Corporations are often thought of as potential in-kind donors for nonprofits. For example, grocery stores may be willing to give food for an event. But many corporations also give cash grants through a traditional grant application process. Once you’ve learned how to find corporate grants appropriate for your nonprofit, you’ll also need to keep certain things in mind when applying.
Finding a good fit
Corporations’ giving interests often match their business sector. For example, banks often make grants to nonprofits working to improve financial literacy or focusing on economic development. There are exceptions to this, but this is a good rule of thumb. Read the corporation’s guidelines thoroughly and ensure a good fit. Emphasize this in your grant proposal. Make it very obvious that your nonprofit works in the area of the corporation’s business interests.
Corporations also often limit their giving to programs that benefit the communities they work in — or the area around their headquarters. They don’t often stray too far outside of these boundaries. This should be in the guidelines, so be sure to adhere to that. Make it obvious in your grant proposal. For example, the Weyerhaeuser corporation states on its website: “Through the Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund, we support U.S. and Canadian communities where we have a significant presence or business interest.”
It’s helpful if you know someone at the corporation who can vouch for your organization. Corporate grant applications often ask there is any employee affiliation in your nonprofit. This can refer to board members and volunteers. It’s always helpful to have that connection, though it’s not usually mandatory.
Finally, be sure to indicate how the corporation will be recognized for their contribution. You’ll get bonus points in your corporate grant application if you’re able to offer them significant and prominent recognition in the form of displaying their name and logo at events or on your website. Brainstorm other ways you can give them recognition for their donation, as this is an important selling point.
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