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3 ways corporate funders can simplify grant making processes

Emma Clary
Content marketing manager
December 11, 2023
A team of four people gathers around a table with a laptop and papers to start a nonprofit organization website.

When it comes to grants management, it’s no secret that there are challenges for all stakeholders across the entire grant making lifecycle. For corporations and foundations, reviewing applications often involves manual processes, complex workflows, and multiple approval steps. For nonprofits, one of the biggest barriers is the time it takes just to apply for support. Most grant applications require extensive background information, and many nonprofits do not have the staff support or technical infrastructure to complete these applications in a timely manner.

While it’s clear that the grant making process presents challenges for grantmakers and grantseekers alike, there are steps corporations and foundations can take to enhance the grant decision-making process and unlock greater philanthropic impact.

How to enhance the grant decision-making process

In this blog, we’ve outlined three ways grantmakers can streamline and simplify grant making processes for their teams and nonprofit partners. Plus, we’ve highlighted tips for how Bonterra Corporate Social Responsibility (formerly CyberGrants) can support these efforts.

Want even more ways to simplify the grant making process? Download our complete guide!

1. Embrace transparency

As a corporate or foundation grantmaker, you likely have a clear set of eligibility criteria, reporting requirements, and timelines that applicants must follow to receive and maintain funding from your organization. In many cases, grantseekers may not have a dedicated team of grant writers with the resources, expertise, and information that your application requires. Without the right guardrails in place, applicants and reviewers alike risk spending time, money, and resources on applications that don’t result in fund delivery.

Grantmakers can mitigate these risks by being transparent about eligibility requirements, application steps, and timelines up front. Here’s how:

Transparent eligibility requirements
Clearly communicate eligibility requirements at the outset of your grant application process and add pre-screening steps to easily disqualify ineligible nonprofit organizations. This not only saves time but also ensures that resources are directed towards nonprofits that align with the grant's criteria.

Strategic workflow notifications
Integrate notifications and nudges strategically within your workflow to prevent bottlenecks and avoid unnecessary delays. Regular updates and reminders ensure that all stakeholders stay informed and engaged, reducing the likelihood of overlooked tasks or extended review periods.

Upfront payment details
Expedite the funding process by requesting payment information upfront. This eliminates unnecessary back-and-forth communications and streamlines the awarding of funds, ultimately enhancing the overall efficiency of your grant making process.

Pro tip: Bonterra's FrontDoor solution vets nonprofits by working with the IRS Business Master File and other global databases to ensure that grant applicants meet the charitable standards of our corporate customers. This allows grantmakers to verify nonprofit eligibility upfront so you can confidently deliver funds while meeting compliance requirements.

2. Prioritize measurement and tracking

For both grantmakers and nonprofits alike, measuring progress, tracking outcomes, and compiling reports is critical. Corporate and foundation grantmakers are required to report success metrics to key stakeholders like board members and investors. And if a nonprofit wants to receive more funding in the future, they need to be able to demonstrate tangible, meaningful outcomes to their respective stakeholders.

As a grantmaker, you can make impact reporting easier for both your teams and nonprofit partners by communicating your strategy, goals, and reporting framework upfront. Include details about deadlines and formatting in the application itself. If the nonprofit is selected, they’ll be able to plan ahead, allocate their time effectively, and build their report along the way rather than doing it retroactively.

Pro tip: With Bonterra's Insights solution, you can unite all your program data into a single warehouse to quickly and easily visualize the effectiveness of your corporate philanthropy initiatives.

3. Outsource your disbursements

Reassess your grant payout processes to better meet the needs of your teams and nonprofit partners. Consider enhancing your services by adding electronic automated clearing house (ACH) payment (also known as direct payment) capabilities, creating positive pay banking files to prevent check fraud, and implementing measures to reduce your overall cycle time. While grantees value your program’s funding, offering modern, secure disbursement services can turn appreciation into lasting satisfaction.

Pro tip: At Bonterra, our Disbursements solution allows you to cut administrative costs, offload legal risks, predict funds flow, accelerate tax benefits, and more.

Next steps: Simplify your grant making process today

While these tactics are a great starting point for improving your grant making efficiencies and reducing administrative burden, they’re only the tip of the iceberg. For even more ways to streamline your grant making process and unlock greater philanthropic impact, download our latest resource, Grantmaking simplified: A tactical guide for corporate funders.

Written by

Emma Clary
Content marketing manager
    Grants Management
  • Corporations
  • Grant management & grant making