It’s usual for private foundations to limit grantmaking to areas where the donors live or grew up, or in which they have some personal history. Community foundations and federated giving programs such as United Way also limit grants to specific geographic areas. Many corporate foundations only make awards in areas where corporate offices are located or in which the company does business.
“There are advantages to partnering with close-to-home grantmakers,” said Barbara Floersch of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif. “When looking for grant support, I always advise organizations to start the search in their own back yard.”
It’s natural for funders to focus on the communities in which they live and work. The quality of life there has a direct impact on the well-being of their families and employees. Thriving communities also help corporations retain quality employees — an essential ingredient for a healthy bottom-line.
Funders located in your geographic area are likely to care about what you’re trying to accomplish, and they might know something about your organization and its work. Your staff or board members might know their staff or trustees. You maybe even attend the same churches, run into each other at school events, or have mutual friends.
To make the most of these advantages, Floersch advises the following:
When you build respectful relationships with local funders, you’re developing a supportive network that will pay off over time. Funders know and talk to each other. It’s a relatively tight-knit community. Even those that aren’t a perfect fit with your work can recommend you to their colleagues and offer advice on your projects.
“You all have the best interests of the local community in mind, and that common bond when combined with trust is powerful,” said Floersch. © Copyright 2019 The Grantsmanship Center.
As we celebrate our 36th year, NPT remains dedicated to supplying breaking news, in-depth reporting, and special issue coverage to help nonprofit executives run their organizations more effectively.