You established your fund, but what is the proper amount of donations to have in your fund’s account before accepting applications for grants? Many factors come into play, but it is suggested to not necessarily have a specific amount, but enough financial coverage to handle three to four months of anticipated grants. If you are about to establish your fund for the first time right now, for example before hurricane season, you may want to establish a very detailed process and criteria.
The average grant awarded is dependent upon the grant maximum chosen and by the grant event that is being applied for. Funds that have grant maximums of $2,500 or less, commonly experience an average grant amount awarded of 80 – 90% of the maximum. For funds with grant maximums that are $5,000 or higher it is common to see the average grant hover between $3 – $4,000.
When determining the grant maximum, the most significant considerations are:
a) to provide an amount large enough to provide substantial assistance to an applicant while balancing their needs with the expected donations to be made as to avoid a mismatch in grants and donations.
b) Grants for large scale disasters most often are made for the maximum.
c) Grants for personal hardships follow the trends listed above.
Best practices are to have a grant minimum to discourage grant applications for small amounts. This will help focus your fund on those who have been substantially impacted by an event and to avoid applications for small amounts which could be obtained from family and/or friends. Commonly chosen minimums range between $500 – $1,000.
President, Emergency Assistance Foundation
The Emergency Assistance Foundation, Inc. is a 501c(3) charity created to design and operate multiple employer-sponsored disaster relief and employee hardship funds. These funds allow domestic and international employers and employees to help their coworkers in times of crises.
EAF is a 501c(3) tax-exempt, public, non-profit organization with IRS approval specifically for Employee Hardship and Disaster Relief Funds which can be administered in the United States, Canada and internationally.