Did you know what are Nonprofit Grants and how does it help to fund to grow programs? Also, where are such grants, and who are the organizations running them? In this article, we will see in detail about grants available for nonprofit organizations and Nonprofit grants.
What are Nonprofit Grants?
A nonprofit grant is a capital, credit, or loan given to nonprofit organizations by corporations, foundations, or government agencies.
They are helpful for nonprofits because they provide the opportunity for additional funding that doesn’t need to be paid back and increase awareness of their organization.
Where to find Nonprofit grants? How do they work? and how to think through if they are the best fit for your cause. There are many different types of organizations that offer grants.
Six Types of Nonprofit Grantmakers. (Organizations)
It includes corporate foundations, corporate giving programs, and private or family foundations. Public or community foundations, grants from the federal government. And grants from your local government for each of these types of grantmakers.
I’m going to talk through what they are. How do you find these types of grants, the pros, and cons of all these types of grants? And also how to think through whether or not that type of grant could be a good fit for your specific non-profit organization.
Let’s see different types of Nonprofit Organizations
1. Corporate Foundation.
What is a Corporate Foundation?
A corporate foundation is a separate nonprofit funding organization set up by a company for the explicit purpose of giving out charitable grants to nonprofits.
Now, this would fall under the private foundation category since it is owned and operated by the company in its own interest.
It makes all the decisions. There are a couple of different ways you could find corporate foundations one is by using a search tool online.
Something like foundation center.org where you can search around for different foundations and different company foundations.
You can also just go directly to a company’s website. There you can look for something called charitable giving or corporate social responsibility a page that has that title.
There you can find out whether they have a corporate foundation and a little bit about how it works and how to get more information.
Not all companies have a foundation but of course. You can roll the dice and google something like company name plus foundation and see what comes up maybe you’ll find one.
Okay, so what are the pros and the cons of going after corporate foundation funding for your nonprofit?
The pros are that these grants can sometimes come in fairly large amounts, and once you’re able to get your foot in the door and establish a relationship with a company.
It might be likely to continue to fund your work year after year not indefinitely of course but you might be able to have a long-term relationship with a particular corporate foundation.
The cons are of course that like many grants and dare I say most grants can be quite competitive. It’s a little bit hard to get your foot in the door by having a relationship with a company.
How to Apply for a Corporate Grant?
Before you apply for a grant their foundation might help you, so you could try something like inviting that company.
To have their employees come volunteer with you or do a talk for that company. Do something to get them to build a relationship with you. Before you go ahead and apply for a grant could I talk about corporate sponsorships?
This idea of brand alignment applies to companies that are looking for causes to fund that alignment. With the issue areas that they care about. And that also has some good brand alignment with what they do as a company.
On the one hand, companies tend to fund issues and causes that have some kind of correlating relationship with what they do as companies.
For example, banks will often fund something like financial literacy programs or education or housing and homelessness programs.
It has a sort of direct and or indirect relationship with the banking process. It means in this case that these issues and causes are related to a community’s need for banking services.
On the other hand, sometimes a company decides what to fund based on the interests of the CEO or the leadership of the company.
2. Charitable Grants.
It looks a lot different and that is a corporate giving program.
It could take a couple of different forms. The corporate giving program might allow its own employees to form a committee.
It can vote on a particular cause that they want to give some sponsorship dollars to or some of the corporate funding.
It could be an employee matching program, where an employee of that company makes a personal donation to a cause. The company promises to match the donation by also donating that same amount up to a certain cap for example.
Okay, so how do you find opportunities to benefit from a corporate giving program?
Oftentimes a charity will end up on a particular company’s corporate giving program approved charities list. It is because the employees of that company have asked their higher-ups to add the non-profit to that list so as to get on these approved charity lists at different companies.
You really want to be getting to know the employees of these different companies you want to be inviting them to volunteer with you. Then tell them you know if your company has a corporate giving program or an employee matching program.
Please let us know and help us get on your approved charities list. We’d love to be able to work with you all and receive your support.
In this way, there are also some great websites out there that list the different companies across the country that offer employee matching programs. Some of them include double the donation or matchinggifts.com.
So check those out. Sometimes you can just do a search to see if a particular company you have in mind has a matching program.
Sometimes those sites will even link you to information about how those programs work. Also who to contact to get on those program’s lists?
So let’s talk pros and cons of corporate giving programs. One major pro is that it is a little bit easier to get your foot in the door for an opportunity like this.
If all you really need to do is to meet and convince a couple of the employees of that company. It may help you get on that list for your Nonprofit resources.
This can be a little bit easier than trying to convince the CEO of a company to give you a grant. The cons are that these donations tend to be a little bit smaller.
Of course, you still have to convince the employees at the company to pick your charity for charitable giving at the company. It’s one thing to be on a list of approved charities.
But that’s just the first step the employees need to know who you are they need to care about your cause. Then they need to pick your cause when they’re choosing where they want their donations.
This is a good option for your employee giving programs and corporate giving programs can be a good fit for organizations that are smaller. Because it takes a little bit less to get your foot in the door.
You don’t necessarily need to have this long-established reputation. Yet though that always helps because then more people know about you and might choose you to donate to and get their money matched from their company.
Of course but really it’s a great option for organizations of any size. Because if you can accumulate enough of these individual employees donating money and then having their company match it through a corporate giving program.
It can add up to quite a bit
3. Family Foundation.
Now, this is another type of private foundation meaning that it is run and all the decisions for it are made by a specific person. Or in this case, a private individual or a family person establishes family foundations.
When it wants to organize the way that they give to charity or perhaps they need some help administering grants. But it’s a way for folks to be able to give out their money in a more organized way.
It’s also a way some people put their funding into a tax-exempt entity to get that benefit of that but you do have a requirement.
When you have a family foundation you have to be giving out at least some percentage of the funding that’s available in the foundation every year in order to keep your tax-exempt status.
So how do you find family foundations once again you can use a foundation search tool something like foundationcenter.org or guidestar.org.
Some of these resources do cost a membership fee in order to be able to access their database of foundations. But there are also some ways that if you are savvy at doing some internet searches.
You can get a lot of this information for free too for example. Here is one way I might try to find some family foundations in my city using guidestar.org. First, you have to create a free login at Guidestar so you go ahead and do that login.
If you go to the search tool and narrow it down. You filter by the state that you’re located in and then your city. Then type the search keywords family foundation in the search bar. It tends to narrow down the list of Nonprofit resources in my city to family foundations.
Keep in their name too. So you really just kind of have to observe the list that results from this search and guide star. Then look for which ones are actually family foundations that give out grants to other non-profits.
Foundation is not a legal term. Other types of charities can put the word foundation. The cool thing you can do is once find some foundations in Guidestar.
You can look at their 990s or their tax forms from year to year. Look at what other nonprofits have funded and what types of patterns. You’re seeing in terms of the types of causes they seem to be interested in.
So that’ll give you some good clues as to whether that family foundation might be a good fit for you as well. So pros of trying to get a grant from a family foundation are once you establish a trusting relationship with a family foundation.
You might be able to get support in larger amounts and you might be able to get ongoing Nonprofit support.
If you become one of their favorite causes they might choose to support you year after year it’s never guaranteed but it might be able to help.
The major con of trying to get grant support from a family foundation is that it can be quite difficult sometimes to get on the radar of these foundations.
They’re often very private many of them don’t even have websites so it can take a while to find and build a relationship with one of these foundations. Thinking through whether this could be a good fit for you for this type of grant funding.
Just like every other type of grant funding I’ve discussed so far, it’s always about the priorities of the individual or in this case the family giving out the funding.
But nothing else you’ve just got to take a look at what they have funded. If they do have a website see what they describe as their priorities there and that’s one of the ways you’ll know if you’re a good fit for them.
Of course, like all of the grantmakers that I am talking about, there will be some kind of process to actually request a grant.
It could be a formal letter like you might see in a corporate foundation it might be that you simply get to know the family in this case with a family foundation.
It will decide whether it is going to make a grant to you. Really have to learn the different ways that different types of grantmakers ask you to request funds and follow those instructions in order to be able to access that support.
4. Community Foundation.
I’m going to talk I might also actually include some united ways in this as well. But these are public charities that pool together funds from usually multiple sources around the community.
It could be multiple individual donors could be many companies all working together putting their funds together.
And then that entity makes decisions about where to invest the funds in non-profits. In the community based on the region or community needs or their giving priorities for that year.
How do you find community foundations? You can do an online search for community foundations in your city. Just add your city’s name to your search with a community foundation.
You can also go to the website of the council of foundations. They have a whole map across the united states showing where all of the community foundations are located.
So for example here’s one I found in Philadelphia you can check out the site. They talk about the different types of grants that they offer as a community foundation and they have instructions.
Here on how you would go about applying for some of this grant support one of the major pros of community foundations is. It’s often easier to start a conversation with community foundations.
It’s more open so they will invite non-profits from around the community. The community needs to come to share what they do and tell their story to their staff.
The community wants to know about all of the non-profits in the community as much as possible. It helps inform their giving priorities and their giving decisions.
It is said a major con is that you have to understand that a community foundation is likely to choose its giving priorities based on the biggest gap. Or the biggest need in the region at that time so.
For example in my area childhood literacy and education were major topics for a couple of years. They primarily just wanted to fund organizations that did work around that topic.
So it might end up that they are only looking at a very narrow list of causes at that time. It really depends so you might just need to look at what they’re doing.
What issues they’re prioritizing? See if your cause aligns with what they’re retrying to do in that period of time and thinking through it.
If a community foundation is a good fit for you just have a conversation with them they will tell you straight out if you are a good fit for them. Or if you’d be wasting your time trying to apply for a grant through their processes.
At that time have a good conversation with them and send them an email. These are open organizations that want to hear from you.
5. Federal Government.
Now the federal government offers a variety of types of economic aid such as to small businesses. But, in this case, I’m specifically talking about grants made to nonprofits through federally available dollar shows.
Do you find federal government grants? You go to as simple as that there you can search for grants or requests for proposals.
They have out a request for a proposal is what it sounds like it’s when a grant-making entity.
It wants to hear from you for you to make a proposal pitch for what they should spend their money on.
So they’re asking for you to send them your pitch essentially by a certain deadline. The pro of getting a federal grant is that it can be a significant amount of money.
It’s often multi-year grants so you’d be getting that support for several years in a row. Presumably, the big con of a federal grant is there’s so much paperwork to qualify for a federal grant.
First, you have to have a lot of things in place like you have to have had are cent audit. It has to have come out as a clean audit for your nonprofit.
This is probably not something you would be able to get as a very small non-profit that hasn’t even had an audit yet or a track record of success in the reporting required.
The record-keeping required for federal grants is so intense that I know of many non-profits who when they get a federal grant. Have to hire a new staff person whose sole job is to just report and keep records for that grant.
That’s how much there is to do in terms of reporting and record-keeping for a federal grant. You can kind of see why this would make sense they are using taxpayer dollars to fund the organization.
So they really need to make sure that the organization is proving itself that it is meeting its goals. It is said it would otherwise they could get in trouble with the public.
And also spending the money in a way that the public might deem inappropriate is a federal grant a good fit for you.
So here’s how it works considering that usually, the federal government is giving out a grant. Because the non-profit receiving the grant is fulfilling some kind of service that the government itself might have needed to fulfill if it weren’t for that nonprofit.
For example, developing affordable housing solutions in this case the government has determined that it is more cost-effective and efficient. It just pays a non-profit that specializes in that. It is because they are the experts in that topic that it would be to try to do it themselves.
So think about if your nonprofit is offering service to the community the state or the whole country. It could typically fall under the domain of something.
The government would need to do that. There might be a grant out there that aligns with your work
6. The local Government or Municipal Grantmaker
I’m going to talk about the local government or municipal grantmaker. These grants are grants made to non-profits by the local government, the city, or the county usually from dollars that are part of the city or county’s annual approved budget.
These are not to be confused with city or county contracts. That might be a situation similar to what I described previously about the federal government. Where a city or county has basically hired a non-profit to fulfill some kind of service for the city.
This is not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the city or county’s decision to actually make charitable grants to nonprofits in the community. The contracts might also be a good fit for you.
You can check that out you can find nonprofit grants available through your city or county. By doing a simple internet search do city name plus non-profit grants or county name plus non-profit grants.
I’m showing an example here of my own city Raleigh has grants that they offer to non-profits.
Now let us Check about 5 Nonprofit Grants.
Top 5 Nonprofit grants list
1. 3M Foundation
3M is a global innovation company that creates and markets products in more than 100 countries. From adhesives and paints to electronics and sensors,
Its Foundation has a wide range of products. It serves in roles from sales to research and development, and in every country where
3M Foundation does business, employees work together with employees from other countries to create and deliver innovative solutions that help people and communities around the world.
It is worldwide engaged in community service through 3M Foundation initiatives and gives back to its local communities. One can Visit its official website here 3M Foundation.
2. The Coca-Cola Foundation
The Coca-Cola Foundation was originally founded in 1984 as a nonprofit business and has been operational for over 34 years.
It has reached its fair share of milestones, but the most important thing is the work the foundation does on a daily basis.
The Coca-Cola Foundation is a corporate foundation that has been able to achieve its goals with a $250 million endowment and $1.4 billion in grants given out.
It is also a Nonprofit grant for small organizations which are able to get their work done with a staff of fewer than 500 employees.
The Coca-Cola Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to giving back 1% of its prior year’s operating income to nonprofit organizations that empower women, enhance community well-being, and support sustainable development. One can visit the website of The Coca-Cola Foundation.
3. Walmart Foundation
As the largest retailer in the country and the world, Walmart’s impact on communities, the environment, and society is vast and profound.
The website Walmart.org is a part of Walmart’s commitment to bettering the world and to being a meaningful part of communities. In FY 2022, Walmart.org donated more than $1.5 billion in cash and in-kind donations globally.
More than 18,000 Walmart.org associates in the U.S. volunteered more than 356,000 hours in FY2022. In FY2022, Walmart donated more than 696 million pounds of food in the U.S. alone. A large part of the work the website does is through its Corporate Social Responsibility. Visit the website of Walmart Foundation.
Nonprofit grants for specific causes, The Ford Foundation is dedicated to “a more just society, one based on respect for human rights, equality of opportunity, and individual responsibility.”
The Ford Foundation is a private, not-for-profit foundation established by the American auto manufacturer Henry Ford in 1936.
It is one of the world’s largest charitable foundations as of 2016.
The foundation’s stated mission is to advance human welfare by helping people and organizations address their “most pressing needs” which can be categorized into much social justice. They are
Civil Engagement, Future of Work, Creativity, and Free Expression, Disability Inclusion, and Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice.Visit Website FordFoundation.
5. Bank of America
The Bank of America Community Impact Grants by Bank of America helps nonprofits that seek to promote hunger relief, homelessness relief, stable housing, environmental sustainability, and building vibrant communities rich in art and culture.
The Bank of America Community Impact Grants is an exclusive initiative for nonprofits that are guided by their community-based mission and purpose.
In order to be eligible for the grants, the nonprofits must be 501(c)(3) organizations that are in good standing with the IRS and have been in operation for at least two years prior to submitting their application. Visit its website Bank of America
Summary of Nonprofit Grants.
So a lot of city or county pages will have something that looks probably similar to this so the pros of city or county grants.
Some of them can be in the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. The size of the grant is a pro also getting a grant from your city or county.
Government really raises your nonprofit’s visibility and reputation which could then, in turn, lead to even more funding opportunities.
This is because it shows a lot of trusts usually in city and county governments. It will only fund non-profits with some really solid program model or proven success.
So it adds a lot of credibility to your name if you can get a grant of this nature cons. Similar to all these other types of grants.
These types of grants can be hard to get and once again your nonprofit. Its work must align with the giving priorities of the city or county government.
At the time also similar to federal grants some of these grant opportunities were from the city.
Or the county might require things that smaller non-profits do. Or newer nonprofits typically don’t have in place yet like the annual audit of their tax records.
There’s also likely a bit of paperwork and reporting and record-keeping related to getting a local government grant. But not nearly as much as a federal grant. I can promise you that is it a good fit for you.
I have found that these municipal grants their priorities their giving priorities might change every couple of years. It is based on what the city and county’s needs are at that time.
So I would say it’s always a good idea to keep your eye on them. And see what their funding interests are at that time.
Maybe it will just align with what you’ve got going on. So which of these are the best or the easiest grants to go after?
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So today we discussed Non-Profit Organizations and Non-Profit grants and what grants are available for nonprofit organizations. Keep in mind all grants can be somewhat competitive to go after. If you’re looking for an easier or fast way to raise money.
I always recommend working on building up your individual donor base by having a fundraising event. This one is very important in checking out an earned income or fee-for-service model.
Grants are great when we try to start up a new program. To expand or build on something that has had a track record of success.
But we can’t necessarily count on them for all the support you’re going to need to grow your nonprofit. Keep it sustained in terms of grant opportunities.
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