November 06, 2012

From GrantWeek: Fewer Multi-Year Grants Suggest Need to Diversify

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) has issued a new report on the “State of Multi-Year Funding” by private sector grantmakers. Although generally accepted as “essential for nonprofits’ effectiveness, impact, and growth,” multi-year grants are on the decline. The report finds a drop of more than 20 percent from 2008 to 2009, and an additional dip in 2010. But the percentage of grantmakers awarding multi-year grants has remained fairly consistent, about one-tenth of those surveyed, since 2004.

Colleges and universities seeking multi-year grants must provide evidence of alignment between the institution’s mid- and long-term goals and the funder’s. As NCRP states, longer-term funding can offer these significant win-win benefits:
  • The ability to respond to crises and opportunities;
  • Capacity building and leadership development potential;
  • The ability to maintain staff continuity and organizational leadership; and
  • The organizational capacity to overcome unforeseeable challenges and improve planning.
A diverse portfolio of support is the best way to hedge the chance that a central funding source pulls its support and leaves a center, program, or initiative with no way to continue, let alone grow. Contact the GRC staff for assistance in identifying potential federal and private sponsors, and see the Chronicle of Philanthropy for additional coverage of the NCRP report.

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