Tips for winning grants from corporations

Corporations are often thought of as potential in-kind donors for nonprofits. For example, groceries 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.

It’s important to keep in mind that 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 to keep in mind. Read the corporation’s guidelines thoroughly to make sure you’re a good fit. Emphasize this in your grant proposal and 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. Again, this should be in the guidelines, so be sure to adhere to that and make it obvious in your grant proposal.

It’s helpful if you know someone at the corporation who can vouch for your organization. Corporate grant applications will often ask if anyone on your board or among your volunteers is affiliated with the corporation; 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 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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