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Effective Matters: July 2023

Date: July 27, 2023

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NEW CEP RESEARCH: Before and After 2020: How the Pandemic Changed Nonprofit Experiences with Funders

Nonprofits are experiencing meaningful changes in the practices of funders since 2020, according to a new Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) report. Data from funders who solicited grantee feedback both before and after 2020 reveal a greater degree of change than what was typical prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that 2020 was a watershed year for grantmakers.

Two distinct patterns were evident in a comparison of data from 61 funders whose grantees CEP surveyed through the Grantee Perception Report (GPR) both before the pandemic and again in 2021 or 2022:

  1. Grantees are spending less time on application and reporting processes than they were before the pandemic and finding the proposal process to be more helpful in strengthening the efforts funded by the grant.
  2. Funders are providing slightly more unrestricted support than they were before the pandemic.

While it will take years to fully understand the durability and degree of change in philanthropic practice, this research is a positive indicator that the events of 2020 have indeed shifted funders’ practices, motivated by a desire to better respond to the needs of grantee organizations.

Read the Report

Watch CEP’s Webinar on the State of Nonprofits in 2023

You can now watch (or rewatch) a recording of CEP’s recent webinar, “State of Nonprofits in 2023: What Funders Need to Know.” Beginning with a presentation of CEP’s new research by the same name from CEP’s Christina Im and Katarina Malmgren, the webinar then featured an insightful and forthright conversation about how nonprofits are faring and what funders can do to support them right now. CEP’s new Vice President of Research Elisha Smith Arrillaga moderated this discussion with Shaheer Mustafa, president and CEO of HopeWell Inc, and Brenda Solorzano, CEO of Headwaters Foundation.

Watch Now

Don’t Miss CEP’s Early Sign-up Discount

CEP’s annual early sign-up discount begins this August! Benefit from a discount of:

Secure your spot for a 2024 assessment or custom advisory project by reaching out before Sept. 30. Take advantage of this limited time discount and contact Joe Lee soon — our survey rounds fill up quickly!

CEP Perspectives

Why Settle for Cookie-Cutter People and Culture Practices? Stanford Social Innovation Review

“Our view is that the best cultures, like the best cookies, are made carefully from scratch—from a continually iterating and improving recipe—not squeezed from a tube.”

In this article, CEP’s Phil Buchanan (president), Alyse D’Amico (vice president, People and Culture), and Leaha Wynn (senior manager, People and Culture) share insight into how CEP has built its organizational culture and offer six ideas for unconventional people and culture practices.

Decline in Giving is a National Crisis Newsweek

“Nonprofit organizations have continued their varied and vital work taking on the challenges that government and business cannot or will not … but the stress on them continues, and will only grow more intense as giving decreases.”

CEP President Phil Buchanan and Vice President, Research, Elisha Smith Arrillaga parse data from recent CEP research on the state of nonprofits right now alongside insights from this year’s Giving USA report. They note that the significant decline in charitable giving in 2022 comes even as nonprofits face increased demand and high costs and make a clear case for the urgency of continuing stepped up support for nonprofits.

Redoubling Efforts for Equity Center for Effective Philanthropy

“We are a long, long way, yet, from being the society so many of us seek: one in which identity and circumstances of birth predict nothing about the barriers or challenges a person will face.”

In a statement following three recent decisions from the Supreme Court of the United States, Phil Buchanan calls on philanthropy to continue to build on the momentum for change of recent years to address injustices and continue working toward a more equitable society. In addition, CEP joined peers in the philanthropic sector in signing a joint statement in response to the Court’s decision in “Students for Fair Admissions” Cases.

CEP Joins Philea

CEP is delighted to announce its membership in the Philanthropy Europe Association — Philea. Find out more about Philea here and look for an introduction to Philea in a forthcoming Q&A with CEO Delphine Moralis on the CEP blog.

If you’re interested in learning more about CEP’s work in Europe and beyond, reach out to Natalia Kiryttopoulou, lead for global assessment and advisory services.

CEP2023: Don’t End Up on the Waitlist!

There’s still time to register for CEP’s conference, happening this fall in Boston! But there are limited spots remaining, and we expect the conference to sell out soon, so if you want to make sure you don’t end up on the waitlist, register now.

Still on the fence? Find out more about the agenda, the exciting lineup of speakers, and your fellow attendees. We hope to see you in Boston this fall!

Latest on the CEP Blog

A Note Of Gratitude And A Word Of Warning From Nonprofits
While he starts by praising funders who stepped up to support nonprofits during the pandemic, Tim Delaney, president and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits, goes on to warn of the dire conditions nonprofits face now, as both demand and financial pressures mount.

What Could We Achieve With Philanthropy As A Partner?
HopeWell Inc. President Shaheer Mustafa reflects on the possibilities for innovation that arise for sectors like human services when philanthropy partners with public funding.

Rigorous Evaluation Versus Trust-Based Learning: Is This A Valid Dichotomy?
Brenda Solorzano, CEO of Headwaters Foundation, takes on the alleged incompatibility between a trust-based approach to philanthropy and rigorous evaluation, prodding at the basis for this question and whether it is a valid framing.

Funders Can Do More: 5 Next Best Practices
Responding to CEP’s recent report, State of Nonprofits 2023: What Funders Need to Know, CEO of The California Wellness Foundation Judy Belk offers five “next” best practices for funders to pursue to truly address the needs of grantee partners today.

CEP’s Summer Reading List

A few of our latest favorite articles, resources, and reports from around the sector.

The End of Affirmative Action: I am shaken but unbowed
Satonya Fair, Peak Grantmaking

Building on Feedback: Results from our Grantee Perception Survey
Darren Walker and Hilary Pennington, Ford Foundation

Foundation giving and payout in 2022: What changed and what’s next?
Sarina Dayal and Grace Sato, Candid

Listening, Learning, Supporting – Reflections on the RFF Team’s Support Beyond The Grant
Rhonnel Sotelo with research from Kate Ray, Rogers Family Foundation

Building Stronger Bridges: Our Commitment To Be a More Effective Partner to Our Grantees
Elizabeth Yee, The Rockefeller Foundation

New Faces

Kara Doyle, Analyst, Assessment and Advisory Services
Rachel Dietert, Analyst, YouthTruth
Minji Park, Analyst, YouthTruth
Kemi Richards, Analyst, Assessment and Advisory Services
Madison Williams, Analyst, Assessment and Advisory Services

Kara Doyle

Rachel Dietert

Minji Park

Kemi Richards

Madison Williams

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