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Is Grantmaking Getting Smarter?

Publication date: 
November, 2014

Grantmakers recognize the value of supporting effective, well-led organizations—strong organizations create meaningful changes in the world. To help us understand whether we are making progress in supporting nonprofits in ways that allow them to be successful, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations conducts field research to track trends in grantmaker practice. In short, we want to know: is grantmaking getting smarter? GEO’s 2014 study highlights some important shifts in how grantmakers support nonprofit results, but also reveals where we’re falling short. To help inform this study, GEO convened a nonprofit task force and feature the perspective of nonprofit leaders throughout the report to talk about the impact that smarter grantmaking practices have on their work.

The study finds that:

  • The median level of funds devoted to general operating support increased for the first time to 25 percent, after remaining stagnant at 20 percent in 2008 and 2011.
  • The number of grantmakers that give multiyear grants returned to pre-recession levels, up from 28 percent in 2011 to 58 percent of grantmakers that report making grants of two or more years in 2014.
  • More than a quarter of grantmakers say they increased funds for multiyear grants (31 percent), general operating support (27 percent) and capacity building (27percent).