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 Impact100 Model is clear in specifying the minimum grant size for Impact100 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. Impact100 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 Impact100 communities, the “significant grant” will be smaller than $100,000. In start up years, some Impact100 chapters do not gather 100 women. These circumstances are different than what we are discussing here.