Talking Grants With GE Foundation's Asha Varghese
Grants offer fundraisers a great funding source for their nonprofits. However, putting all your fundraising eggs in the grants basket is a risky proposition. Grants are not guaranteed to be renewed, and foundations can reassess their grants and granting practices at any time.
That means fundraisers should continue to have multiple sources of funding — everything from grants to major gifts to corporate sponsorships and especially a strong base of individual donors … and more.
Of course, that does not mean fundraisers should avoid grants — far from it, in fact! Grants can be incredibly valuable for any nonprofit.
The GE Foundation is a funder that works with hundreds of nonprofits worldwide. The key factor in selecting grantees for the GE Foundation is an alignment in values and mission.
"When we look for partners, specifically for the health organizations, we look to make sure the nonprofit aligns with our areas of focus," says Asha Varghese, director of global health programs at the GE Foundation. "… There's a couple key criteria we look for. Sustainability and scalability are part of the work we do.
"We start off with a pilot program or seed funding, and we look to ensure that these programs have a potential for scalability and sustainability. That's a key component of our program," she adds. "… In true GE fashion, everything we work on is outcomes-driven. Nonprofits need to validate program sustainability and the impact of the program in their region."
The GE Foundation does not have an application process. Rather, it looks for grantees based on the types of work nonprofits do and the areas that are priorities for GE. It clearly lays out how it awards grants on its website and provides grantee requirements that include an impact report, publicity, budget changes, grant extensions and more. Most foundations have similar details on their grant processes, and it's vital for organizations seeking grants to know, understand and adhere to those guidelines.