Photo by Ingrid Damiani for the Jesse Ball duPont Center
Here at Fluxx we work with both funders and grantees, giving us a unique insight into just how much money is invested in the philanthropic sector. Last year alone, $5.2 billion moved through our platform in the form of grants. This money went from foundations straight to the trusted nonprofits they fund, who then affected meaningful change across communities worldwide.
In 2017 U.S. foundations injected almost $67 billion into the economy through grants. It’s typical to think of this as only impacting the philanthropic sector, but when these gifts do everything from provide after-school programs, protect environmental resources, and provide healthcare to communities in need, our entire societal infrastructure is positively impacted.
Nonprofits are also a major source of jobs, and a quiet engine of growth for the US economy. The sector has grown 20 percent over the last 10 years – compare that with the for-profit growth rate of two to three percent.
In 2013 alone, nonprofits employed a whopping 14.4 million people, or 10.6 percent of US workforce. To put that in context, if you look at nonprofits as one entity, they are the second largest employer after the government (at 22.3 million) and several times the size of Walmart (1.5 million in the US), the largest US employer.
So why do foundations and nonprofits still face a heavy stigma when investing in operations to provide their essential services?
The notion of the cash-strapped nonprofit constantly looking to prune overhead costs is all too real. And this prevailing concept—that every dollar of a grant should go straight to needy programs)—is seemingly honorable, but inherently flawed. If foundations and nonprofits aren’t primed with the right resources to support their cause, then our philanthropic economy won’t have the longevity to strategically expand and transcend the cycles of the world economy. Not to mention that every dollar given isn’t just working to address the social and environmental challenges, but is helping grow the economy by providing employment to so many.
Four tools for success
1. Improved pathways to transparency and success
When data is easy to access, it becomes that much easier to produce impactful grantee reports which will promote better decision-making. Developing a meaningful feedback loop, where grantee reporting is set up to support a program’s unique needs, will always foster collaboration and improved strategy.
2. Top talent
Intrinsic value of work is something the for-profit sector struggles with–that comes naturally to the nonprofit sector. But to attract top talent to a foundation or nonprofit you have to be able to offer a competitive wage, appealing work environment, and tools (such as automation software apps) that ensure employees will be able to allocate more of their time to accelerating their work.
3. Working conditions that support long-term success
The Jessie Ball duPont Center is a shining example of how nonprofits and foundations can collectively gather to foster success. This co-working space, located in downtown Jacksonville, Florida, and owed by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, currently houses 19 separate nonprofits. This investment both helps maximize performance and collaboration for the nonprofits the fund works with, and brings new business into Jacksonville.
4. A platform that provides streamlined operational efficiency
No foundation can work quickly, transparently, and effectively without a powerful CRM and grants management platform. Employees, especially those tasked with grants management, should feel enabled to reach beyond the minutiae of slow bureaucratic processes, and innovate.Interested in learning more about what you can do at your organization to foster success? Ask for a demo today to learn how Fluxx can help.