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Considerations for Not-for-Profits Before Accepting Grants

Grant acceptance is a critical decision for not-for-profit organisations (NFPs), with significant implications for their operations and compliance. It’s essential for NFPs to carefully consider various factors before accepting grants to ensure alignment with their mission, compliance with legal requirements, and effective financial management.

Key Factors to Consider Before Accepting Grants for Not-for-Profits

Before accepting a grant, not-for-profit organisations should take several important factors into account:

Purpose of the AGM

The AGM serves as a platform for not-for-profit organisations to provide members with a comprehensive report on the charity’s activities and finances from the previous year. It allows members to ask questions, elect members to the governing body, and actively participate in key decision-making processes.

Review Internal Requirements:

NFPs should thoroughly examine their governing documents, such as their constitution or rules, to identify any restrictions or limitations regarding funding sources. Some organisations may have clauses prohibiting funding from specific types of businesses or government entities. It’s crucial to ensure that accepting the grant complies with the organisation’s objectives and purposes as outlined in its governing documents.

Understand Grant-Maker Requirements:

Different grant-makers may have specific eligibility criteria and legal limitations based on their funding policies. For instance, philanthropic organisations and government bodies often require NFPs to be incorporated or have deductible gift recipient (DGR) tax status. Understanding these requirements beforehand can help NFPs assess their eligibility and avoid wasting time on ineligible applications.

Key Factors to Consider Before Accepting Grants for Not-for-Profits
NOTE: Before proceeding with grant acceptance, it's imperative for not-for-profit organisations to meticulously review the privacy laws enforced by the grant-makers. The presence of such regulations can profoundly influence the operational framework of the organisation. Therefore, it's essential to thoroughly assess the legal implications to ensure compliance and mitigate any potential risks associated with privacy laws.
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Seek Legal and Financial Advice:

Given the legal and financial implications of accepting grants, NFPs should consider seeking external advice from legal and financial professionals. Legal experts can help interpret complex grant agreements and ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations. Financial advisors can assess the financial viability of the grant and its impact on the organisation’s long-term sustainability.

Evaluate Alignment with Organisational Goals:

Before accepting a grant, NFPs should assess whether the funding opportunity aligns with their mission, goals, and strategic objectives. Grants that support core programs and initiatives can enhance organisational capacity and impact, while those that deviate from the mission may pose risks to organisational integrity and effectiveness.

Consider Long-Term Implications:

Accepting a grant can have long-term implications for an NFP’s operations, finances, and reputation. Organisations should carefully evaluate the potential risks and benefits associated with the grant, including its impact on staffing, program delivery, and financial sustainability. Assessing the long-term implications can help NFPs make informed decisions about grant acceptance.


In conclusion, not-for-profit organisations must approach grant acceptance with careful consideration and strategic planning. By reviewing internal requirements, understanding grant-maker requirements, assessing grant amount and conditions, seeking professional advice, evaluating alignment with organisational goals, and considering long-term implications, NFPs can make informed decisions that support their mission and enhance organisational effectiveness. Prioritizing due diligence and thoughtful analysis can help NFPs maximize the benefits of grant funding while mitigating potential risks.

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