Community Shares of Wisconsin (CSW) has always seen the value in providing general operational support to our member groups.  This means we allow our member groups to decide how to spend the money for the greatest need—providing services, advocating for change, maybe fixing the leaky office roof or adding new staff.

Recent news highlights the importance of these “unrestricted” funds—meaning not tied to a program.  The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy points out that only one in six grant dollars is for general operating support.  Why?

A grantmaker emailed NCRP with an answer to its question. “VUCA,” he said, or Volatility Uncertainty Complexity Ambiguity. He wrote:  “We live in a VUCA landscape now that is not a rough patch but a new normal. We have all been pummeled with political and economic uncertainty in recent years and philanthropy behaves even more timidly in this kind of environment. The greater the uncertainty the fewer multi-year grants you will see.”

What can be done to encourage grantmaking that builds organizations and not just programs?  Read the entire blog post here.


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