Nonprofit organizations don’t expect foundations to solve all their problems, but they believe foundations could be a lot more helpful in certain critical areas, according to a survey by the Center for Effective Philanthropy.
CEP surveyed 121 nonprofit leaders, members of the organization’s Grantee Voice panel, whose goal is to help foundations and nonprofits to work together productively. These executive directors, presidents and CEOs represented organizations with between $100,000 and $100 million in expenses, and received some funding from foundations that give at least $5 million annually.
The survey found that just 52% of nonprofits’ leaders believed their foundation funders were aware of the challenges their organizations faced.
Even fewer respondents thought foundation funders were as helpful as they could be. Only 31% believed foundations deployed their myriad resources to help them address their challenges, and 36% thought foundations shared knowledge about what similar grantees were doing to meet challenges.
Nonprofits are looking for specific kinds of assistance. Eighty percent of nonprofit leaders said their organizations needed help to meet demand for their services.
Indeed, the inability of many groups to meet growing demand for services has been has increased since the onset of the recession. The Nonprofit Finance Fund’s annual survey found that 52% of nonprofits could not meet demands for services in 2012, up from 44% in 2009.
Two-thirds of the 77% of nonprofit leader respondents who found use of technology to increase effectiveness a challenge wanted more help from their foundation funders.
Nonprofit leaders also felt foundations could step in to help them bolster their leadership skills. Seventy-three percent complained about lack of sufficient resources and opportunities to develop their leadership skills.
CEP said this was not an issue only for those leaders new to their roles. More than 40% of respondents reported they had been in their positions for 10 years or longer.