that the funding was going to an organization that could spend it within a year,” Academy Camp said.
When the Academy Camp team turned down the funds through GlobalGiving, they thought that was the end of their participation in the grant program. But that wasn’t the case.
Their GlobalGiving Grants Manager, Jessica, recognized the impact the funding would have for Academy Camp and their community and that the only barrier to them accepting the funds was the spending timeline. After receiving their message, Jessica responded to Academy Camp: “How long would it take for you to spend down the funding? Because we can be flexible.”
For Academy Camp, this was a welcome surprise. The team knew their activities were valuable and that the funding would make a significant difference in their work, so learning there was flexibility in the funding terms rather than a one-size-fits-all approach gave them hope. Transformative relationships between grantees and funders allow this flexible funding magic to happen.
While some organizations may be able to absorb and spend a grant all at once, others may need additional time. When the Academy Camp team connected with GlobalGiving, it allowed the GlobalGiving team to understand the organization’s needs and practice flexible grantmaking, opening the door to possibilities.
Now, the Academy Camp team can worry less about funding timelines and focus fully on the children they serve.
“Since we can now spend the funds over five years, we can actually do what we need to.”
To serve the children in their community, Academy Camp provides workshop camps packed with playing, learning, and team-building activities. Professionals in a variety of fields facilitate sessions for the young participants. The team is planning to take their camp program abroad in 2024. It’s a long-awaited expansion of their programming that’s now possible because they were able to accept the GlobalGiving funds.
By extending the timeline to spend funds, a “no” to funding became a “yes.” And a transactional funding email turned into a transformative relationship.
Learn how GlobalGiving’s grantmaking services can help your company provide flexible funding to community-led nonprofits around the world.
Featured Photo: School of Fun for Children in Fukushima by Academy Camp