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Laura Dosanjh

Senior Advisor
Charities Aid Foundation

T: +44 (0)3000 123 298
E: corporate@cafonline.org

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HOW CAN GRANT MAKING HELP YOUR CSR?


Why grant making?

A key motivation for our clients is to achieve the greatest social impact with their sustainability and CSR budgets in a way that is efficient and aligns well with their business strategy. Our mission is to encourage effective giving, and our passion is to find new ways to make their giving count. 

By taking a thoughtful, strategic approach to corporate grant making, businesses can make a transformational difference to the charity sector. They can extend their reach and impact through working with not just one, but multiple, charities and causes. Corporate grants can provide much-needed capital to have an impact on a given social change agenda, enable civil society organisations to leverage other funding sources and build community resilience.

Grant making can also help create a competitive edge as brands continuously compete for share, seek new sources of value and stem a decline in trust. For every pound invested in grant making, there is a multiplier effect for business and society. This unique form of exchange, now powered by online technology, enables the business and social sectors to pool their assets and target scarce resources on the greatest need. Being mission-led, charities can help to “humanise” businesses and enable them to express their values; as commercial enterprises, businesses can provide scarce capital and commercial insight.

Recently we’ve partnered with clients on some innovative, online grant making programmes, supporting them to identify and impact causes that matter to them through collaborative design, thoughtful and efficient delivery and accelerating their learning for future programmes.

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Extending beneficiary reach

High street retailers have been investing for some time in local community-based organisations and national partnerships. The 2015 carrier bag levy has added an additional source of funds and potential for these companies to achieve social impact and demonstrate their values to the public. Many retailers have chosen to strengthen the communities they’re based in. Through partnering with CAF, they have created a positive social platform for their community investment programmes, scaled up quickly and efficiently and reached causes in multiple locations, reflecting their business footprint.  

We’re also working with global brands like Avon, through their Avon Foundation for Women, to reach victims of domestic violence on a more global scale. We designed a theory of change and strategic grant making programme to help target grants and maximise their impact. The fund is already making grants to causes to support victims in four countries with very different levels of infrastructure, offering huge potential for impact and learning. 

Developing multiple stakeholder relationships

The key to developing successful programmes for our clients has been the development of positive stakeholder relationships, leveraging our expertise in giving and utilising our bespoke online capability. We’ve managed to create more transparency in the grant making process, supporting applicants to understand their eligibility and submit quality applications, whilst simplifying the process for donors and grantees. Where employee engagement has been a priority, we’ve also found new ways to engage more internal stakeholders in the decision making process.

As a global intermediary in the charity sector, we’ve also used our networks and knowledge to help clients target new causes, particularly in places where they have limited experience of working with civil society. Working with us has helped them build stronger relationships with social sector organisations and become more confident in making grants across a range of geographies. As Christine Jaworsky, Director of Avon Foundation for Women said “CAF’s strategic insight, responsiveness and rigour… has been key in building credibility and confidence in stakeholders in different countries”.

Learning about impact and developing inspiring programmes

But taking the long view, perhaps the most valuable benefit of grant making is the data it captures and the real time insights it generates on spend and impact. Donors are rightly demanding a stronger case for investment with a richer evidence base. With a focus on shared outcomes and impact, both grant maker and grantee can interrogate the data, capture and share learnings over the course of the grant making. These can then be fed into future ambitions. Our live dashboard reporting and review functions have given our clients a completely new level of insight, allowing them to focus their time on creating powerful narratives, engaging internal and external stakeholders and developing best-in-class, inspiring programmes.

The next frontier?

We’re excited about the potential for social change created by the combination of digital technology and a thoughtful approach to grant making. It feels to us like a new and exciting frontier for companies who want to use their budgets for a transformational impact, extend their reach and understand more about the difference they can make within society. Through the multiplier effect, grant making also helps them demonstrate commitment to their values and build positive narratives and relationships with stakeholders within and outside the business.  

Have you had experience of grant making and would you like to talk to us about your experiences and future ambitions? Read more about our grant making work with companies and find out how to get in touch here.

CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY INSIGHT

Corporate grant making


We design and run your grant making, whilst you get on with business. We can tailor this service specifically to your needs.

Avon Foundation for Women


We helped Avon Foundation for Women align their grant making with their global markets, extending their reach to maximise social impact.

CAF Advisory Services


Our Advisory team have a strong track record of providing strategic corporate responsibility, sustainability and community investment advice.