How To Set Up Your Corporate Foundation Grantmaking For Success

Grantmaking processes may never be perfect—there’s always room to improve. These questions can spark ideas as your corporate foundation updates its application and decision-making processes.


Did you know that nonprofits receive an average of just 5% of their funding from companies? That means that for many nonprofits, applying for corporate grants can be both bewildering and time-consuming. What can you do to reduce the burden on your grant applicants, and perhaps ease your own workload along the way? Here are six questions to consider to set up your corporate foundation grantmaking processes for success:

    How can you make your grant application more user-friendly for grant applicants?

    Simplifying the application with fewer questions will likely reduce the effort it takes to complete. But you can also help by providing more context and resources. For example, offer explanation text beside questions that might be causing confusion among your grant applicants, be sure to include contact information, and include a link to a resource for first-time grantees such as our grantee toolkit.

    Are you including expectations of results and reporting from grantees in your application?

    If you wish to achieve a certain social impact outcome with your grant award, make sure that the nonprofit is setting a results-oriented goal for the grant from the beginning so that they can measure success against that. Similarly, if you will be asking for mid-term or final reports from your grantees, outline what will be expected in these reports and the reporting timelines.

    Are you offering opportunities for grant application questions to be answered, either by documenting them in an FAQ or by hosting an information session?

    Anticipate grant applicants’ questions by offering answers upfront on your website or within the grant application. Alternatively, you can provide a forum for grant applicants to voice their challenges ahead of the grant application deadline by hosting a call or video conference so that grant applicants can learn exactly what you’re looking for before submitting their applications. You could end up with stronger applications as a result.

    Are you targeting the right organizations in your request for proposals?

    You don’t want to waste the time of organizations who don’t fit your grant program areas of funding or who are otherwise unlikely to be selected based on your decision-making criteria. Think about how you are sourcing grant applications, and determine if you can reach a better set of organizations either in your distribution of the application or in the way you frame the opportunity.

    Are you providing transparency into your decision-making processes to your grant applicants?

    If an organization understands that part of your decision-making process considers whether your grant can help engage their employees or reach a particular underserved community, they might be able to better tailor the proposed program accordingly.

    Could you or should you involve more decision-makers?

    Grant recommendations can come from an employee committee, foundation staff, or a corporate foundation board. Sometimes, it might involve representatives of the community that is served by the grant. While adding more decision-makers can sometimes lengthen or complicate the decision-making process, it also opens up the opportunity to gain more diverse perspectives and to work collaboratively with the grantee to determine the true local needs.

Learn more about how GlobalGiving can support your corporate foundation grantmaking.


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