Having a diverse stream of income is so important for nonprofit organizations. Many nonprofit professionals focus fundraising efforts on grants from foundations. However, another wonderful place to find support is from corporate grants.
By the end of this article, you will be your organization's new guru on how to find the best corporate grants to support your mission.
Let’s dive in.
What Are Corporate Grants?
Corporate grants are funds given by a corporation to nonprofits through a competitive application process.
Corporations of all sizes give a portion of their profits as grants to support charitable causes. The amount they give and the missions they support are usually based on their size, geographic area, and the service or goods they sell.
Corporate grants for your nonprofit can come from a wide variety of kinds of businesses. Some corporations will have information for their corporate grants listed on their website, while others (Kellogg or Walmart) have separate foundation websites for their corporate grant programs.
Every corporation will have its own process that nonprofits should follow to apply for their funding. You can find corporate grants from most any major corporation you can think of, as most businesses have requirements for social good and giving to their communities.
Why Are Corporate Grants Important?
Corporate grants are important because they are a great way to diversify your funding and provide support for your mission.
Corporate grants can support specific nonprofit programs, provide valuable general operating funds, or cover capital expenses. Many corporate funders even offer a range of benefits beyond grant funding such as:
In-kind donations and discounts on goods and services. An example is the Microsoft program that offers nonprofit organizations several free subscriptions to Office365.
Volunteer support from employees and partners. Many small and mid sized corporations offer support through volunteerism. Examples include BASF, LinkedIn, and Intel.
Matching programs where the corporation matches employee giving. Employees who donate to a nonprofit can have their gift matched by their employer.
It is important to find corporations whose giving program aligns with your organization's service area and mission. Fostering relationships with corporate funders can be a great way to build and grow support for your work in many different ways.
Click to find the best grants for your nonprofit from 12,000+ active opportunities.
Now that you know how beneficial corporate grants can be for your nonprofit, you’re probably wondering where and how to find them. Follow the 10 steps below to help you get the search process started for your organization.
1. Search for Corporations in Your Geographic Area
The first step is finding corporations that give in your geographic area. Many corporate grant opportunities are aligned with the physical address of their stores or businesses.
Your search process can start with a Google search, a request to your local Chamber of Commerce, or using the search engine provided on the Secretary of State website for your state.
If your nonprofit organization serves multiple states, then include them all in this geographic search. You can then begin building a list of any relevant corporate grant opportunities you find in your area.
2. Search for Corporate Grants that Match Your Mission
Next, you want to broaden your search to corporate grants that align with your mission.
You can search using keywords related to your mission or the population you serve and add "corporate grants" to the end of the search. This way you add corporate grants to your list that are outside of your geographic area but that still align with your mission.
3. Find Websites for Corporate Grant Programs
Once you’ve identified a list of corporations that have giving programs that are relevant to your nonprofit, you want to find their websites. Many corporate giving programs have all of the information you need to know listed online.
Take Walmart for example. They have a tab on their website with information on their Local Community Grants.
You will want to save the links to these websites to reference in later steps. Consider making a tab on your browser to bookmark each website.
4. Search Websites for Corporate Grants Details
The fourth step is to search through the websites you have bookmarked for details on each corporation’s giving program and what the steps are to apply. Some things to make sure you do in this step are:
Review the corporate grant guidelines to ensure you can comply
Check your organization’s eligibility
Ensure your mission falls in line with their areas of funding
Look at the process for submitting a request and receiving funding
Make a note of any extra steps beyond submitting an application
Once you have compiled all of these details, you should have a better idea of which opportunities to focus on and which aren’t a great fit.
5. Develop a Database
At this point in the process, you will have a lot of information to keep track of in order to find the best corporate grants for your organization. You will want to develop a database or method for tracking the corporate grant opportunities that you have researched.
Consider creating a spreadsheet where you can input your list of corporate grant opportunities and all of the relevant details you have discovered so far for them (eligibility, due dates, funding range, etc.)
6. Research Previous Grantees
Once you’ve created a list of funding opportunities and compiled their details, the next thing you should do is research what organizations have received corporate grants from these companies in the past. Doing so will add clarity to how well your organization fits within their different funding priorities.
Find previous grantees and make note of the types of programs they have. See the amount they were awarded and how many grants they’ve received. This will help you determine whether applying for a particular funding opportunity is worth your time and investment.
Some corporations will list previous grantees on their websites, like Walmart.
If it’s not listed on their website, you can try Googling who they have given to in the past and the amount they’ve awarded.
7. Prioritize Opportunities
The next step is to use all the information you have gathered so far to narrow down your list of funding opportunities. You only want to apply to corporate grants that you feel you have a good chance of securing funding from.
You might find that there are certain corporate grants that align really well with your organization’s mission and programs, but don’t award the funding amount you’re looking for (or vice versa). Then there may even be some corporate grant opportunities that you do not qualify for at this moment in time but might in the future.
You will want to prioritize the corporate grants that you feel you have the best alignment with to focus on first. Put the most of your energy here when you begin to write and apply for corporate grants.
8. Find Contacts for Corporate Grants
Corporate grants are often competitive to receive. It is important to build relationships with these funders before and even after you submit an application.
You’ll need to do some research to find a list of board members for each company’s foundation or grant program. Your search could include looking through company web pages, SEC filings, LinkedIn, and other news articles and blogs.
Once you have a list of board members or relevant contacts for each corporation, you can give the list to your own board members and staff. Ask them to review the list of names to see if there are existing relationships between your organization and the representatives of the corporations you have found. If none exist, reach out by phone to introduce yourself or ask for a meeting to learn more about their giving priorities.
9. Add to Your Calendar
Picture this: You have found the perfect match—a corporate grant that you are eligible for, that funds projects in your geographic area, and whose funding interests are exactly in line with the mission of your organization. You write an incredible grant proposal. You go to submit your application, only to find that the deadline has passed.
This happens more often than we’d like to admit. Deadlines sneak up.
Make sure to add important grant deadlines to your calendar. Give yourself a 1-month and 1-week reminder prior to any deadline. Take the top 2 or 3 corporate grant opportunities that you have ranked and add important dates and deadlines to your calendar so that the scenario above never happens to you!
10. Plan Your Proposals and Apply
The last step to finding the best corporate grants is to plan your proposals and apply.
As you plan your grant proposal, make notes on anything you researched about the corporate grant and funder. Make sure your proposal highlights the aspects of your work that align with their funding priorities. Be specific with what you are asking them to fund, and clearly explain what their funding will allow you to accomplish.
How Instrumentl Can Help You Find Corporate Grants in 3 Easy Steps
Finding corporate grants can be cumbersome. There are endless companies to research, and each corporate giving program has its own eligibility, details, and deadlines to keep track of. You may be thinking, “Is there an easier way to find corporate grants?”
There’s good news for you! There are platforms now, like Instrumentl, that do the hard work for you. Instrumentl brings grant prospecting, tracking, and management to one place.
Instrumentl streamlines the grant search process so that you can find and apply to corporate funding opportunities faster, easier, and more efficiently. When compared to other grants databases, Instrumentl has features that others don’t—and these features can help reduce the process of finding corporate grants to just three simple steps.
1. Sign up for an Instrumentl Account
Go to the Instrumentl website and start a free 14-day trial. Enter your information and email to get started. There are no credit cards needed to start your trial, so it is easy to start today.
2. Find Corporate Grants with Instrumentl’s Smart Matching Feature
Instrumentl lets you search with filters and has a smart matching technology to populate a list of active grants for you that align with your mission. Start your search with any filter within your funding needs to begin finding corporate grants that align with your organization and programs.
This screenshot below shows an example of Instrumentl’s Matches tab with personalized grant recommendations.
Once you find corporate grant opportunities, utilize the RFP data feature that is connected to foundation and corporate profiles. The system provides 990 snapshots and detailed insights for each funder on your list to identify giving patterns, past grantees by location, openness to fund new organizations, and average and median grant amounts.
Here’s an example of how Instrumentl makes median and average grant amounts easy to see based on a funders’ 990.
3. Manage Your Entire Grants Pipeline
Once you have utilized the search and match features to find corporate grants, Instrumentl has grant management tools that make it easy to manage the entire grant application process from start to finish.
Some ways that Instrumentl helps you manage your corporate grants process include:
Sending weekly emails with all your upcoming deadlines. This eliminates the need for continual calendar updates.
Sending automatic notifications when a funder changes deadlines or priorities for giving.
Allowing you to easily store notes on the platform that can be shared with colleagues and promote collaboration through task sharing.
There are different types of grants that a nonprofit can apply for. The four main types of grants are:
competitive grants (a proposal from a nonprofit gets reviewed and awarded or denied funding)
continuation grants (a renewal of funding from a previously awarded grant)
pass-through grants (nonprofits apply to states to receive federal funding)
formula grants (grants where all applicants are awarded funding and the award amounts are determined based on certain criteria).
How do I find local grants?
You often have a higher likelihood of receiving funding if you can build a relationship with a local funder. You can find local grants through a Google search, your local United Way, or your local Community Foundation. Although, it is much more efficient to utilize a major database such as Instrumentl and filter by your city or county to find grants that are local to your community.
Where is the best place to look for grants?
The best place to help you find grants for your organization is Instrumentl. It is the only online fundraising tool that brings grant prospecting, grant tracking, and grant management to one place. For more tips on how to find the best corporate grants for your organization, check out this article.
Wrapping Up: How to Find Corporate Grants Fast in 2023
Corporate grants can be a great source of funding for your nonprofit. However, finding corporate funding opportunities can be a lengthy and cumbersome ordeal.
Thankfully, Instrumentl takes the 10 steps listed above and narrows them down into 3 simple ones, allowing you to find corporate grants that align with your nonprofit much more easily and efficiently. Sign up for a free Instrumentl trial today and start locating the right corporate grants for your nonprofit.
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