Foundation Response to Downturn Does Little for Nonprofits, Report Finds

According to a new report from the Center for Effective Philanthropy, a significant percentage of nonprofits believe that foundations have provided insufficient communication and little useful help to them in response to the economic downturn.

Based on data from surveys of six thousand grantees, the report, A Time of Need: Nonprofits Report Poor Communication and Little Help From Foundations During Economic Downturn (4 pages, PDF), found that 30 percent of respondents indicated there was no communication from their funders about their own response to the economic downturn. In addition, 22 percent of those that reported receiving communication from a funder indicated that the response was unclear. According to the report, that figure is nearly three times larger than the number of grantees who rate other foundation communications as unclear.

Based on additional analysis of the data, the report's co-authors recommend that foundations do more to clearly communicate with grantees their own responses to the economic downturn; that they become more involved in helping grantees weigh the changes they need to make in response to the economic downturn; and that they work to build better relationships with grantees, particularly by taking the time to understand the goals and strategies of their grantees.

"These findings are important because, for nonprofits, the effects of the downturn continue," said Ellie Buteau, vice president for research at CEP and one of the report's co-authors. "We hope foundations will reflect on how they can best help those they fund through what continue to be challenging times."

"Foundation Response to Downturn Does Little for Nonprofits" Center for Effective Philanthropy Press Release 06/14/2010.