A Call to Action for Funders

The following is a post that Fred Ali, President & CEO, sent to a listserve for funders that are members of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) on September 30, 2013. The post addresses the importance of funding the full cost of nonprofits’ work, and philanthropy’s role in confronting the “overhead myth.” Weingart Foundation will be working to bring local nonprofits and funders together to engage in this important conversation.

Overhead Myth

I’ve been really encouraged to see some of the conversations going on in the field about the overhead myth. Frankly, I’d like to see philanthropy be an even bigger part of this conversation. Guidestar, BBB and Charity Navigator have sparked a long overdue conversation on this subject with their letter to donors. Given the moment we’re in, I wonder if there’s an opportunity for the GEO community to play a more vocal role to help amplify the work of others in the field who are helping to sustain and grow the impact of nonprofits by supporting the full cost of their work.

I’ve been participating in GEO for a number of years, and I know a lot of us recognize the payoff that investing in infrastructure has on organizational effectiveness. At the Weingart Foundation, we’ve made a commitment to providing general operating support, in part because we have seen the impact of strengthening infrastructure and in part because it provides nonprofits greater flexibility to adapt and take advantage of new opportunities as they come. I know others have also been having conversations about real costs, including an important effort that the Donors Forum in Illinois recently led to bring together funders and nonprofits to discuss this issue.

Now is the time for philanthropy to step up and play a greater role in keeping this important conversation going. What do you think?

Fred J. Ali, President & CEO
Weingart Foundation
 

For more information on the Overhead Myth initiative launched by Guidestar, BBB Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Navigator, click here.