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Equitable grantmaking: How to implement impartial practices

July 24, 2023
This image shows two people learning more about a grant opportunity from a grantmaker.

Nonprofit organizations need the support of grantmakers in order to fulfill their purposes and grow their infrastructures. However, some nonprofits face barriers to funding, such as being excluded from grant announcement resources. That’s why it’s important for grantmakers to prioritize providing equitable opportunities that can benefit the entire nonprofit community. 

To strengthen your grantmaking process, you’ll first need to implement impartial practices. In this guide, we’ll explore how you can provide more inclusive grant and funding opportunities through equitable grantmaking practices. 

Do your research for equitable grantmaking

In order to address nonprofits’ needs, you first need to know what they are. Across the board, data reveals that nonprofits face some similar obstacles:

  • 40% of organizations identified a “lack of resources” as a key challenge. 
  • According to Bonterra’s research, 71% of respondents described their ability to manage a successful annual fund as fair, poor, or nonexistent.
  • 23% of nonprofits consider a “lack of adequate finances/resources” to be their greatest challenge. 

Aside from the widespread lack of resources facing many nonprofit organizations, Black-led nonprofits reported 24% less in revenues than their white-led counterparts in one study. In fact, white-led organizations are much more likely to have access to advanced fundraising technology than their BIPOC-led counterparts.

This type of research allows you to identify the barriers preventing disadvantaged organizations from accessing the resources they need. From there, you can adjust your grantmaking process to focus on offering more equitable support.

Plan equitable funding opportunities

It’s clear that nonprofits need infrastructure support and equitable funding opportunities, but how can grantmakers help? Consider the following adjustments you can make to your funding tactics to help nonprofits access equitable giving

  1. Partner with your community to co-create programs. Engage with local organizations to learn more about their causes and specific needs. Then, you can work together to develop an equitable giving process that helps them better fulfill their purposes. 
  2. Reduce application requirements. Evaluate your application process to identify ways to simplify it. By eliminating unnecessary questions and requirements, you can make funding more accessible to nonprofits that otherwise would not be able to apply due to limited staff support or technical infrastructure. Make your grants available to nonprofits of all sizes and budgets for easier entry.
  3. Offer several options to nonprofits. A variety of grant and capacity-building options can help nonprofits more directly address the challenges facing their communities. Provide multiple opportunities, including professional development and cohort-based programs. 
  4. Create an environment that values feedback. By collecting and acting on direct input from nonprofit organizations, you can most effectively support them. Encourage feedback to narrow down nonprofit needs and build trust within your community, so organizations feel comfortable connecting with your organization. 
  5. Be proactive in reaching out. Through your research, you’ll identify nonprofits that could potentially be a good fit for your programs. Contact them and encourage them to apply, even if they haven’t initiated contact. They may not be aware of the programming you offer and reaching out can help build community awareness of your resources!

Furthermore, regularly assess your grantmaking process for access and inclusivity. Use these factors as measures of success for your grant program.

Streamline implementation with Bonterra’s solution

Bonterra Donor Engagement’s Jumpstart program provides grantmakers with individual capacity-building opportunities, community-wide support for nonprofit organizations, and data to adjust programming in response to your community’s unique needs and challenges.

If you’re looking to implement equitable grantmaking practices, learn how you can streamline the process with Bonterra by requesting a demo!

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