Nonprofit Advocacy Generates Big Return on Investment for Funders, Report Finds

Every dollar that foundations and other donors invested in advocacy, community organizing, and civic engagement over a five-year period provided a return of $115 in community benefit, a new report from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy finds.

The report, Leveraging Limited Dollars: How Grantmakers Achieve Tangible Benefits by Funding Policy and Community Engagement (14 pages, PDF), examined a hundred and ten organizations in thirteen states and found that the groups leveraged $231 million in funding from grantmakers into $26.6 billion in benefits to low-wage workers, communities of color, rural residents, and other marginalized groups. To assist other funders interested in supporting advocacy to achieve maximum impact, the report provides suggestions on how to get started and explains why the strategies used by organizations in the survey were successful.

The findings are based on seven reports conducted as part of NCRP's Grantmaking for Community Impact Project, which aims to demonstrate the positive consequences of foundation-funded advocacy. As part of the project, NCRP compiled a directory of monetized and non-monetized impact achieved by the surveyed organizations over the five-year reporting period.

"This report demonstrates without a doubt that foundation funding for advocacy and civic engagement results in substantial benefits for families and communities across the nation," said NCRP executive director Aaron Dorfman. "These strategies enable nonprofits and grantmakers to address complex social and economic challenges effectively and improve the lives of the under-served."

"Report Shows Foundation Funding of Advocacy Produces a Return on Investment of $115 to $1." National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy Press Release 01/18/2012.