What makes a grant website design successful?
This is a trick question… So the better question is: why is this a trick question?
The answer is two-fold.
First, many grants do not have stand alone grant websites; most are part of their funder’s website.
Second, there is no such thing as “one size fits all” grant website because grants are funded by a diverse group of funders, for an even wider range of people and projects. Funders include private individuals, charitable foundations, corporations, or governments. Each of these funders have their own considerations, rules, and reporting accountability.
Moreover, grant recipients are so diverse. Grants are financial awards given to individuals, businesses, or nonprofits to fund specific initiatives. Grants exist for all kinds of people, projects, and purposes.
All grant programs are competitions
There is really just one thing that every grant program has in common: competition.
Grants are highly competitive because grant funding is so limited. The financial awards need not be paid back, so, applicant evaluation requires many rounds of review.
Important elements in grant website designs
Our grant management software system, OpenWater Grants, supports this competitive award process. Grantmakers use our platform to manage the entire grantmaking process. This includes the creation of grant websites.
What makes a strong grant website design? Here are some of the common elements we’ve observed:
- Single photo illustration on the homepage to illustrate who the grant serves
- Color palette references funding organization’s corporate design
- Clear statement explaining grant
- Information about grant eligibility
- Information about the funders, and/or the history of charitable foundation
- Geographic sorting (where applicable) to see grantee results in state/local communities
- Responsive design suitable for viewing on any device (desktop, tablet, phone, etc.)
Here are some excellent examples.
You know this national grocery chain as Safeway or Albertsons depending on where you live in the United States.
The Albertsons Foundation does not fund individuals. Instead, it distributes grants to nonprofit organizations serving communities where the grocery operates. The foundation funds many charitable causes. Among the priorities is the eradication of hunger.
FedEx Small Business Grant Contest distributes grant funds to independent businesses. Applicants must submit applications and submit to a public vote. FedEx puts their corporate marketing muscle to work on behalf of applicants, too.
The Home Depot Foundation fittingly distributes community development grants. These $5,000 grants are distributed to organizations serving veterans, disaster relief, and trades training. Nearly 4,000 cities have benefited from foundation grants since 2011.
Airline JetBlue sponsors “jetBlue for Good,” a mission to “inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground.” They fund grants for children and education, community building, and the environment.
The company’s unusual efforts to recycle uniforms into messenger bags is an example of their commitment to the environment.
JPMorgan Chase is quick to point out that they solicit grantmaking organizations by invitation only. If you operate a nonprofit that offers job training, small business loans, financial education, or neighborhood revitalization, you may be eligible. More information found in the corporate responsibility portion of their website.
Taco Bell Foundation
The Taco Bell Foundation distributes grants to four well-known nonprofits. These are: Boys & Girls Clubs of America, City Year, Junior Achievement, and MoneyThink. Taco Bell Foundation supports these clubs in states across America.
The Walmart Foundation meets the needs of the under-served by directing charitable giving toward Opportunity, Sustainability and Community. There are six grant categories. Some grants are invitation-only; others are restricted to 501(c)(3) nonprofits.
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave $1.4 billion in cash and in-kind contributions during fiscal year ending January 31, 2017.
Clorox / Clorox Foundation (serves Oakland, CA)
The Clorox Company focuses its charitable efforts in Oakland, California. The company distributes grants for the arts and youth education. It recently added urban farming as an area of support, too, by invitation. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded cash grants totaling more than $107 million to nonprofit organizations, schools and colleges.
Target / Target Foundation (serves Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN)
The Target Foundation provides grants to K-12, youth development, cultural arts, and social service organizations in the Minneapolis-St.Paul Minnesota area. In 2017, the Target Foundation awarded grants to organizations throughout the Twin Cities, totaling more than $9 million.
We offer many free resources to help you establish and grow a grant program. We offer tips on engagement, productivity, and promotion. Or, contact us to discuss your grant program. See if our grant management software will work for you.