Re-Thinking Project Support

As someone who’s worked in the nonprofit trenches for sometime, I think this report is welcome news. For years now, funding organizations have been obsessed with project-based grants. They don’t want to fund general operating expenses, because they’re harder to measure. The result is that nonprofits have become obsessed with taking on, short, specific projects at the expense of long-term investments in their mission.

Accountability per se is not a bad thing. But what’s happening, in my experience, is that nonprofits are acting like schools who “teach the test” to secure No Child Left Behind funds. They invent programs just to get money. In the most egregious cases, the grantwriters become de-facto programs officers, cooking up half-baked programs at the 11th hour just to have something to write about in the grant application. That sort of thing is in no one’s best interest.