Cross-post: The Case for General Operating Support

  • By Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, August 16, 2018

Andrea Bretting, Michael Jordan and Mailee Walker of the Claneil Foundation recently wrote about their shift to providing 100 percent of their grants as general operating support. This post originally appeared on the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s website. To read the complete post, please visit CEP’s website.

Recently, a grantee sent us an email to request an early disbursement of their organization’s multiyear grant installment. The executive director explained the organization had a one-month gap in covering operational expenses. By moving our annual disbursement up a couple of months, the organization would be able to bridge that gap.

This is an organization that is making a big impact locally and globally, and was recently praised by the Stanford Social Innovation Review for its impact in the community. Given all of its success, how could the organization still be facing a shortfall?

Two reasons: immediate funder strategy changes and a lack of general operating support. The latter reason is one that the philanthropic sector should be working to overcome.

In April, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) released General Operating Support: A Guide for Trustees, which finds that, despite the evidence that general operating support can help nonprofits increase their impact, “the percentage of funding given as general operating support has not increased over the past decade.” Taking this context into account, we are proud to say that the opposite has been true for the Claneil Foundation — we have increased the amount of general operating support we provide in the past 10 years. Today, 100 percent of our grants are for general operating support.

Head over to the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s website to continue reading.