Findings Friday | Foundation-Grantee Misalignment

October 04, 2013
| by Editor |

Many nonprofit leaders aren’t sure foundations are doing enough. In a new report, the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) explains why there is such a lack of faith and what can be done about it.

The CEP’s new report, Nonprofit Challenges: What Foundations Can Do, dives into the nonprofit sector’s great schism and points to opportunities for foundations and their grantees to form more constructive and transparent relationships as they strive for the same goals.

52% of nonprofit executives believe foundations are aware of their organization’s challenges. Further, only about one-third of foundation funders are believed to share their knowledge and resources to overcome those challenges. These staggering numbers may be indicative of the depth, transparency, and comfort of grantee-funder relationships. Respondents suggest building rapport and maintaining relationships outside of the grant application process may allow funders to better address previously unacknowledged barriers.

More than half of responding nonprofit leaders want additional help from foundations in meeting program and service demands, increasing organizational effectiveness with technology, and developing leadership skills. For foundations, this could mean bridging funding gaps, allocating unrestricted funds for infrastructure and technology, investing in nonprofit leaders by providing training opportunities, or just brokering existing resources among myriad other innovative and not-so-innovative methods.

excerpt from Nonprofit Challenges: What Foundations Can Do

Other findings:

  • Of the nonprofits who find influencing public policy to be challenging, two-thirds believe foundations can help. (Note: 22% of respondents said public policy engagement is not relevant to their organization!)
  • Many nonprofit leaders think that foundations can help them maintain (45%) or increase (48%) earned revenue as a proportion of their total revenue.
  • 99% of responding nonprofit leaders said attracting new foundation funders is challenging (72% find it extremely challenging).
  • 68% of respondents find securing multi-year funding extremely challenging.

According to CEP President, Phil Buchanan, “Given the hesitance nonprofits may have about openly sharing their challenges with their funders, we hope this report helps set the stage for foundations to do more to strengthen those they fund. After all, foundations depend on their grantees to help them achieve their goals.”

Read the full report.

Tommy Pearce is Communications Coordinator at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.

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