Multi-year commitments declined and fewer grantmakers made multi-year grants in 2008-2010 compared to 2004-2006, according to a new report released by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP).
“The Philanthropic Landscape: The State of Multi-Year Funding,” confirms that multi-year funding is a scarce commodity. “During the economic crisis, when flexible, long-term support would have been most helpful to nonprofits, philanthropy was missing in action” said Aaron Dorfman, executive director of NCRP.
The report notes that long-term funding is beneficial. It helps nonprofits to maintain staff continuity, invest in leadership, improve planning, and respond to crises and opportunities.
Multi-year funding averaged $5.7 billion annually from 2008-2010, approximately 29 percent of total grant dollars.
The biggest change in multi-year funding was by community and corporate foundation members. Multi-year funding by community foundations fell from 54% of their total giving in 2004-2006 to 2% in 2008-2010. Corporate foundations gave 30% of their total funding as multi-year grants in 2004-2006, but only 2% during 2008-2010, on average.
Overall, there was a decline of 37% in multi-year funding. This percentage is 55% if the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is excluded from the analyses. Multi-year funding declined most among the smaller funders in the study sample.