What’s Stopping Foundations from Providing Multi-Year Grants for Nonprofits’ General Operations?

The Center for Effective Philanthropy has released New Attitudes, Old Practices: The Provision of Multiyear General Operating Support:

Multiyear general operating support (GOS) provides nonprofits with the flexibility to use funds to fulfill their missions and the ability to plan for the long-term sustainability of their organizations, programs, and services. Nonprofit leaders have long called for multiyear GOS grants, and advocates in philanthropy have increasingly argued that providing multiyear GOS constitutes good grantmaking practice.

So why is it, then, that so few foundations provide this type of support?

New Attitudes, Old Practices: The Provision of Multiyear General Operating Support examines the state of practice in philanthropy regarding multiyear GOS. Findings of this study reveal a sobering disconnect between attitudes of foundation leaders and the experience of nonprofits, as well as a similar disconnect between the attitudes of foundation CEOs themselves and their foundations’ practices.

Findings in the report are based on survey responses from 168 foundation CEOs and 105 program officers of private and community foundations giving at least $5 million annually; survey responses from 212 nonprofit leaders; and 24 in-depth interviews with leaders at foundations that provide more multiyear GOS than typical, have significantly increased the proportion of grantees receiving multiyear GOS over time, or both. The data for this study was collected prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The complete report is available for download here.