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Corporate organizations looking to make an impact in the nonprofit sector can help out in a variety of ways. Many companies will offer to sponsor events or donate when needed to organizations that are looking for funds. However, there is a method that corporate philanthropy can adopt if it is looking to be more proactive in their giving. Creating a grants program is a great way to reach out to nonprofit organizations in need. Grants are just one of the many funding options for nonprofits to raise enough money to sustain their organizations and help their communities. By creating an ongoing grants program for nonprofits to apply to, corporate foundations can ensure the funding is going towards a cause that aligns with their values, goals, and mission.
Do Your Research & Assess Your Resources
The first step in creating a grants program is to assess your company. You will want to examine your company’s finances to determine whether you are in a place where you can create a grants program. It would not be a good idea to offer the money without being able to back it up. Carefully prepare for your grant program and make sure you have specific amounts set aside to contribute.
Take time to investigate the needs of the community and research your philanthropic interests. You can reference the Corporate Grants Guide to see what other companies are involved in and to gain ideas. A key component of making a grants program is to ensure there is a need for it. You can start by looking locally and getting in contact with experts in the area. For example, if you are wanting to make an impact with arts in the community, try reaching out to local theaters or art learning centers to gauge their need. These sources can inform you about the funding they currently receive and redirect you to other organizations in need if they are getting along fine with funding.
Integrate Your Mission and Vision
When looking to create a grants program, keep your company’s mission and vision in mind. By tailoring your grants program to the goals you have, you will more easily be able to attract specific projects and work in issue areas that you are interested in. This gives your company more control over how the money is used as well. For example, you may specifically want to provide arts funding for afterschool programs. By holding your mission and vision at the center of the creation process, you’ll be able to come across organizations that align with your strategy, core values, and goals.
Set Up the Application Structure for Your Grant
Once you have determined what you are wanting to fund, you are able to start setting up the various components of the program. This includes creating an application, guidelines, and requirements that nonprofit organizations need to meet in order to apply for your grant. You can adapt your application using a template or create a completely new application. Usually, these packets contain instructions, a cover sheet, grant proposal, and budget information for the applicants.
Include clear instructions for nonprofit organizations to follow. These need to outline the deadlines you have set for applying as well as the materials they need for submission. It also helps to provide tips that touch on what you’re looking for in an application. For example, you can suggest researching your company and its philosophy.
Cover sheets are used to provide you more information on the nonprofit that is applying for your grants program. This should include the date, important information related to the organization like their legal name, address, website, executive director, and a good phone number. Provide space on the cover sheet for the nonprofit to also include their tax identification number as well as more background on their founding, mission, staff, and budget.
This is also a great section to ask about information you would be interested in before awarding them grant money. You can include space to ask about the organization’s objectives, programs, and accomplishments- anything that would help you with your decision-making.
Determine the type of budget form you will use as well as any additional attachments you may need. Your decisions can be based on things such as financial information, a budget, or the income and expenses of the nonprofit organization.
Spread the Word
The last step is to share your newly created grants program with everyone. Get the word out there so that nonprofits know there is funding available. You can also use grant databases like Foundation Center, Grant Station, or others to share information. These sites can help you organize your grant based on your areas of interests, making it easier for nonprofits to search for your program.
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