Five Questions and Answers Before Applying for Social Grants
Make business a force for good. This is a statement we have all come across or thought about when we see how society’s most critical challenges seem to take a backseat when it comes to business ventures that pull in the most traction and funding.
Fortunately, we live in a time where social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency can influence the way investors make capital allocation decisions. We see organizations encourage the masses to focus more on social and environmental rewards rather than just financial rewards and with that, we see more entrepreneurs and innovators dare to venture into social impact spaces.
So, how do you get the funding you need to take your social impact business idea to the next level? Luckily, different organizations and philanthropists give a wide range of solutions that tackle society’s most critical challenges so the process starts with you.
What problem are you trying to solve?
This is probably the most important question you’d have to answer on this journey. You have to take a broad and intuitive approach to determine what problem you are most equipped to solve and because this venture is to lead to a successful sustainable business/project, you have to understand how well this opportunity provides value to the community involved.
Also, because social impact grants are tied to the number of lives that can be most positively impacted, you need to assess and determine how scalable your business will be in order to determine and attract the funding that will be required.
What organization’s vision focuses on the problem you want to solve?
This is also very crucial in determining how well your business gets the funding it requires. Since we know just one organization can’t solve all the problems we have in this world no matter how financially buoyant they are, you have to research and find who will be interested in hearing what you have to say about the problem you are trying to solve.
Some companies focus on just solving problems related to poverty or lack of access to good food and water, or access to quality education. Technology has enabled companies to share their mission and vision so you can always find companies whose social impact vision aligns with yours. Take advantage of the information available to you and highlight the companies you will reach out to with your business proposal.
Are you eligible to apply for the company’s grant?
In addition to the grants impacting the lives of those who will benefit from the development of the business, most grants also go out to funding owners of businesses that are mostly excluded from conventional capital allocations and investments.
There are Gender-lens Investments/grants that go solely to women, there are some that only go to indigenous persons from certain areas of the globe and there are some that only go to persons that work within certain organizations or industries. You have to ensure you do your research and understand the eligibility for the grants you are interested in.
Do you understand their application process?
Most companies, as mentioned earlier, publicize the information required concerning grants they offer. You have to check their websites frequently for calls for applications and submission deadlines. Ensure you follow every step stated by the company to avoid possible elimination. Subscribe to their newsletters so you will always be notified of their developments.
Have you gone over your application?
It is always important to peruse your application as many times as possible before submitting it. Sending an application with little to no mistakes shows how well you pay attention to details, it also tells the investors that you will handle their resources properly. You can seek help from an experienced colleague or a proofreader.
If this is your first time applying for a social impact grant, don’t be afraid if you don’t get it on the first try or if you don’t think you have everything figured out. A lot of investors understand the risks that go into creating businesses that are social and environmental reward-focused and they are willing to help you through your journey for creating the best version of your idea. Next, we are going to be sharing with you 30 grants every African Startup should know and you might just get the funding you need from there.