The financial crisis wreaked havoc on the nonprofit sector as the grant makers it relied on were forced to do more with less. But in the past three years, those benefactors have actually maintained or increased their grants in some critical areas and even sped up the granting process, according to a study.
The findings are reported in “Is Grant Making Getting Smarter?”, a survey of 755 foundations conducted last year by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and the TCC Group.
In the three years since the previous survey, 51% of respondents cut back their total grant amounts. But 32% of them increased fuding of general operating support while only 15% reduced it. Thirty percent of benefactors increased contributions to help grantees build capacity, while 12% cut back in that area. These two funding categories are highly sought after because most grant money goes to individual projects.
Grant makers also made applying for grants easier and sped up the process of reaching a decision and delivering the cash — from a median of 90 days to 60 days.
At the same time, according to the survey, grant makers have not changed practices in some critical areas. The proportion of total grant money going toward general operations has hovered near 20% over the past three years.