Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Complicated World of Corporate Grants

A colleague asked me today to expand on that often elusive world of corporate grant making. I wrote her a long email full of research and resources, then thought what a great post that would make for this blog. So why re-invent the wheel? Here is the information repeated for every one's benefit:

For grant writers and nonprofit professionals in general, every situation is different when it comes to finding corporate grant opportunities. Some nonprofits have a wealth of corporate volunteers, while others don't have them at all. Many grant writers don't know how to access these grants, while still others think only one or two avenues of grants exist. In general when investigating corporate grants, some issues to consider are:

  • what are the benefits of corporate volunteerism from the corporation's perspective (in terms of grants as well as volunteers)?
  • why is this a hot topic right now (social responsibility becoming more important, grants becoming more competitive, companies having fewer dollars to give out and therefore depending on their employees to make granting decisions)?
  • how can one find companies that have volunteer grants programs (united ways, corporate directories, online searches, prospect research websites, etc.)?
  • what are the different ways to receive grants from corporations (matching grants, challenge grants, volunteer hours grants, employee competition grants, student internship grants, sponsorships, etc.)?
  • how can one use the power of volunteers (including company info on inquiry sheets, sending reminders to current volunteers, creating competitions among volunteers to get the grants from their employers, getting volunteer letters of support for grant applications. etc.)?
Once these discussions have begun, visit some of the links below to get further ideas:

  1. This link has the various types of corporate grants and research showing why companies like their employees to volunteer.
  2. More information on corporate giving.
  3. Unconventional ways corporations are helping nonprofits.
  4. More unconventional ways.
  5. A list of Houston-specific websites - but it can be used to find websites for your own city as well.

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