Getting started with a corporate charitable Foundation.

A grant giving Foundation can deliver both positive change and enhance your company’s position and reputation. Planned and run well, a charitable foundation rather than ad-hoc donations will far exceed what is possible for an organisation when it comes to making an impact. Other benefits launching one can deliver include a visible and measurable demonstration of Corporate Social Responsibility, alignment of Foundation goals with corporate values, the ability to deliver long-term support and greater transparency.

None of this can happen overnight, so a deep consideration of the Foundation’s goals and how they will be delivered is an essential part of success. Talk to the team, those who you will be working with and, who you will likely offer help towards. What do they want? What do they need? How do they want to receive this support?

Your Foundation might want to help general causes, like youth groups or health research, tackle broader issues such as sport or the environment, or maybe link the work they do as a business with what they will deliver. As a nice example, the Screwfix Foundation, is a grant giving charity with a focus on improving, repairing and maintaining homes and community facilities used by those in need.

With these introductory points in mind, there’s three initial points to consider:

Create a clear mission.

It is essential that the grants your Foundation distributes are accessible to your potential grantees. For many organisations, they see grants as something mysterious and challenging and are put off from applying. So, when you publish your mission, it should be written in clear and simple language, for example, “We support youth charities in Scotland.” Anyone looking at it should immediately be able to think either “that’s for me” or “that’s not for me” with little ambiguity. Often mission statements are quite grandiose and unclear and can lead to a waste of time, for both the grant giver and potential applicants.

Build an engaged team.

Even the most clear and concise mission statement can fall down if the Foundation's staff aren’t aligned with the grantmaker’s goals. It’s crucial that the team are committed to the values of the organisation and that these values are diffused through the culture both internally and externally. If the organisations culture is strong, then many positives will flow from this.

Recruit expert trustees.

A trustee's role in a Foundation is to be a ‘guardian of purpose’, making sure that all decisions put the needs of the beneficiaries and Foundation first. They safeguard the Foundations assets and make sure its run well and sustainably. Whilst not typically involved in the day-to-day running of the Foundation, they can be the ‘critical friend’ to the management by giving support and sometimes challenge to actions. Don’t be afraid to recruit far and wide, it’s the personality and commitment that are important.

Learn more about our Grantmaker Solutions and how we work with the likes of National Grid, the People’s Postcode Lottery and more. 

We are very thankful for coming across your platform to help us improve our community. Localgiving has been an ABSOLUTE GAMECHANGER for Nova Sports and Coaching! We are constantly recommending you to other charitable organisations as well as the invaluable Magic Little Grants fund!