The Nebraska Community Foundation works with community, organizational and donor-advised affiliated funds serving 250 communities located in 80 counties. NCF and its affiliated funds have reinvested $269 million in Nebraska since 1994.
Deciding how to grant the money entrusted to you by your donors is a big decision. One way to make sure that you are getting the most from your donors’ investment is by considering the long-term impact of each grant before making it.
There are two ways to go about making grants. First, your FAC can meet and determine how the grant dollars you have available can best serve your community now and in the future. A second method you can use is to accept applications for grants. NCF encourages the first option – deciding how the money can make the biggest impact and making grants accordingly – as the best way to make grants.
It’s hard to say “no” to deserving local agencies or projects that may be worthy causes, but not impactful. This is the situation that you will face when you open the door and accept grant applications. You will most likely hear from several worthwhile causes but if you are striving to grant your donors’ dollars to make an impact tomorrow you will probably have to say “no” more than you can say “yes.”
That’s why NCF recommends that you research the needs of your community and offer grants accordingly – without asking for applications – so that you can decide on the future needs of your community future and grant accordingly. When making grants it is imperative that you think about not only the community’s needs today but the community needs of tomorrow and 20 years from now.
Consider the following questions when applying the seven principles of impact grantmaking to your grants.Create impact
Late in 2007 Don Harpst and his wife, Alice, challenged the McCook Community Foundation Fund to raise $75,000 by December 31, 2007. If successful, the Harpsts promised to donate an additional $25,000.
The Fund Advisory Committee visited with members of the community asking them to become Founders at the $1,000 level. All together the campaign produced $137,817. All but $4,000 is for an unrestricted endowment.Read more →