Tuesday, 10 November 2009

What's wrong with charitable giving: part 1

Marrakech, Morocco

I am impressed by Pablo Eisenberg’s Wall Street Journal article of 9 November on charitable giving. Among other sensible points, he suggests that individuals and foundations increase their general operating support and multiyear funding to non-profits. His argument for increasing core funds:

“General operating support, or unrestricted money, is the lifeblood of effective organizations. It permits them to hire and maintain quality staff, conduct advocacy activities, build organizational capacity, participate in coalitions and retain the flexibility to pursue targets of opportunity. Unfortunately, only about 20% of all foundation grant money is allocated to such support. Many grantors believe that special-project funding is more easily evaluated and, therefore, more accountable, though there is little evidence to support this contention. What is true, of course, is that special-project funding gives foundations more control over the agendas of their grantees, responsibilities that should be vested in the boards and staff of nonprofits.

Whatever their reasons, foundations need to change their old habits. At least 50% of all foundation money should be granted for general operating support.”

This resonates with GDF’s experience. We have had relative success in attracting donations and obtaining grants for specific profits, but quite a bit less in finding sources of support for general operations.  To remedy this, we are considering launching a funding campaign to engage people interested in providing core support for our international and regional programs.

No comments:

Post a Comment