When Corporate Grants Run Amok

09/18/2019

Corporations have got their mind on their money and money on their minds.

That’s no secret.

But the big open secret is that corporate giving is good business for corporations. With 60% of consumers reporting that they’d pay more for reputable brands, there’s a strong profit motive behind corporate giving. And with nearly 75% of millennials reporting that they’d choose to work for a company with strong community values, there’s also a significant benefit to corporate giving when it comes to hiring top talent.

Whether it’s matching gifts, volunteer programs, or direct grants to organizations, corporate giving can be a win-win for companies and communities. That said, corporate giving ain’t all roses.

Organizing an efficient and effective corporate giving program isn’t easy for many corporations and can cause headaches for grant-seeking organizations as well. Luckily, there are many actions corporations can take to bring their giving programs into the 21st century by leveraging technologies and smart processes to increase the impact of their corporate grants.

Making a Big Impact with Corporate Grants is Very Possible

There are many good reasons that companies dig into their profit margins to give back to communities.

From having a positive impact in their local communities and improving their brand image to cultivating more customer loyalty and differentiating their products and services from other companies, corporate giving can deliver big results for companies (and their community partners) that get it right.

In other words, the better your grants are managed, the bigger your impact will be.

When designing (or redesigning) your corporate giving program, you’ll likely have a few key goals:

  • Streamline operations to reduce employee workloads and save time and money
  • Simplify the application review and approval process for corporate donations
  • Capture data from multiple corporate grant programs in one, unified system
  • Provide transparent performance data across the organization to inform grantmaking
  • Prepare standardized and easy-to-use grant reports to enrich grantmaking priorities

In order to hit these lofty goals, you’ll need to put in place the right grants management solution to ease burdens on both sides of your giving. Next, let’s dig into what that looks like in detail when it comes to the technical aspects of corporate grants administration.

Increase the Impact of Your Corporate Giving by Improving Your Corporate Grants Management

Increase the Impact of Your Corporate Giving by Improving Your Corporate Grants Management

Receive grant applications

Make it easy for grant seekers to find and apply for your company’s support.

Ensure that submission forms are clear and only ask for the absolutely-necessary information you need to make funding decisions. Your time and that of your grant seekers is incredibly precious.

Make sure you’ve built the right pre-qualification questions into your submission form to weed out applicants that don’t meet the eligibility criteria you’ve set out. This will save a ton of time when it comes to reviewing applications.

Select the projects

Your grant management software should make it easier—not harder—for your team to select organizations to fund.

Make sure your reviewers have all the information that they need to rate various applications and are notified when it’s their turn to move each application forward as part of a unified workflow. Allow reviewers to ask questions in real-time and get answers from team members to prevent slowdowns in the review process.

Your grant management tool should allow users to filter applications according to specific characteristics while automating notifications for grant seekers to keep them aware of their application status at all times.

Manage the progress

Once you’ve selected the projects you wish to fund, let your grant seekers know right away.

Timely notifications of funding help organizations set priorities, build more reliable budgets, and better decide how to allocate resources from year to year.

Many companies have different systems for the submission of applications and the management of actual grants. Don’t do that. Juggling multiple systems creates an unnecessary burden for both your grant management team and for your grantees.

Integrate your grant application and grant management processes into a single all-in-one platform that allows you to deliver key documents, create form templates, and interact with grantees in the same digital space. This also helps maintain institutional knowledge as grant managers sometimes change while your relationships with grantees will hopefully sustain and grow over time.

Measure the impact

Often the hardest part of any grantmaking process, there are ways to ease the burden when measuring the impact of your giving.

First, deploy a grant management system that makes it easy for grantees to regularly share their impact data with your organization. While meetings and site visits can be very valuable, give grantees the capacity to offer regular updates about the impact they’re having in communities through one unified platform.

Second, ask the right questions that will enrich your understanding of grant progress through a digital platform that keeps you connected to grantees and their work. Ask for hard numbers that give you a solid understanding of the challenges and successes the organizations you are supporting face on a regular basis.

Lastly, ensure that you’ve got a grant management system that allows you to easily collect and report the results of your grants so they can be analyzed and programs can be optimized accordingly. Without that data and the tools to improve programs, your grantmaking programs could grow stagnant.

Report the results

Openly reporting results is a growing area in the grant management space, yet also a critical aspect of the process.

While many corporations and organizations they support aren’t always eager to publicly share the impact (or sometimes, lack thereof) that their programs have achieved, it’s good practice to do so. Here’s why:

  • Fellow corporations and community organizations can learn from these results and improve their programs.
  • Your corporation can learn from past experiences and improve grantmaking in the future.
  • Many organizations don’t have the resources or the pedestal to share important findings about the effects of grant-funded programs. If yours does, share the love.
  • You can show exactly how much you accomplished. Sharing concrete proof of giving back comes with significant benefits.

Report the results

With the right grant management tool in place, you can focus on delivering impact rather than managing your process. Streamlined grants administration can help you remove bottlenecks by automating labor-intensive tasks and secure your data according to important compliance standards.

How to Streamline Your Corporate Giving Program

You can do this.

Your corporate giving program doesn’t have to be an unwieldy behemoth.

With the right grant management tool and simple processes in place (as outlined above), you can spend less time managing grants and more time supporting positive change alongside the communities that matter most to your company.

A solution like Submittable allows you to increase your impact by deploying an all-in-one platform that makes it easy to collect and manage donation requests.

Your team and the causes you support deserve the best possible tool for delivering results through your corporate giving program. Give it to them.

Paul Perry
Paul Perry

Paul Perry is a writer and former educator with significant experience in nonprofit management. He has a soft spot for grant-seekers striving to make the world a better, more just place.