Full Cost Spells Relief for Nonprofits and a Better Way for Philanthropy to Deliver Social Good
Philanthropy California, in partnership with Nonprofit Finance Fund, is excited to announce the next phase of the Full Cost Project! This initiative allows funders and grantees to better understand what it truly costs to deliver outcomes—and how to incorporate a Full Cost framework into your work.
Our statewide effort grew out of a series of lively exchanges across the state delivered through Philanthropy California (Northern California Grantmakers, Southern California Grantmakers, and San Diego Grantmakers). These conversations helped us to articulate the idea behind a movement that has been steadily gaining prominence in our field: by changing the way grantmakers fund nonprofits right now, we can fundamentally improve their ability to achieve our shared goals.
That’s why we are thrilled to host a suite of groundbreaking trainings for both funders and nonprofits across California to support practical and big-picture cultural shifts needed to make this change. Over the next 12 months, national thought leader Nonprofit Finance Fund will help to lead workshops throughout the state that will set a clear understanding of the role Full Cost practices play in achieving sector outcomes, and the true costs of building resilient nonprofit organizations. Together we will unpack the key elements of why—and even more importantly, how—to go about Full Cost funding.
A vital part of the Full Cost Project is changing the narrative around how nonprofits should work. Many of us recognize that nonprofits are built with remarkable resourcefulness—but what is less commonly understood is how funding constraints often threaten their delivery of social good. The expectation to work year after year with low administrative and fundraising costs can take its toll on nonprofits, many of whom are compelled to contort their budgets and skimp on staffing in order to deliver results within funders’ budget structures. On top of this, organizations are trying to navigate uncertainties in our shifting political landscape, making it more important than ever that funders and nonprofits come together for this national dialogue on funding the full cost of nonprofit work.
Recent funder efforts are pointing the way. Successful transitions to full cost funding have included securing executive buy-in; providing support and training to the staff that structure and deliver grants; and bringing grantees into the process with open and honest communication. Now, we have an opportunity in California to raise these crucial best practices into the mainstream, providing leadership at a time when many are looking to our state’s philanthropic and nonprofit sectors for bold ideas.
Full Cost funding is about more than making things better for the organizations we support—it’s about rolling back the habitual funding practices that diminish the effectiveness and vitality of nonprofits. Our sector is full of passionate people who care deeply about our communities. Let’s come together to ensure that passion is directed into funding practices that help nonprofits achieve our shared goals.
We hope you will participate in upcoming workshops around the state (see details on NCG programs here), check out resources and news on our Full Cost Project website, and join the conversation on Twitter @FullCostProject.