Nonprofits not only need our support — but they need support that is not earmarked for discrete items, programs or projects, but that funds their critical core missions.

It can be tempting to direct charitable dollars only to specific items, projects, or programs — and away from “overhead” like staffing, facilities, and materials. It is absolutely understandable — and commendable — for people to want to know where their money is going and to want to quantify its impact. But we would encourage generous people to take a holistic approach when they think about what it takes for nonprofits to do what they do for our communities.

If you are going to make a donation to a food pantry, for instance, it might be natural to think about restricting your donation to pay only for food. Your desire to help feed your neighbors who are struggling is, after all, what prompted you to make the donation. But if no one supported the food pantry’s staffing, rent, electricity, and outreach — in addition to the food for its shelves and coolers — there would be no food pantry. There would be a bag of groceries on a street corner.

When the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation surveyed our grantees with help from the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP), we got this message loud and clear: nonprofits need more funding that supports their core missions.

Read the full article about giving for core mission support by Anne Phillips and Melinda Mosier at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.