Donors

What does it mean for a nonprofit to be fully funded?

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Giving smartly during a crisis

After a major event, such as a natural disaster or public act of violence, as we’re seeing with the recent case of police brutality against George Floyd, there are often a handful of nonprofits that circulate on social media and other platforms as giving options for people who choose to take action by donating.

On the one hand this is inspiring, as it brings attention to an important issue area and impactful nonprofits addressing it. 

On the other hand, when a majority of donations are funneled to only a handful of nonprofits, their budgets can become overwhelmed while other equally worthy nonprofits receive no funding at all and are unable to broaden their response.

You may have seen that several of the inspiring nonprofits recommended as giving options in response to racist and police violence in recent days are now announcing that they are “fully funded” and are encouraging new donors to give elsewhere. What does “fully funded” mean? Don’t nonprofits hope for as many donations as they can get to help continue their important work? 

The nonprofits who quickly rise to the top as giving options in response to a current event often fundraise their usual annual operating budget many times over in just a few days. They know that donors are acting with a sense of urgency, and that their organizational capacity will not allow them to spend donations beyond a certain amount within the timeframe donors likely expect. Most nonprofits are not able to, nor do they wish to, shift their service model in response to a one-time influx of donations, so there are real limitations on how donated dollars can be quickly spent.

Donors who are compelled to act and want to maximize the impact of their gift can often do so by looking beyond the most widely shared lists of giving options, which are likely to quickly become fully funded.

At Goodnation, when we make funding recommendations in response to current events, we consider:

Capacity: when we plan to direct large volumes of funding, we look for nonprofits that have the staff, network and systems in place to deploy it responsively.

Systems-level change: when we respond to a crisis, we think about not only meeting the immediate needs it has engendered, but also tackling the issues that enabled it to occur in the first place; whether that’s including work to combat climate change in response to a devastating hurricane, or pointing donors towards funding programs that develop POC leaders for the social justice movement as part of working to prevent police brutality in the future.

Every charity on Goodnation has been carefully sourced and vetted by our team so you can be sure that your support will go to the most effective organizations. Our direct partnership with these charities allows us valuable insight into their fundraising needs and their programs, information we can then share with our donors during your decision-making process.

Take action

If you’re ready to take action in response to a crisis, Goodnation’s philanthropy advising services are available to help you make a meaningful and effective gift to an impactful organization. Log on to, or sign up for, your Goodnation portfolio or contact a philanthropy advisor at donors@goodnation.io.

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