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Instructions for Funders

The Minnesota Common Grant creates the most benefit for nonprofits when many funders are using it. We’re glad you’re ready to get on-board.

Please use any of the suggested grant application language for the sections in your own applications or let grantees know they can use the online template. We suggest adding the following language to signal your alignment with the Common Grant, “This application (or section, question) aligns with the Minnesota Common Grant.”

To reduce the burden on grantees, we recommend:

  • using the exact language provided
  • using only the sections and questions you need
  • avoiding or limiting the use of additional questions, fields or attachments

We encourage using resources such as impala or GuideStar to collect as much information as possible for these sections: Data About the Organization; Demographic Data; and publicly available financial data. If your foundation wishes to automate the process and lessen the burden on potential grantees, Candid (the maker of GuideStar) offers APIs that can import information directly from GuideStar into many grants management platforms

Ideas for Funders to Get Started

If your organization isn’t ready to adopt the Minnesota Common Grant for all of your grantmaking, consider these steps to start easing the burden on nonprofits:

  • Adopt One or More of the 4 Common Sections: You don’t need to use the whole common grant.
    • Common Narrative Questions
    • Common Data About the Organization
    • Common Demographic Data
    • Common Attachments
  • Adopt the Common Grant for One of Your Grant Cycles: Use the 4 Common Sections for one of your grant cycles or one of your grant types. Starting with your Gen Op grants can be a good place to begin.
  • Adopt One or More Common Narrative Questions: If you aren’t ready to change your grant process, start with using just one or two of the common questions.
  • Get Support From a Peer: Please reach out to the working group, listed below, to learn from them, build peer relationships, and expand the use of the Common Grant. Or reach out to MCF and we can help make a one-to-one connection for you to connect to a peer.


Download the Common Grant Now



Or go to your software provider (i.e., Foundant, akoyaGO, Submittable) and search for the Minnesota Common Grant template

Looking for the previous version of the Minnesota Common Grant? The 2000 version remains available for your reference.

More to Come

Over the next months, MCF will continue to update related elements of the common grant including the common grant report form and the financial templates. In the interim, please continue to use the previous version of the report form and financial templates.

Tell Us How You’re Using It

The Minnesota Common Grant will be updated on a regular basis. Let us know how you’re using it, what’s working well, and what could be improved next. Your peers in philanthropy can benefit from your comments and testimonials as we all learn and grow along the way.

Submit your comment now.

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For more information about the Minnesota Common Grant, please reach out to MCF,