A new study by Foundation Source reports that the number and size of grants of less than $1 million increased by 15 percent in 2009. The firm, which provides services for small and medium-size philanthropies, based its findings on data collected by processing grants from nearly 700 client foundations.
This runs counter to the trend among large, institutional foundations as recently reported in the Foundation Center’s 2010 “Foundation Giving Forecast Survey.” Andrew Bangser, Foundation Source’s president, said in a news release that Foundation Center’s 2010 report on giving, which found an overall drop in foundation giving, “was skewed toward larger, institutional foundations” and didn’t reflect increased grant-making by smaller organizations.
Because many of these foundations are private family foundations, the study supports the guidance we’ve been giving about where nonprofits should look for support. For the last 18 months, we’ve advised against making your primary funding focus the large foundations that so many nonprofits are papering with requests. Instead, expand your cultivation of individuals and private family foundations. In this economy, meeting with a small foundation to ask for a gift, which is similar to an individual gift ask, has a much better chance of success.