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From a nonprofit: Is there a way to raise the issue tactfully with my funder?

We all know that managing indirect costs and overhead are only partly a technical matter. Indirect cost and overhead rates are typically agreed upon in a discussion — or negotiation — with a funder. Sometimes that funder is a contract officer at a government agency, sometimes a program officer at a foundation, sometimes a major donor. As a result, any discussion of nonprofit overhead needs to address when and how to discuss the issues.

CalNonprofits is currently working with Lake Research to develop messages about nonprofit overhead for various audiences, but this research has not yet been completed. There is much to learn from others working on these same issues, including:

Dan Pallotta's TED Talk: The Way We Think About Charity Is Dead Wrong 

This Simple Strategy Tripled Charity Donations, a thought-provoking article in Vox that reports on research that shows how donors choose -- or don't choose -- nonprofits based on what is said about their overhead

If We Want Our Funding To Change The World, a video by about overhead from the Donors Forum of Illinois

Let us know if you have other resources that should be listed in this section. And stay tuned for what we and Lake Research learn!

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