While the philanthropic sector controls close to a trillion dollars in assets, many nonprofits struggle to raise core operating support to maintain their most basic operations, a new report from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy in Washington, D.C., finds.
Written by Rick Cohen, former executive director of NCRP, the report, A Call to Action: Organizing to Increase the Effectiveness and Impact of Foundation Grantmaking (32 pages, PDF), examines how traditional grantmaking affects the sustainability and effectiveness of nonprofits and features commentary from representatives of more than 120 nonprofits in Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, and Washington.
Many of the nonprofit leaders featured in the report expressed frustration at how project-specific funding limits their ability to handle crises, start new initiatives, maintain and improve organizational infrastructure, and pay workers' salaries. Several of the representatives also said they were forced to resort to "creative" grant writing and reporting to help their organizations meet expenses.
"After listening to people who do the real in-the-trenches work for nonprofits across the country, we learned that the lack of general support funding has a serious impact on the effectiveness of foundations and nonprofits, and also on foundation-grantee relationships," said NCRP executive director Aaron Dorfman. "The need for sweeping change in foundation grantmaking practices is undeniable. This report exposes that need by allowing nonprofit leaders to tell their stories in their own words."