A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Grantmaking


Grants are funds or products that are distributed at no cost to the institutions or individuals receiving the grant. Grantmakers are most often corporations, government departments or agencies, and charitable foundations or trusts. Though this sounds relatively simple overall, grantmaking is a complex process that requires careful considerations. Let’s delve deeper and gain a better understanding of what grantmaking is all about.

The Process at a Glance

An organization initiates the grantmaking process by first determining precisely who will be receiving the grant, how to fund it, and what purpose it will serve. Once this has been decided, they must address how the funds will be distributed and create an application to determine eligibility. The eligibility requirements carry over even after the funds have been disbursed to the recipient. These requirements must be verified for the life of the grant. 

It is essential to set goals for a grant program to reach or exceed. Plus, it is sound practice for an organization to develop grant programs that line up with the organization’s mission. In doing this, grantmakers can connect with and fund other groups that have the same desires and goals. Getting the word out about the grant opportunity can be accomplished by direct contact or campaigning.

Having a streamlined application process helps grantmakers and applicants. Once the grant has applicants, a review of those applicants will determine who qualifies. The results will then be narrowed down to only the most qualified recipients by a grant reviewer.

The recipient is then notified and is given the award. The organization must be sure that all funding for the grant has been obtained before interviews with qualified recipients are carried out. An open means of communication is required with the recipient to monitor their performance and to ensure that the grant is being utilized as intended.

How Grants Are Used

Grants are used in numerous ways to benefit those served by the organization or agency receiving the grant. Some examples of this are grants that fund the protection of the environment through recycling awareness initiatives, the funding of educational opportunities for lower-income families who can not afford to send their children to college, and the funding of a charitable organization that works to provide clean drinking water throughout the world. These are just a few ways grants can shape the world around us.

Why Are Grants Needed?

Grants help fund organizations, individuals, and agencies that otherwise wouldn’t have the funds to influence positive change in a community or society as a whole. Grants not only provide for the necessary means to carry out meaningful work but also align people, organizations, and businesses that have the same passions and goals.  

A good grant program incorporates thorough planning, proper funding, a set goal, appropriate eligibility requirements, and a defined process for determining the progress and success of the grant. Aligning grantmaking with an intended purpose and ensuring that it accomplishes that intent is key to creating a grant that is successful. The ultimate goal is to provide help where it’s needed and to take the necessary steps to ensure that grantmaking contributes to the future.

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When the grantmaking process is carried out efficiently, all of those involved can rest assured that they have worked to make a powerful impact on the world around them.