Most nonprofit fundraisers consider general operating support (GOS) to be the holy grail of nonprofit donations. Funding an organization’s mission rather than a specific project or purpose, this unrestricted financial support provides vital flexibility for nonprofits to approach their work as they best see fit. For years, nonprofit leaders have called on funders to give more general operating support. In the wake of COVID-19 and movements for racial equity, foundations also committed to making grants as unrestricted and flexible as possible.

Every year, Candid surveys large U.S. private and community foundations to learn more about giving trends.i This year, we asked survey respondents to share how much of their total giving in fiscal year end 2021 and 2022 was awarded as general operating support. They could provide this as an estimated dollar amount or a percentage of their total grant payments.

Here are four things we learned about GOS grantmaking trends among funders right now.

  1. Funders don’t always track their GOS grants
  2. Most funders awarded some general operating support
  3. For the median foundation, a third of grant dollars was for GOS
  4. Foundations don’t share the same definition of general operating support

Read the full article about general operating support by Grace Sato and Sarina Dayal at Candid..