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Grants for Nonprofits: 7 Worth Exploring in 2023

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Published February 1, 2023 Reading Time: 7 minutes

Grants offer tremendous funding opportunities for nonprofits looking to scale. Score the right grant, and you might have all the funding you need to operate and grow your organization for the next 12 months. However, since grants are in such high demand, securing them takes a bit of know-how. 

While grantmaking offers promising opportunities for nonprofits, grant applications can be very time-consuming for the grant writer and nonprofit organization. Choose the types of grants you pursue wisely to avoid losing out on other valuable fundraising opportunities.

Let us help you navigate the confusion and make the most of your time. Below, we’ll break down everything you need to know about nonprofit grants, including eligibility criteria, tips for choosing the right ones, and top grant options for 2023. 

What Are Nonprofit Grants?

A nonprofit grant often looks like any other financial donation—typically given by public or private foundations, government agencies, or corporations. Since these come from large organizations, the sums are larger than you’ll receive from individual donors.

You’ll also find that, unlike standard donations, grants typically have more rules and guidelines surrounding them. Often, funding organizations will stipulate how you can use your grant funds. So rather than using them at your discretion, you might have to put the funding toward a specific program or initiative

In a sense, grants switch the fundraising model for nonprofits. Instead of encouraging supporters to donate to your program, you actively petition an organization to choose your nonprofit. 

Whether you are in the process of sourcing a new grant opportunity or are learning how to write a grant proposal that will help you stand out amongst the competition, you need to bring your A-game.

Scoring a nonprofit grant can be a lot of work, but here are a few advantages grant funding can provide:

  • Free money: The only cost for securing a grant is the time you invest in the process (and perhaps an application fee). You don’t have to worry about losing equity or control of your company, and you don’t have to pay back loans. 
  • Credibility: When you secure a nonprofit grant, it shows that you’re serious about your work. It gives you a tremendous prestige bonus, and it lets donors know that you have a third-party stamp of approval. 
  • Awareness: A grant can put your nonprofit in front of new eyes. The press surrounding the accomplishment might expose your brand to potential donors and partners. 
  • Repetition: Once you’ve received a grant, you can use it to influence future applications. Grant foundations will see that you’ve passed the test before and will likely be more inclined to approve your application. 

Commons Types of Nonprofit Grants

Nonprofit grants come in all shapes and sizes. The source, purpose, and nature make each type unique. Below, we’ll cover a few common types of grants based on these criteria.

Funding Sources

  • Government grants: Federal, state, and local government grants are available to fund your nonprofit’s operations or administrations. The grant application process is stringent and competitive, but there’s often no fee.
  • Corporate grants: Corporate grants come from large enterprises that often reserve a percentage of available funds for annual nonprofit grants or provide credit for goods and services. For example, Google gives eligible nonprofits up to $10,000 in Google Ads spend.
  • Foundation grants: Foundation grants come from philanthropic organizations (e.g., families, private groups, public groups, or community funds) to help advance causes or nonprofits in a specific locale.

Funding Purposes

  • Launch: Launch grants require that your funding go to a specific project, service, product, or campaign. 
  • Technology: Technology grants come from corporations and tech companies that often require you to spend your funding on software advancements. 
  • Infrastructure: Infrastructure grants are capacity-building grants that focus on solidifying nonprofit management, strategic planning, governance, and infrastructure. 
  • General operations: General operations grants are nonprofit grants that allow you to use the money as you see fit.

Funding Nature

  • Continuation grants: Continuation grants let you renew your grant. However, it’ll require hitting milestones, using funds appropriately, meeting reporting deadlines, and keeping communications and relationships open between your organization and the funder
  • Pass-through grants: Pass-through grants, which come from the federal government, provide funding to state and local governments to be distrubuted locally. Apply for these loans when you want to make a local impact.
  • Competitive grants: Competitive grants require you to submit a grant proposal answering questions and explaining why your nonprofit deserves the grant funding. Reviewers will evaluate your proposal and give it a score based on certain criteria. The organizations with the highest scores receive the funding. 
  • Formula grants: Formula grants are noncompetitive. These grants provide funding to organizations that meet predetermined criteria. If you match the requirements, you can receive the funds. 

How to Know if You Should Apply for a Nonprofit Grant

Every nonprofit has a unique set of goals and funding needs. Because of this, knowing which projects or initiatives align with a grant opportunity can get confusing.

With so many different grant types available, you’re almost always eligible for something. Corporations and foundations provide grants for practically every stage of your journey, from building the infrastructure of your organization to scaling your services. Whenever you’re looking at expanding your organization or helping more people, it’s worth checking to see if there’s a funding opportunity that can support you.

Winning grants takes work, and you’ll likely have to apply more than once. But stick with it. Scoring your first nonprofit grant is the hardest part. Once you’ve earned one, you can use that accomplishment and momentum to win more. 

Take a strategic approach to which grants you pursue and when you apply. If you do your research, you’ll avoid wasting valuable time chasing a grant that won’t help you hit your short-term or long-term goals.

How to Choose the Right Nonprofit Grants

 Here are a few questions to consider before going down the application road:

  • Grant purpose: Does your nonprofit need funding for the purposes outlined by the grant funder? For example, it might not be worth applying for a technology grant when you’ve already built a successful tech stack. 
  • Funding amount: Is the funding amount worth your time and energy? 
  • Return on investment: Will the grant funds compensate you for the time spent on the application process? How will the funds help build your nonprofit or change your course?
  • Requirements: Do you meet the eligibility criteria outlined?

7 Best Nonprofit Grants to Explore in 2023

Not every nonprofit grant will be the right fit for your organization. However, we wanted to kick-start your search by highlighting a few of the top nonprofit grants.

1. Google Ads Grant

Google provides several resources for eligible nonprofit organizations. You can get premium access to Google’s platforms, such as Google Maps, YouTube Nonprofit Program, and Google Workspace for Nonprofits. 

It also provides up to $10,000 in Google Ads credit that you can renew monthly to boost your nonprofit’s marketing efforts. Use the ads to attract donors, find volunteers, and build awareness for your nonprofit.¹ 

To be eligible for Google Ad Grants, your organization must match your country’s nonprofit criteria requirements and not be a government entity, hospital, healthcare organization, school, or academic institution. 

2. Walmart Foundation

The Walmart Foundation provides local community grants (from $250 to $5,000) to nonprofits that directly benefit the area where the local Sam’s Club or Walmart store operates.² Your nonprofit can use the funds in various areas:

  • Community and economic development
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Education
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Health and human service
  • Hunger relief and balanced eating
  • Public safety
  • Quality of life

3. Amazon Web Services IMAGINE Grant

Amazon Web Services (commonly referred to as AWS) offers its IMAGINE grant to nonprofits using cloud technology to solve the world’s problems.³ Award packages can range from $30,000 to $150,000 in unrestricted financial support and up to $100,000 in AWS promotional credits.

To be eligible for grant application, you must be a nonprofit organization with a 501(c) status. Your nonprofit also must demonstrate how technology is a mission-critical component of your projects, products, or services and how you’ll use the cloud to drive toward your goals. 

4. Bank of America Charitable Foundation Grants

Bank of America’s nonprofit grants focus on funding local organizations to help improve people’s financial situations and meet community needs. The nonprofit areas include workforce development and education, food, housing, economic mobility, and community development.

Grants in smaller markets will range from $2,500 to $25,000, while grants in larger markets can range from $5,000 to $50,000.⁴

5. The Carnegie Foundation

The Carnegie Foundation’s grants for nonprofits offer funding for state-based work that brings higher education and resources to African students.⁵ Grant submissions and approvals occur on a rolling basis, so you won’t need to worry about meeting any deadlines. 

Looking at grantees from 2022, funding amounts can range from $100,000 to $975,000.

6. Coca-Cola Foundation Grant

The Coca-Cola Foundation provides grants to nonprofits that help local communities by empowering women, protecting the environment, educating scholars, and enhancing communities. The Foundation gave out over 500 donation grants in 2021 and aims to invest 2% of Coca-Cola’s operating income into grantmaking in the future.

7. Ford Foundation Grant

The Ford Foundation awards around 1,500 grants every year to nonprofits with transformative and scalable solutions aimed at eliminating inequality. Opportunities and open grants change with time, so it’s worth checking out the Ford Foundation’s Grant page to see what’s currently available. You can also sign up for email updates to learn when new opportunities arise.

Fuel Your Fundraising With Classy

While nonprofit grants may play a significant role in your organization’s strategy, they likely won’t make up the bulk of your fundraising. In fact, Giving USA found that grants from foundations and corporations make up just 21% of the giving pie, while contributions from individuals make up 70%. That means fundraising will likely be the primary way you fuel your nonprofit, and grants will help provide supplemental revenue and support specific projects.

Trust Classy to fuel your fundraising efforts. Our platform provides you with everything you need to attract supporters, inspire donations, and keep your nonprofit funded, including: 

Request a demo to see Classy’s fundraising platform in action.

Article Sources

  1. “Get Started,” Ad Grants, Google, https://www.google.com/grants/get-started/.
  2. Local Community Grants,” How We Give, Walmart, https://walmart.org/how-we-give/local-community-grants.
  3. “AWS IMAGINE Grant,” Nonprofits, AWS, https://aws.amazon.com/government-education/nonprofits/aws-imagine-grant-program/.
  4. “Bank of America Charitable Foundation Philanthropic Strategy,” Making an Impact, Bank of America, https://about.bankofamerica.com/en/making-an-impact/charitable-foundation-funding.
  5. “How to Apply,” Grantseekers, Carnegie Corporation of New York, https://www.carnegie.org/grants/grantseekers/how-apply/.
  6. “Grants Database,” Grants, Carnegie Corporation of New York, last modified 2022, https://www.carnegie.org/grants/grants-database/.
  7. “Welcome to Coca-Cola Community Request System,” Grants, Coca-Cola, https://coca-cola.smartsimple.com/.
  8. Grant Opportunities,” Our Grants, Ford Foundation, https://www.fordfoundation.org/work/our-grants/grant-opportunities/.
  9. “Giving USA 2018 Infographic,” Giving Trends, Giving USA, last modified June 14, 2018, https://givingusa.org/see-the-numbers-giving-usa-2018-infographic/.
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