THE ART OF WINNING CORPORATE GRANTS by Howard with Marjorie Chamberlain Hillman


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A comprehensive tricks-of-the-trade handbook for fund raisers seeking a share of the $4 billion in cash, goods, and services that U.S. corporations contribute annually to tax-exempt causes. Hillman, author of books on winning foundation and government grants, emphasizes that the tactics which can pay off with institutional and bureaucratic donors may not prove fruitful in the business world. Commercial philanthropists, for instance, give short shrift to both religious and anti-establishment projects, underwriting chiefly programs that produce returns of some sort--e.g., influencing opinion-makers, supporting employee services, or enhancing community relations. Hillman reviews corporate funding sources--including captive foundations which sprang up during World War II and the Korean War when the excess-profits tax was as high as 82%--and notes that, while such entities are theoretically autonomous, their funding policies in practice reflect sponsors' aims. Industry by industry, he reports, banking is the best bet for largesse, utilities the least generous. As for recipients, health/welfare agencies and educational institutions split close to 75 cents of the corporate charity dollar; cultural, civic, and related groups share the balance. (Non-academic libraries claim a meager 0.1% slice of the pie.) Roughly half the text covers basic techniques, and most of the advice is unsurprising--do research, develop contacts, appoint affluent individuals to the board, and the like. But other tips qualify as minor masterpieces of marketing resourcefulness. Hillman advises devising creative tie-ins as did a museum that successfully approached a paper-bag maker to help finance a special exhibit of shopping-bag art. He also counsels checking the possibility of odd couplings--like the Chicago Symphony's use of the Playboy mailing list for a solicitation campaign. Plus: suggested formats for grant proposals, cover letters, progress reports, and other follow-through material--and a liberal sampling of the devil's-advocate queries that supplicants can expect from evaluators. A four-section appendix includes not only a long list of useful information sources, but a capsule history of corporate philanthropy in the U.S. For tapping that often-alien source, it should prove invaluable.

Pub Date: March 27th, 1980
Publisher: Vanguard