Before making your first grant, you’ll need to do some planning and make a few key decisions. First, you’ll need to determine how much the foundation is legally required to distribute and how much it will distribute annually. Next, you’ll need to decide whether members will donate as individuals or collectively, how potential grant recipients will be identified, and how funding decisions will be made.

As you make these decisions, you will start to see the contours of a grantmaking strategy emerge. Even if you initially want to experiment and grant to a wide array of causes and organizations, answering questions such as, “What types of grants are off-limits?” will help you define your scope and structure your efforts.

With more than 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States, we know that making your first grants may seem intimidating and exciting in equal measure. This guide will walk you through the basics, so you can make wise use of your resources and confidently undertake grantmaking with your foundation.