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How grantmakers can build strategic charitable partnerships

May 03, 2024
A donor shakes hands with a nonprofit representative and agrees to give a matching gift on Giving Tuesday.

Strong charitable partnerships are the backbone of the social good sector. For corporations to deliver the most impactful support, they need to understand the needs of their grantees and trust that funds will be used efficiently and effectively without being too prescriptive. Similarly, nonprofits depend on these relationships to secure reliable funding and receive long-term, strategic support, like capacity building. They’re also a key way for these organizations to promote their mission, programs, and services, and recruit new volunteers.

Today, relationships between corporate funders and nonprofits aren’t as strong as they could be. Ninety-three percent of nonprofits say they want to improve corporate partnerships, and 80% say they have a hard time engaging with potential partners. The struggle for nonprofits and corporations to build sustainable partnerships has resulted in a decline in nonprofit support. According to Giving USA, corporate funding volume as a percentage of pre-tax profits has declined by 36% since 2002.

In this blog, we’ll show you how corporations can find, vet, and connect with potential partners to bridge the nonprofit funding gap and deliver the most strategic support.

For even more ways that Bonterra can help you power corporate philanthropy to its full potential through strategic partnerships, download our complete guide, “The social impact transformation: CSR and strategic philanthropy.

Find nonprofits that align with your corporate funding priorities 

To successfully connect with potential partners, corporations need a way to seamlessly find organizations that meet eligibility criteria and align with their values. Nonprofits also need an easy way to search for grant opportunities they are eligible for and manage multiple relationships with their corporate partners.

Today, most grantmaking solutions are hyper-focused on managing processes, not facilitating charitable partnerships. As a result, grants administrators often rely on third-party tools to find nonprofits that align with funding priorities and business objectives. This increases the administrative workload for your teams and reduces time that could otherwise be spent on strategy and impact.

Your grantmaking teams need purpose-built software for building and managing relationships with grantees. Otherwise, corporate philanthropy will continue to miss its potential. Bonterra’s Grants Management software provides access to the industry’s largest network of pre-vetted nonprofits, helping corporate funders find organizations that align with their stated values and goals. Here’s how our software helps connect corporations and nonprofits:

  1. Gain access to Bonterra's network of 160,000 vetted U.S.-based nonprofits and benefit from our rapidly expanding set of direct relationships.
  2. Search and discover nonprofits based on standardized characteristics, including causes supported, leadership demographics, organization size, impact score, and more.
  3. Receive AI-based recommendations for nonprofits to connect with based on the funder’s stated goals, focus areas, and eligibility criteria.
  4. Reduce administrative work for both grantmakers and grantseekers through a single organization record that includes banking details, cause overviews, 501(c)(3) status, and more.

Tap into analytics that tell your impact story

Once your grantmaking teams have built relationships with nonprofits, maintaining and growing those partnerships is key for lasting impact. One of the best ways to scale your partnerships is by building trust early in the funding process.

Corporate funders typically rely on impact reports from their grantees to establish transparency and accountability. These reports are used to demonstrate progress toward funding commitments with investors, board members, and leadership teams. Although it’s warranted that your key stakeholders want insight into where their funds are going, this reliance can create a power imbalance and suggest a lack of trust in a nonprofit’s ability to maximize grants. Compiling reports also requires resources not all nonprofits have, potentially creating frustrated grantees, overworked staff, and straining your relationship.

To maintain funding transparency without creating an undue burden on nonprofits or grants administrators, it's best to have a built-in analytics tool for tracking program outcomes and compiling reports for key stakeholders. When you partner with Bonterra for grants management, you’ll gain access to Insights, our impact reporting solution, to help reduce manual work for your teams and nonprofit partners.

With access to turn-key dashboards, automated reports, and support from Bonterra’s team of industry experts, measuring outcomes becomes easier than ever. As a result, you’ll strengthen your charitable partnerships while maintaining funding transparency. Here’s how Bonterra makes impact data accessible and actionable for grantmaking teams:

  1. Start reporting impact immediately with more than 15 out-of-the-box dashboards designed to measure outcomes and easily meet common regulatory requirements like the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).
  2. Integrate Insights directly into workflows to drive real-time automation, decision-making, and consistency across your entire process.
  3. Measure impact based on your specific needs through drill-down and self-service dashboard builder capabilities. 

Shift from transactional relationships to true partnerships

The most meaningful charitable partnerships don’t end after payments have been sent. In fact, the longer that your corporation works with a nonprofit, the more you can understand its unique needs and deliver more tailored programs. In some cases, you may even find that your nonprofit partner would benefit from more strategic support, like capacity building.

As a corporate funder, it’s important to foster an environment where grantees feel comfortable engaging in an honest, open conversation. Otherwise, you won’t get the feedback needed to maintain a strong relationship and build sustainable programs.

At Bonterra, we know that maintaining these critically important relationships can sometimes create an undue burden for both grantmakers and nonprofits. Our grants management software helps minimize administrative work by providing nonprofits with a single organization record, single sign-on (SSO) access to company portals, and native communication tools. Without these features, nonprofits are tasked with managing each relationship individually, taking up valuable time and resources.

Power corporate philanthropy to its full potential

When corporations and nonprofits can establish trust and build lasting relationships, the possibilities for corporate philanthropy are limitless. But without the right grants management software, finding, connecting, and scaling nonprofit partnerships can be a time-consuming, manual task for grantmakers.

At Bonterra, our grants management solution is purpose-built to make it easier than ever to find potential partners that meet your business’ goals, establish trust, and facilitate ongoing collaboration. Ready to see if Bonterra is right for you? Schedule a demo with one of our experts.

    Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Corporations
  • Foundations & grantmakers
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Grant management & grant making