Dueling Trends: Grants are Increasing, but Grant Seekers are Increasingly Unhappy

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA

Some interesting findings have been reported by the Foundation Center and Independent Sector this year.

First, the Foundation Center.

For the sixth straight year, FC reports, community foundations show growth in assets, registering an average 11% increase in 2014 over 2013 assets levels.

Gifts to community foundations grew by 16% in 2014; community foundations increased their grants by an average of 17%.

New York State ranks first in the nation on number of foundations (9,880) and overall giving  ($8.7 billion).

Overall giving by the nation’s private and community foundations reached $54.7 billion in 2013,  surpassing previous record levels even after adjusting for inflation.

Overall foundation giving continued to grow a few points ahead of inflation in 2014. Independent and family foundations showed an ever higher rate of growth.

Sounds good, right?

Meanwhile, Independent Sector issued a report in October 2015 entitled Threads: Insights from the Charitable Community, based on coast-to-coast conversations with development professionals. “It’s clear,” states IS, “that there was tension between grant makers and grant seekers.” Here are some specifics:

Nonprofits report that the process of securing funds wastes time, too often devalues the expertise of organizations, and requires grantees acquiesce to foundation demands.

In addition, there is frustration when foundations “force nonprofits to engage,” in the words of one participant, in unproductive exercises to measure outcomes that the funders deem important even when the nonprofit believes that measurement of its impact should be differently focused.

Funders’ obsession with logic models and evaluation has forced nonprofits to produce creative fiction.

Participants mentioned the need to overcome communication barriers at multiple levels: between nonprofits and community stakeholders; between grant makers and grant seekers; and between sector organizations and both business and government.

Communication must be authentic…Create space for candor from all players and invite stakeholders from different perspectives to test assumptions.

The unavoidable conclusion: prospects are high for increased giving, but there are rumblings in the nonprofit hills! Stay tuned!

What trends have you observed in the past year?

We welcome your comments about this post on the LAPA blog.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Posts

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday

GivingTuesday 2022 is coming up, Tuesday, November 29th, and it’s a banner day for many nonprofits. Some use it to launch their year-end campaign. No other day creates the same worldwide feeling of philanthropy and good will. Often stylized as #GivingTuesday for the purposes of hashtag activism, GivingTuesday occurs on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States. It’s touted as a “global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.” Perhaps these LAPA blog resources will help you harness the power of GivingTuesday: GivingTuesday: You Have A Decision To Make Countdown

Read More »
Giving

Year-End Giving

Year-End Giving
You never hear people say, “I know when I am.”  But it’s often useful to know where you stand in a temporal sense.  From a fundraiser’s point of view, it’s important to know where you are timewise  when we approach the end of the year.  One of out of every three dollars contributed to nonprofit organizations is donated in the month of December alone!

Read More »

Donors Drop By 7% But Dollars Up 6.2%, Buoyed By Major Donors

U.S. charitable giving increased significantly in Q2 2022, but gains were accompanied by a continuing steep decline in donor acquisition and retention, particularly among new and newly retained donors, according to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s (FEP) Second Quarter Fundraising Report. The Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) is a collaboration among fundraising data providers, researchers, analysts, associations, and consultants to empower the sector to track and evaluate trends in giving. The project offers one of the only views of the current year’s fundraising data in aggregate to provide the most recent trends for guiding nonprofit fundraising and donor engagement. The FEP releases

Read More »