Survival of the Financially Fit

October 20, 2011 | By Liza Casabona | Post a Comment

Fresh off both a Thompson subscribers-only webinar with industry experts and the three-day Grant Professionals Association annual conference in Las Vegas, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about funding trends.

Unsurprisingly, given the budget realities at the federal (and state and local) levels, the new mantra seems to be to diversify your funding streams and look for new resources. Foundations, corporate donors, individual donors, social entrepreneurs, green grants —they’ve all been touted as possible band-aids for many of the fiscal dilemmas faced by those who have historically used grants to underwrite their important projects.

There’s also an increased emphasis on updating the relationships that grant recipients have with their funders and donors. There’s no doubt about it – the landscape is changing. What remains to be seen is how many growing pains are experienced during the upheaval.

In keeping with those themes, the Nonprofit Finance Fund and the White House Office of Social Innovation are co-sponsoring a daylong seminar on nonprofit finance tomorrow.

The event will have a particular focus on “pay for success” projects. It’s a new-ish model for how government agencies can fund social programs. In a nutshell, under that model, governments find philanthropists and private investors to pay for social projects and offer them a return on that investment IF (and only if) the project achieves specified results.

If you want to bone up on the subject before tuning in to tomorrow’s webcast, or if you don’t have time to catch the full six hours of it, NFF has a pretty extensive reading list on the topic on its site. We’ve also touched on this topic on FA a couple of times, those posts are here and here.

The conference is live streaming from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow on the White House site. It should be an interesting listen — I’m planning on tuning in. I’d be interested to hear what you all think about it.

As competition for limited federal funding heats up, do these new funding models look more appealing? Too risky? What potential problems or benefits do you see?

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