Skip to content
textured background

Checklists, Articles, Guides, & More

Chess pieces on a board that grant seekers use to developing awarding strategies

The 4 Types of Awarding Strategies Grant Seekers Should Know

Understanding how you can make your organization stand out to funders to win the awards you need is essential to a successful grant program.

In order to do this effectively, you need to understand a funder’s grant-making strategy for finding awardees. A grant-making strategy is the plan funders use to guide their program funding decisions and the way they evaluate their successes. This includes:

  • The type of projects they choose to fund 
  • The budget they allocate for them 
  • The way they evaluate if a program achieved its objectives

We want to help you understand the 4 main types of grant-making strategies that funders use to structure their programs so you can identify the right funders for your organization and increase your chances of winning more funding.

 1. Responsive

A responsive grant-making strategy responds to the needs of the local community. Funders that use this strategy are more likely to wait for proposals to come in from foundations, nonprofits, and other organizations than to develop or spearhead their own programs.

In many ways, responsive grant makers rely on their applicants to inform them about community needs. Your application is an opportunity to persuade the funder that you understand the problem and know how to intervene.

This means that smaller organizations with innovative ideas about how to solve community challenges may be successful in winning these awards.

Tip: Responsive grant makers often use competitive opportunity applications to identify programs they will fund. To find these awards, you will have to search for awards in a strategic way.

2. Strategic

Strategic grant makers are organizations or foundations that want to direct their funding toward specific community needs and may develop their own projects to meet those needs. Strategic grant makers are more likely to identify awardees from their networks and approach them than solicit open applications like a responsive grant maker does.

To find them, do your research to see if specific foundations or organizations consistently fund projects that intervene in the areas your program serves. Reach out to them and keep working to build your reputation as an organization who achieves project outcomes and manages funding effectively.

3. Proactive

Like strategic grant makers, proactive grant makers tend to identify and award organizations that target specific issues, and they value awardees that can make an impact. Proactive grant makers tend to fund longer-term projects (e.g., 3-5 years) as part of their organization’s long-term goals, and this means they must have the resources to do long-term relationship management with their awardees. 

Grant makers who employ this strategy may focus more on assessing risk when evaluating applications. You can improve your chances of getting funding by demonstrating a good track record of managing awards, reporting accurately on performance, and performing well in audits. Grant management software can help you quickly improve in all these areas. 

Tip: To learn more about what funders are looking for when they perform a risk assessment of your organization, check out this short guide.

4. Collaborative

Collaborative grant making is a type of strategy in which grant makers come together to create something of value for a community. This approach to grant making is focused on collaborative problem-solving, and the funds tend to be awarded to a larger number of organizations for short-term projects. This approach is sometimes called “initiative grant making” because the strategy requires the funder to take initiative and find collaborators to work with for a specific outcome. 

Because there are often so many stakeholders involved, collaborative grant makers tend to have clearly defined methods of communication. Your ability to report accurately and communicate effectively will help you stand out to them.

Next Steps 

When you understand what grant makers value in an awardee, you can help your organization:

  • Become more strategic when planning projects
  • Find more funding you can win
  • Write more targeted and compelling applications
  • Be the kind of awardee that funders trust 

Grant management software can help you find and apply for awards in a streamlined way. But you need to do more than just find more funding to realize the full potential of your grant program.

AmpliFund helps you report on your performance accurately, improves your communication with funders and other stakeholders, helps you create capacity, and increases your chances of doing well in the Single Audit.

To evaluate your organization’s current ability to manage funding and see how you might benefit from technological support, download the Grant Management Response Readiness Checklist.

Get Your Checklist

Photo by Uli-W from Pixabay

Topics:  FundingGrant Writing