Many nonprofits, even the well-established, struggle to pay the bills. Frequent or chronic budget deficits and scarce cash reserves threaten the work they do. While funders focus on investing in programs and services, the underpinnings of those programs—organizational infrastructure and financial health—suffer from neglect.
To reframe how funders and grantees think about building successful, resilient organizations, Bridgespan developed a “grantmaking pyramid” and refined it through work with the Ford Foundation. This pyramid (see below) reflects a hierarchy of funding needs that begins with foundational capabilities, followed by resilience, and building toward increasing impact.
The Grantmaking Pyramid
Source: The Bridgespan Group
Return to the Initiative Overview
To learn more about the Grantmaking Pyramid, read Time to Reboot Grantmaking.
Additional resources on strengthening nonprofits
Resources from other sources
- Building Institutions and Networks (video), Ford Foundation
- Risk Management for Nonprofits, Dylan Roberts, George Morris, John MacIntosh and Daniel Millenson, Oliver Wyman/SeaChange Capital Partners (March 2016)
- How Can We Help You?, Darren Walker, CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation (2015)
- Building is not Buying, George M. Overholser, Nonprofit Finance Fund (January 1, 2006)
- Hidden in Plain Sight: Understanding Nonprofit Capital Structure, Clara Miller, Nonprofit Finance Fund (March 1, 2003)