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Ten things nonprofits want funders to know

Ten things nonprofits want funders to know

ONN has heard a lot about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to funding. Through our policy work, and our outreach and engagement of our network and working groups of nonprofit leaders, we’ve heard from organizations of all sizes over the years from a variety of sectors and parts of Ontario. These ten things keep bubbling up.

So, we’re sharing them here to open a discussion about funding: how it flows, how it can be used, how it’s evaluated, and how data and information is shared. Whether it’s from government or non-government funders, what can be done to improve investment in the sector? Here’s what the nonprofit sector wants funders to know:

1. Budget flexibility: Rather than restrictions, help us innovate and invest in the essentials that we need to deliver on our missions.

2. Measuring success: Together, let’s find great ways to measure success. Focusing on overhead ratio is not an adequate way to measure our work or missions.

3. A resilient workforce: Your funding practices determine whether we can offer decent work and avoid losing our best and brightest to other sectors with better salaries, more secure employment, and benefits.

4. Meaningful evaluation: We want you to work with us to develop appropriate evaluation strategies that can help us to do our work better, while also leading to learnings for both of us.

5. Budget size: To foster healthy growth in the sector, let’s find alternatives to funding rules based on current budget size (aka Budget Testing– limiting funding based on an organization’s current budget size.) This can perpetuate existing inequities and hamstring growing nonprofits. How can an organization grow if it’s always pegged as “small”?

6. Applications: Help reduce costs to apply for funding- use a streamlined, fast-tracked application process and letters of intent.

7. Admin burden proportionate to funding: Adopt application processes, reporting requirements, and expected outcomes proportional to the level of funding provided (and vice versa).

8. Share what’s happening: Talk about the other projects or programs you fund. If you give us information and share data, we can build more effective partnerships.

9. Work with other funders: To streamline funding administration, create common granting guidelines, application forms, and reporting processes.

10. Matching funds: Do away with requiring matching funding as a condition of being approved for a grant; many rural, small, and newer organizations will especially benefit, including those serving marginalized populations.

 

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What do you think?

Share your thoughts

Which ones ring true for your nonprofit? What about for your region? Your subsector?

Talk about it, debate it, and add your own.

Share with your funders. A conversation starter for sure!

What’s already working: Share stories about how funders get you and work with you to make the most of funding opportunities. We know they’re out there!


Want to jump into this conversation now? Join us for Nonprofit Driven.

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Join us Thursday, October 20, to hear more on how we can improve investment in the sector and drive sector-led funding reform.

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Liz Sutherland
Liz Sutherland

Liz joined ONN in 2015 to lead policy files on funding reform, pensions, police record checks, and other policy and regulatory issues. She has worked on policy development and advocacy concerning many issues facing the sector- from health and social policy, to procurement and HR issues, to the transformation of funding models. Her nonprofit experience includes roles for organizations focused on anti-poverty, a national children’s alliance and women’s health. She has five years of government policy experience at the federal level in employment and social development, and public health. Originally from Ottawa, Liz holds a master's degree in Political Science from the University of Victoria. She’s an active volunteer leader and sits on the boards of Cycle Toronto and Planned Parenthood Toronto.

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