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Grant Making Trends During COVID-19

As fundraising professionals adapt their strategies during COVID-19, I have been pleased to see grant making foundations have quickly responded to the urgent call to action demanded by the global pandemic. A recent Chronicle of Philanthropy article shared survey results from 1,000 small foundations and found encouraging news.

According to a survey conducted by Exponent Philanthropy:

· half of small foundations have increased their grant making

· two-thirds of grant makers have made their guidelines more flexible

· more than 700 foundations have pledged to allow grantees to use formerly restricted funds for operational costs

· 56% of small foundations have pledged to delay grantee reporting deadlines

This is welcomed news for all nonprofit organizations who depend, at least in part, on funding from foundations. Have you been in touch with the foundations that support your agency? If not, now is certainly the time. As with your major donors they are keen to know what’s going on at your organization. Most likely, they have donated significantly to your agency and feel that their gifts are investments in the future of your nonprofit. Don’t wait until you have to send a report, call your program officer today. Let her know how you and your organization are faring.

Another point to keep in mind as you plan for 2020-21, is that foundations typically increase their giving during the year of a disaster or other economic disruption and then decrease funding the following year. However, foundations are not bottomless wells of money. Their corpus is based on their investments. When the stock market goes down, as it does during a recession, the funds available to distribute also decrease. Don’t take foundations for granted, let them know how grateful you are for their support. We know how valuable stewardship is for all of our donors.


Michelle Crim, CFRE

Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in startup and smaller nonprofits because we understand your challenges. We’re offering a new grant research package to help. Please contact us for more information.

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