Ask a nonprofit executive director what keeps her up at night, and chances are, “fundraising for the organization,” will be near the top of the list.

“Fundraising wasn’t empowering work,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights-Los Angeles and a grantee of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. “It felt like something you had to do, you didn’t really want to do, and yet your job and the organization’s health depended on it.”

These findings are not new. Financial Sustainability has long been a challenge for many nonprofit leaders. For the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, supporting their grantees’ fundraising capacity and trying to help improve the support available to them has become a core feature of their investments in strengthening nonprofit leadership.

For more than 15 years, the Haas, Jr. Fund has invested in leadership in the nonprofit sector. A key component
of the Fund’s investment in nonprofit leadership is its  Flexible Leadership Awards (FLA), a program that consists  of three elements:

  • Flexible, long-term funding so that nonprofit leaders can decide how they will use it to address leadership challenges over three to five years;
  • Peer learning to share ideas and solutions with other leaders through a foundation-facilitated cohort of FLA grantees; and
  • Strategic advice from a consultant the foundation matches with grantees to help them develop and implement a leadership development plan.

Through conversations with FLA grantees, the Haas, Jr.  Fund heard repeatedly that fundraising is a major challenge for nonprofit leaders, and that it stifles creativity and strains relationships both inside and outside the organization. In fact, support for fundraising was one of the most common ways FLA grantees opted to use the flexible funding they received.

Read the full article about fundraising by Lori Bartczak at GrantCraft.