By Dr. Bev Browning, Vice-President of eCivis and bestselling author of Grantwriting for Dummies
Did you know that major corporations have created community reinvestment or social responsibility programs for grantmaking purposes? These corporate grantmakers are mandated to allocate at least 5 percent of their annual profits toward their corporate foundations. For big-name corporations, this can be a hefty amount. How does this help your organization or agency? It means that you can expand your realm of potential funders to meet some of those smaller line item needs.
Who Are the Top Corporate Grantmakers?
Each year, the Foundation Center compiles a list of the top 50 corporate grantmakers. Some of the big grantmakers are:
The Wal-Mart Foundation
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation
The JPMorgan Chase Foundation
The Allstate Foundation
How Do You Approach Potential Corporate Grantmakers?
Once you start perusing potential corporate grantmakers, it’s important that you read and understand their grantmaking guidelines. Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to determine whether the potential grantmaker is an appropriate funding match for your needs:
Will this grantmaker fund in my state, county, city?
If yes, keep researching. If no, be sure to call to double-check that the grantmaker’s website is up to date and determine that they will not fund in your locale. Before hanging up, ask if they can recommend any other corporate foundations that might be interested in making an investment in your community.
Does this grantmaker have a current funding priority or past history of awarding grants for projects like mine?
If yes, continue your research. If no, call the potential funder anyway. Making contact with any funder will help you open up a conversation about ideas that they have not considered or else will lead to them giving you the names of other potential funders.
Are the grants that this grantmaker has awarded within the funding range of the funds we need to implement, expand, or evaluate our project or program?
If yes, you’re ready to determine how the grantmaker wants to be contacted initially. If no, take a thorough look at your project’s individual line item expenses. Ask yourself if any one line item can be funded as a stand-alone component of the entire project. If it can be, then prepare your letter of inquiry based on the one line item need that fits the grantmaker’s funding priority and range of grant awards.
What Is the Outline of Your Telephone Call to a Potential Corporate Funder?
1. Ask for the program officer who reviews grant proposals in your specific area of funding. Remember, you reviewed the grantmaker’s funding priorities in advance of this call and you are able to quickly name an area of funding that allows you to be transferred to the appropriate corporate foundation program officer.
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