Registration and Online Application Questions
I’m new to applying. What’s my first step?
Begin by reviewing the Venable Foundation’s recent annual report, eligibility requirements, and funding priorities on this website. If your nonprofit is eligible and able to make a strong case for support, please visit venable.smartsimple.com and register as a new user. Once successfully registered, you will be able to start drafting an application for funding.
While registering, how can I find my organization in the online portal?
Please be sure you are following the instructions on each registration page. If you encounter a problem on the “Organization Search” page, be certain that you are entering information into only one of the search fields. It is recommended that information be entered into the EIN field without dashes or spaces between numbers. This section verifies your tax-exempt status and connects to the IRS nonprofit database. There are instances where newly formed nonprofits may not yield any results in this search function. This is due to a lag that can occur before the IRS updates its database. Organizations in this situation will not be able to apply until their EIN is recognized through the search function.
I’m a newly formed nonprofit. May I apply?
All valid 501(c)(3) organizations may apply as long as they fit the Venable Foundation’s eligibility criteria.
I can’t locate my draft application already in progress. Where is it?
Once logged into the Venable Foundation’s grants portal, any applications initiated by the user will be found under the “My Applications” section. Note that there are a number of categories in this section, including “Draft,” “Submitted,” “Under Review,” “Approved,” and “Declined.” Select the most appropriate column to continue working on a drafted application or to review submitted or past applications.
My organization has a new contact person. What should I do?
The new contact person should register as a new user at venable.smartsimple.com. The new user will not be able to see historical grant application records unless they request permission to do so from the Foundation’s director. This change will need to be made manually by the director. Note that only one user at a time may be the main contact for each grant record.
Should I remove past employees from the organization’s profile in the application portal?
Do not attempt to change usernames or modify user e-mail addresses or permissions. This may result in loss of account access for you and others from the same organization. Please contact the Foundation’s director if you would like to move ownership of grant records from a former staff member to a different person who is already registered in the online system.
General Application Guidance
Average grant size – How much do I apply for?
The average size of a Venable Foundation grant is approximately $10,000. First-time awardees are usually on the smaller end of the spectrum. It is up to the organization to determine what it feels is an appropriate request.
How often may I apply?
Eligible nonprofits may apply once per calendar year.
General Operating Support vs. Project Support
Applicants have the option to apply for either General Operating Support or Project Support, depending on the needs of the organization at a particular time. Organizations with a scope of work that includes geographic areas beyond the Venable Foundation’s boundaries should apply for a project that is centered around a single Venable location. For example, a national organization may target its proposal at Baltimore-focused initiatives. Each project request must include a separate budget.
Which funding category or priority area should I apply under?
Many nonprofits span two or more priority areas (for example, legal services for children). It is up to each applicant to determine which of the Venable Foundation’s funding priorities is the most relevant to the nature of the organization and/or proposal.
I work in more than one Venable Foundation location area – Which do I choose?
Applicants must choose only one Venable Foundation location, as their proposal will be reviewed by a location-specific committee. Select the location that best fits the needs of the organization at that point in time and for which a strong case for support can be made.
I am a nationally focused nonprofit. May I apply?
Organizations with a scope of work that includes geographic areas beyond the Venable Foundation’s boundaries should apply for a project that is centered around a single Venable location. For example, a national organization may target its proposal at Baltimore-focused initiatives. Each project request must include a separate budget.
Do you accept a letter of intent or a full application?
A full application is required for funding consideration.
Do you fund special events or fundraisers?
No, the Venable Foundation does not provide sponsorship dollars for special events or fundraisers.
Do I need a Venable LLP connection in order to apply?
No, there is no requirement to have a Venable LLP connection to apply to the Venable Foundation. The application process is open to any eligible nonprofit organization that is impacting one of our identified locations.
May I apply using a fiscal host?
Yes, organizations that utilize fiscal hosts may apply for support. While registering, please select “Affiliate Organization” as the type of registration, since the 501(c)(3) number is being shared by other entities. This type of registration will allow you to create a unique record that is distinct from any others sharing your tax-exempt number. In the body of the proposal, please identify the nature of the relationship between your organization/project and the fiscal host.
I am a chapter or affiliate organization that is connected to a larger entity. May I apply?
Yes. While registering, please select “Affiliate Organization” as the type of registration, since the 501(c)(3) number is being shared by other entities. This type of registration will allow you to create a unique record that is distinct from any others sharing your tax-exempt number. In the body of the proposal, please identify the nature of the relationship between your organization/project and the fiscal host.
How much information should I include in the proposal?
Generally, proposals are approximately two pages of typed text in length. While there is no word limit for the application narrative, applicants are encouraged to keep their proposals as succinct as possible and to make a strong case for support. The proposal should provide an overview of your organization’s mission and programs that impact the community.
When will I hear back on the result of my application?
The time span from application deadline to decision is approximately three to four months. Note that applications submitted after a particular deadline will not be reviewed until the subsequent deadline, thus extending the timeline.