We often get questions about whether giving smaller, “consolation prize,” grants to Finalists who are not selected as our grant recipients at our Annual Meeting is a good practice. The Impact 100 Model is clear in specifying the minimum grant size for Impact 100 chapters is $100,000. Here is why we would caution you on giving away small “consolation prize” grants:

  • Your members were recruited believing that their donation would be part of a “transformational grant” to a local nonprofit. If you give away one grant for $100,000 and 4 grants of $5,000 each, how does the member know where her money was spent? Are we misleading our members in our recruitment process?
  • There are typically other funders in your community who give away smaller grants with plenty of pride and due diligence. Impact 100 runs the very real risk of alienating these grant-makers by giving away small grants that are typically not stewarded after the fact. Partnering with these other funders is a much better solution, in the long run.
  • Our best recruiting event of the year is the Annual Meeting. When one (or more) grant recipient(s) gets a significant grant and other(s) walk away empty handed, we create a much stronger call to action for recruiting more members and for fulfilling the nonprofit Wish Lists. Having every Finalist walk away a “winner” removes the urgency in the hearts and minds of your members.

These “Best Practices” are specifically aimed at smaller, consolation prize grants that are made in addition to a large grant. In some Impact 100 communities, the “significant grant” will be smaller than $100,000. In start up years, some Impact 100 chapters do not gather 100 women. These circumstances are different than what we are discussing here.