One Funder’s Typology

“In my mind,” writes a grantmaker who has worked extensively with business, “foundations engage business in the following ways”:

  • Double indirect advocacy: a foundation > funds a nonprofit > to inform government policy > that regulates or shapes business
  • Indirect advocacy: a foundation > funds a nonprofit > to advocate to business that it change its practice.
  • Indirect engagement: a foundation > funds a nonprofit > to engage business in a project.
  • Direct relationship: a foundation > works directly with business—for example, through joint funding for a project.
  • Direct funding: a foundation > funds certain social elements of business—a “rare but sometimes helpful approach.

The typology, he explains, puts him in a position to ask “a bunch of questions,” such as:

  • Which approach is my foundation in the best position to pursue?
  • What prerequisites should I look for in business partners?
  • What public message will my foundation communicate with each of these alternatives?
  • Which approach is likely to achieve results more quickly?
  • Which approach is likely to lead to sustainable change and impact?

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by GrantCraft using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Working with the Business Sector.


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