Charitable vs. Non-charitable Grants & Contributions

Private funders can award grants for different purposes. CFR solicits "charitable" grants and contributions whereas the CSUF Office of Grants & Contracts (OGC) solicits "non-charitable" grants and contracts.

While OGC primarily focuses on government funding sources, it also assists faculty in submitting grant applications and proposals to private funders for "non-charitable" projects. These are usually contracted services such as a research project that benefits the funder and includes a specific set of deliverables due to the funder during or at the end of the project. Hypothetical examples of "non-charitable" grants would be: a survey of consumer attitudes on automobile fuel efficiency for Ford Motor Company; an engineering study of the effects of wind turbulence on airplane wings for Boeing; or the human physiological effects of chocolate for Hershey.

CFR assists faculty with applications and proposals for "charitable" grants and contributions. These are for charitable purposes where the funds are given to carry out a project or program that will benefit a third party or parties (e.g., target population) and not the funder. Hypothetical examples of 'charitable' grants and contributions would be: a new building or equipment to better serve students; a collaborative project with a local elementary school to improve science education; or an outreach program for arts.

Project-Centered Approach

As different types of funders have contrasting styles of grantmaking, a different approach must be used for each type. Government agencies and some private funders solicit proposals for projects that are of interest to them through Requests for Proposals (RFPs). These usually spell out the exact goals and objectives of the grant program; application and project timelines; funding range or amount; require an end product; and typically fund the entire amount needed for the project.

On the charitable giving side, funders usually do not specify anything more than general areas of interest, e.g., education, health, science or the arts. Most corporate giving programs and private foundations do not solicit proposals. They typically do not specify what kinds of projects or goals they will support; do not have application or project timelines; do not have funding ranges or grant amount limits; do not require a specified set of deliverables (other than grant reports); and generally will not provide 100 percent funding for most projects.

Because of these fundamental differences, a different strategy must be employed when seeking charitable grants and contributions. CFR suggests that faculty members develop project ideas first, rather than looking for funding opportunities that might match their needs. Once a project idea has been created, then University Advancement can work with you to develop a strategy for identifying and pursuing the most likely sources of private funds.