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Let’s Stop Doing Grants—A Better Approach to Funding

Let’s Stop Doing Grants—A Better Approach to Funding

by Bill High

Let’s stop doing grants.

Whoa! Wait a minute. No more grants? Let me explain. So often we think about grants as a gift to a specific nonprofit organization. On the other hand, nonprofits tend to think about grants as proposals to foundations. Nonprofits desperately seek to unlock the grantmaking machine.

But is there a better way?

I think so. As we look to the future, the problems in the world are profound and far-reaching. For instance, how do we provide clean water and hygiene to every child in the world? How can we end trafficking? How do we end extreme poverty? These are problems that are significant and beyond the scope of any one organization or donor group.

What’s the opportunity? A platform that produces collaboration around problems in the world that both nonprofits and donors can participate in. Perhaps that idea is far-fetched, but we are beginning to see some of the groundwork being laid for these kinds of opportunities with initiatives like Every Tribe Every Nation, The Finishing Fund, and WorldServe International.

In the foundation world, The Solutions Bank allows nonprofits to submit proposals to a central platform. Funders may review proposals in an online marketplace kind of format. It’s allowing the best ideas more visibility.

Candid president Bradford K. Smith, in writing about The Solutions Bank, notes that funders must be willing to give up a bit of control in sourcing proposals on platforms like this as well as speeding their review process. For nonprofits, the marketplace approach will give smaller organizations the opportunity to compete with the best and the biggest ideas.

And that’s perhaps the best way for us to think about it. Let’s work to create the marketplace for ideas and collaborators and in so doing we can, together, solve some of the world’s greatest problems.



Photo by Cameron Venti on Unsplash

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Published July 29, 2020

Topics: Giving Strategies | Nonprofit Development

Charitable GivingFoundationsGiving StrategiesImpactNonprofits

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