October 27, 2020
Foundations Favor General Operating Support in Theory but Hesitate to Make It Happen
by Alex Daniels

Although foundation leaders increasingly support the idea of providing multi-year grants for nonprofits’ general operations, relatively few do so regularly because of organizational inertia, suggests a study released Wednesday.

The study found little evidence that the “tried and true myths” about what is preventing foundations from offering multi-year general operating support were actually limiting grant makers, says Ellie Buteau, vice president for research at the Center for Effective Philanthropy, which surveyed foundation program officers and chief executives as well as grantee leaders.

For instance, program officers often view their bosses as lukewarm on the practice, Buteau says. However, both executives and program officers say they are widely supportive of long-term general operating support, the study found.

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “strongly in favor of a decrease” in multi-year general operating support and 5 being “strongly in favor of an increase,” foundation chief executives gave themselves an average score of 3.9, indicating they’d like to increase unrestricted grants. They perceived their boards as slightly less in favor, with an average score of 3.4 but still in support of an increase overall.

Program officers gave themselves a score of 4.4. They ranked their executive leadership’s interest at 3.7.

What’s stopping foundations from providing such grants? The study, Buteau says, suggests that the idea that others in the organization are against doing so is inaccurate. The reasons, she suggests, are a little more vague: Many don’t seem to believe multi-year general operating support is a “fit” with the grant maker’s practice or think it hadn’t yet been prioritized.

“It simply boils down to choices foundations want to make,” Buteau says.

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Successful Mergers and Partnerships: More than the Numbers
by Jan Breiner Frazier, Planning Plus, LLC

Throughout our 30-plus year history as consultant professionals, we have worked with the leadership teams and boards of nonprofits as well as owners of for-profits who were engaged in various forms of collaborations — whether for a merger, a formal association or a strategic and documented partnership. 

Unfortunately, we are often called in after the due diligence is complete and the merger has started down the road — only to experience a rocky start. The cause? More often than not, the numbers may work but the cultures do not.

During due diligence activities, leaders focus on a number of factual components for creating a “new” organization — including financial statements; current contracts; programs, services and other deliverables; competition; legal constraints; and competencies of the management teams. But all too often, they overlook the cultural issues within each of the entities that can quickly derail any progress.

When merging two or more nonprofit boards, it is critical to understand the operational environments. Are they structured, disciplined, forgiving, siloed, collaborative or innovative? Will the strengths of each organization complement or clash? How will individual company lifestyles mesh?  

Perceptions by stakeholders about how or why the discussions took place must also be discerned. Neither organization wants to be viewed as “taken over” because that may be perceived by the community as a sign of weakness. Both organizations generally assure their staffs that the outcomes will be beneficial for everyone involved as they sell the idea to their teams. Yet, those driving the process often discount the emotional toll of going through organizational change as staff members have their own assumptions about their roles — which may change by necessity.

Ivy Tech Community College has named Jo Nahod-Carlin vice president of recruitment and enrollment management. Nahod-Carlin most recently served as vice president of customer experience at Managed Health Services/Centene Corp. — Inside Indiana Business
Bosma Enterprises has named Dana Werner as its chief operating officer. Werner previously worked at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, a U.S. Department of Defense agency. — Inside Indiana Business
Bosma Enterprises has been working to lower the 63% unemployment rate for the blind and visually impaired Hoosiers by expanding its current line of business as well as looking into acquisitions.  

The Duke Energy Foundation is awarding 19 “Powerful Communities” program grants in Indiana totaling more than $235,000. The foundation said the funding will support environmental programs for water quality, conservation, and habitat and forest restoration. Read

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has released its annual employer workforce survey, which revealed that employers are more aggressively working on solving workforce challenges, improving recruitment and hiring practices, and expanding work-based learning opportunities. Read

The U.S. Small Business Administration has released a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans $50,000 or less. Read | Download application

Charitable Advisors plans to publish the next nonprofit compensation report in the summer of 2021. But we need your help. Please take a few moments to send us contact information for the person responsible for completing the nonprofit salary survey on behalf of your organization. Send information
How leaders keep it real during this crisis. Executive coach John Baldoni shares the benefits of embracing trust, development and ambiguity when creating a new normal that is better than the one you had before.
How the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we give to charity. A new Harris Poll found that job losses are cutting some people’s ability to give. However, even those without jobs are trying to contribute to hunger relief.
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