Giving Compass' Take:

• Nonprofits need general operating funds in order to function and do the important work funders claim to want. As Vu Le writes in this Nonprofit AF post, funders need to understand that no work can be done if nonprofits cannot afford to operate. 

• How can we change the charitable culture to shift away from harmful narratives about overhead that impede nonprofits' work? What might make up the gaps in funding left by the damaging narrative of low overhead? 

• From a funder's perspective: why the Mulago Foundation provides unrestricted funding to achieve impact

General operating funds allow us nonprofits to be most effective at helping people, including saving lives. By restricting funds you are impeding our work; therefore, your philosophies and policies are causing people to get hurt and die. And that is unethical.

I know this sounds like a huge exaggeration. I wish it were. But this week I had a conversation with a colleague that made me realize just how serious this is.

My colleague told me that her wife, a case manager doing teen suicide prevention and other trauma work, just burned out and left the sector. The normal caseload of clients at her agency was supposed to be around 50. She had 110. She would take files home, working late into the nights, on the weekends.

The organization should have hired several more case managers. They said they would. But it never came to pass. The grueling, heartbreaking work took a toll on her (and other case managers) physically and emotionally, and she left the profession. Our field loses a brilliant and dedicated case manager, and who knows how many people’s lives were affected by her and others’ absence.

Yes, there are many variables at play here, including the agency’s decision to hire new case managers or not, to pay them fair wages or not, etc. But many of these decisions are determined, or at least greatly influenced, by the messages and the restrictions we receive from funders and donors.

Read the full article on general operating funds by Vu Le at Nonprofit AF.