Providing general operating support can be challenging for grantmakers. From our perspective at CEP, we know funders can sometimes wonder: Is our grant being used to further our mission? Without tying a grant to outcomes, how can we measure our impact?
Nonprofit organizations use general operating support (also known as “core” or “unrestricted” support) in many ways, from operating their programs to paying staff salaries, bills, and rent — often, the necessary costs that keep an organization’s doors open and its lights on. Our own research has associated the provision of large, long-term general operating support to grantees’ perceptions of a funder’s impact on their organizations. Yet, in 2012, only 23% of all grantmaking dollars consisted of general operating support.