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What We Care About

Flexible, Reliable Funding

When we provide funding that gives nonprofits space to innovate and the security to know our support is here for the long haul, they worry less about their own survival and focus more on responding to shifts in their environment and lifting up their communities.

81 %

of funders report giving some general operating support grants

Flexible, reliable funding, such as general operating support, multiyear grants and funds that cover indirect costs, gives nonprofits the resources to strengthen their organizations, respond to changes in our communities and make real progress.. When we provide funding that gives nonprofits space to innovate and the security to know our support is here for the long haul, they worry less about their own survival and focus more on responding to shifts in their environment and lifting up their communities.

Often, offering flexible, reliable support comes down to really trusting nonprofits. But solving complex issues is hard work — and nonprofits know what they need to reach their goals and support community members. That’s why GEO’s research shows that grantmakers who are more connected to their grantees are more likely to provide the support that nonprofits need to be successful. Making a real difference on some of the most deep-rooted, systemic problems our communities face requires us to give nonprofits the support they need to grow and become stronger for the long-term.

Time is our most precious commodity. There are only so many workable hours in a week. Multiyear support gives a small agency like ours the ability to focus on our programs and what happens for people.

Dave Coplan, executive director, Human Services Center and director, Mon Valley Providers Council

Helpful Tools and Resources

Stay informed of the emerging trends and promising practices from the field of philanthropy through GEO’s publications and research.

  • Joint Statement Calling for Increased Giving In This Time of Crisis

    Unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions. The challenges that we are collectively facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are changing the face of our societies here at home and across the globe. We’re all doing things we never imagined doing, but we’re doing them in the interest of the greater good.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • April 2020
  • GEOList Members Only

    GEOList Summary: Amplifying Discretionary Grants

    Hi GEO Friends, Our board members have made some discretionary grants that have led to interesting lessons and outcomes. For example, one joined forces with a city agency to fund a civic project that gained significant public attention and engaged numerous residents. The grant was so successful that the project was extended and later opened the door to other community engagement projects in that location. What started out as a small grant, had an big impact in a short amount of time and has since led to new partnerships. We have other examples like this. Our board members would like to blog about their experiences. We are aware of the dangers of doing this, of course, and our staff will pull together a list of pros and cons for the board to consider. However, we are wondering if any foundations have done anything to amplify their discretionary giving? If so, how did it go? If you think this is a terrible idea based on experience, I’d love to hear about that as well. I would appreciate your input. Thanks so much.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • March 2020
  • Perspective

    A Note from GEO CEO, Marcus Walton, on COVID-19

    The global COVID-19 outbreak being felt here and across the world is forcing philanthropy to reconsider our practices to be more responsive to nonprofits and communities. GEO CEO, Marcus Walton, shares his perspective on the evolving situation.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • March 2020
  • GEOList Members Only

    GEOList Summary: Fundraising Question

    Dear Colleagues - The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is a grant making public charity and not a private Foundation. We have a policy to not compete for grants or conduct other fundraising activities that would put us in competition with the vary organizations who may seek funding from us. Our Board has decided to revisit this policy and explore the possibility of conducting its own fundraising activities. Does anyone else have a policy on fundraising or pursuing grants or has explored this within their organizations? And if so, would you be willing to share?

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • March 2020
  • GEOList Members Only

    GEOList Summary: Question about operations ratios

    Hi all - I work with a lean family foundation - we have 6 full time staff and grant anywhere from $7MM to 10MM a year. I am trying to determine a target ratio of operating expenses to grantmaking. Anyone have a target? Is there an "industry" standard anyone can point me to?

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • February 2020

Upcoming Events

  • Remote Learning and Webinars

    Response, Recovery, Resiliency: What Nonprofits Need From Grantmakers During the COVID-19 Crisis

    Join GEO and the Nonprofit Finance Fund for this webinar designed to help funders make sense of their role by understanding the different needs and opportunities in providing immediate response funding that enables organizations to survey and recovery funding that accelerates their path back. Participants will be challenged to consider how our actions now can lay the groundwork for a more resilient future in which nonprofits and funders forge relationships based on mutual trust and a shared commitment to center equity as we rebuild our nonprofit sector.

    • April 2020
  • Conferences

    CANCELLED: 2020 National Conference

    Hosted in partnership with Philanthropy Massachusetts, the 2020 National Conference provides participants with information, connections and experiences to continue improving and pursuing smarter grantmaking practices that positively impact nonprofit effectiveness.

    • April 2020

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Perspectives on Philanthropy

Interesting thoughts and ideas circulating in the GEO community.

  • To break the nonprofit starvation cycle, funders must take the lead.

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    PEAK Grantmaking

    Project Streamline

    Project Streamline focuses on helping grantmakers get the information they need, while reducing the burden of application and reporting practices on nonprofit grantseekers.

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    Philanthropy California

    Full Cost Project

    Created by funders for funders, the Full Cost Project explores what it takes for funders to develop new grantmaking practices based on what it really costs to deliver outcomes.

Related Topics

Capacity Building

Grantmakers who put the work in to provide effective capacity-building support help ensure that nonprofits have what they need to deliver on their missions over the long term.

Learn More

Strengthening Relationships

When we build trust and tap the knowledge and perspective of nonprofits and the communities we serve, we create better solutions.

Learn More
Margie Obeng, Program Assistant, GEO


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