Top 5 Ways to Make an Impact Beyond Grantmaking - Exponent Philanthropy
A post to Exponent Philanthropy's blog

Top 5 Ways to Make an Impact Beyond Grantmaking

Originally distributed as part of Glenmede’s Top 5 series

While grantmaking remains one of the most powerful ways for philanthropists to create an impact, new ways of thinking have inspired philanthropists to leverage additional strategies.

Become a Strategic Partner, Not Just a Funding Source

Grantmakers have the ability to impact grantees in a number of ways beyond providing funds. By strategically partnering with your grantees, you can gain a better understanding of the issues and challenges they face. Your partnership may open new opportunities for your grantees through providing access to mentorship, education, training or even new staff and team members. You likely have relationships and other connections that could benefit the organizations you support in a variety of ways.

Roll Up Your Sleeves

Have you ever considered working alongside the organizations that you fund? One of the most mutually beneficial and impactful experiences for organizations and their grantees is to work alongside one another. As a funder, you have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the projects and programs you are supporting while building a deeper connection with your grantees. For grantees, these moments provide an opportunity to see you as more than a funding source and learn more about the mission, vision and values of your organization.


Collaboration among funders can be an incredibly powerful tool. When multiple grantmaking organizations come together to share ideas and learn together, their partnership opens doors to not only increase the financial support for grantees, but also to discover and respond to additional unmet needs of these organizations and magnify the impact of the nonprofits they support. Ultimately, a collaborative take on grantmaking can create the opportunity to develop new strategies and improve the funders’ and grantees’ ability to make a lasting impact.

Align Values and Investments

Many investors believe that their investment portfolio should align not only with their financial objectives but with their personal values as well. For example, if a grantmaker has a passion for supporting environmental causes, their investment portfolio can be tailored to invest in environmentally friendly companies. By aligning their investment portfolio with their philanthropic goals, grantmakers are able to focus their strategy on making an impact on what is most important to them.

Make a Program Related Investment

Program related investments (PRIs) are a great way for grantmakers and philanthropists to invest directly in a cause they believe in. The investments typically come in the form of short-term low interest loans or equity investments. PRIs may be made to non-exempt entities, including for-profit corporations, and a foundation can earn income on their PRI investment; however, the primary purpose of a PRI investment must be to accomplish the foundation’s charitable mission.

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