In 2022, Common Good Vermont surveyed nonprofits about their experience with government grants and contracts. Participating organizations identified many challenges related to government funding agreements, with level/underfunding most frequently reported as a priority to address. As a result of the survey, Common Good Vermont and impacted organizations convened a working group to focus on identifying Vermont-specific solutions.
Over the past few months, the Vermont Nonprofit Government Grants & Contracting Working Group has met regularly to hone in on priorities and a course of action, narrowing its immediate scope of action to Funding the Full Cost of Nonprofit Services. Identifying long-term, sector-wide solutions to underfunding starts with building awareness, convening conversations, and building relationships with decision-makers. Read on to learn what we’ve done so far and how you can help!
What has this work looked like so far?
In March, we launched an organizational sign-on letter titled Stop Shortchanging Vermonters: Fund the Full Cost of Nonprofit Services. More than 65 organizations have already signed on. Here’s why:
- “We have been level funded for decades and cannot continue to offer our high quality services without additional funds.”
- “Government grants often do not cover all the costs associated with providing services, are prohibitive to smaller nonprofits who do not have large cash reserves to cover costs during prior to reimbursement periods and the lag-time in receiving grant reimbursements is significant.”
- “Our state contract with the [deidentified state agency] of almost 20 years pays for about 50% of the direct service we provide.”
- “We are in constant competition to retain good staff. Staff leave us to go to State or school positions where their salaries are increased and pensions are available. Upon existing we hear that they love their job but just can’t pass up the salaries and benefits that others are able to offer.”
- “Currently our budget is possible through roughly 65-70% federal and state funds. Each year the gap in private funds grows and the availability of administration within non profits is maxed out due to the constant pull between providing direct services and managing the day to day operations rather than having sufficient time to fundraise. Our interest is in creating systems to access and measure available and yet to be identified resources to keep non profits working.”
- “For so many reasons but on my list lately is the fact that asking private donors and foundations to fund state programs has become exhausting and unrealistic.”
We are stronger together! Join your peers in calling on the Government to Fund the Full Cost of Nonprofit Services:
In April, we kicked off a series of op-eds that will be continued in the coming weeks and months.
- Webster & Paradis: Time to rethink our social contract to fund the full cost of nonprofit services
- Bradbury-Carlin, Pinkham & Redmond: Devastating results in youth survey
Currently the Working Group is in the information seeking phase. Sub-committees are seeking out research and data; meeting with policy-makers, government officials, and subject matter experts; and reaching out to stakeholders to invite them into this work.
In the spirit of seeking collaborative solutions, we are asking you to join in this work!
1. We are asking nonprofit organizations to Sign the Letter calling on the Government to Fund the Full Cost of Nonprofit Services – because Vermont nonprofits deserve better.
For organizations that would like to learn more or get involved, let us know when you sign the letter. We will follow up with additional information and an invitation to join us on April 27th for an Information Session. Email [email protected] with any questions.
2. We are asking state leaders and policymakers to read our Report and work with nonprofits to find statewide funding solutions to Fund the Full Cost of Nonprofit Services – because Vermont employees deserve better.
3. We encourage community leaders and stakeholders to convene local conversations about ways to Fund the Full Cost of Nonprofit Services – because Vermonters deserve better.
4. We ask everyone to help us bring new voices in and build sector-wide solidarity by sharing the sign-on letter. Here are a few easy ways to spread the word:
Vermonters, and the nonprofits who serve them, are getting shortchanged! Vermont’s government relies on nonprofits to provide vital services to communities with greater impact and speed than the government can offer; yet nonprofits are increasingly being asked to do more with less. By ensuring that these organizations are funded appropriately, we ensure Vermonters have access to the quality programs and services they deserve.
Join [Your Organization] and organizations across the state in calling on the State of Vermont to Fund the Full Cost of Nonprofit Services.
Please email [email protected] with any questions about this work.