We at Foundation Beyond Belief feel a responsibility to provide adequate support to our beneficiaries and minimize the work that a nonprofit needs to do to obtain the funding they need to function. Developing donors, anywhere from small donors to large donors, can take multiple contacts, careful media attention, and incredible “footwork”.
In the past, FBB has realized that there is a significant need with a tremendous number of nonprofits doing important evidence-based work in their areas, so we have given to as many different beneficiaries as we can.
“The preference for one-year commitments to grantees ignores a basic fact about organizational sustainability. It is almost impossible for an organization to develop a long-term business plan or build financial stability without knowing the funds will be received on a year-after-year basis." 1
Change happens slowly. Relationships are built with time. When FBB designates a non-profit as a beneficiary, along with a grant from our regular Humanist Giving members, we research, analyze, discuss and decide on merits and strengths of each beneficiary. An overwhelming number of beneficiaries could have the honor of becoming repeat beneficiaries.
“However, each year, only one-tenth of sampled funders on average reported some multiyear grantmaking. Ninety percent of sampled foundations either do not provide multi-year grants or do not report them.” 2
Throughout our giving history, we have given multiple grants to over 15 beneficiaries (out of 150 beneficiaries). This number is consistent with the giving of other foundations but happened clearly by accident. While FBB does meet this 10% threshold found in this study, the study showed the amount is not sufficient to meet the need. Unfortunately, many of FBB’s repeat grants were given sporadically, with 2-5 years between support. Imagine your own budget: if you received a “raise” of $10,000 one year, but it was not continued the next year. Clearly, nonprofits require advanced planning to maintain proper cash flow and future budgeting .
That’s why, starting in 2016, Foundation Beyond Belief is making a commitment to give more grants as multiple year grants. Our Q1 grantees DSNI, Starfish, SquareOne Villages, Lighthawk and Buddhist Global Relief – were all given a two-year grant renewable commitment, one grant in Q1 of 2016, and another in Q1 2017.
Our Compassionate Impact Grantees are a vital part of this commitment: Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative received a $56,000 grant in 2014 and an unrestricted grant in Q1 2016. Starfish received a $50,000 grant in 2015 and a complimentary successive grant in 2016. We aim to support both our 2014 and 2015 Compassionate Impact Grant Beneficiaries in Q1 2017, pending review of the progress of their Compassionate Impact programs. As FBB’s commitment to multi-year grants continues, Lakota Language Initiative of the Thunder Valley Corporation if eligible, receive grants in July 2016, 2018, and 2019. If we ask our Compassionate Impact Grant applicants to present capacity building, innovative programs, additional support after the large grant is a necessary part of their financial planning. Our multi-year grant commitment is renewable, and therefore will be reviewed each year.
“The benefits of multi-year funding and their connection to nonprofit effectiveness, capacity, and impact have been recognized for years. Multi-year funding allows nonprofits to respond to crises and opportunities, and to build internal and external capacity. It contributes to sustainability and greater staff retention, allows grantees to respond to new community problems." 3
In the near future, as we give between 16-18 grants a year, six (or over one-third) of those will be multi-year commitments, exceeding industry standards and allowing our beneficiaries the ability to plan for the future.
Recurring beneficiary grants demonstrates that we have a long-term interest in our beneficiaries. Successive year grants show we trust our beneficiaries, and give our beneficiaries time and money to grow.