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Nonprofit Finance Fund Report: Economic Recovery Calls On Small Nonprofits

Front-line Organizations Poised to Drive Community Revitalization

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nonprofit Finance Fund ( today released a report on the critical role small nonprofits can play in aiding economic recovery – if they have the right financial and strategic support.

" Small Nonprofits Solving Big Problems" draws on Nonprofit Finance Fund's 30 years of experience providing loans and strategic consulting services to nonprofits of all sizes. It also shares specific examples based on NFF's recent work in Philadelphia through the Capital and Capacity for Economic Recovery (CCER) program. CCER offered grants and consulting solutions for 22 Philadelphia-area nonprofits that provide job training services and other forms of economic development in the region.

"Nonprofits like us can rarely access or afford services like those offered through CCER," said Dr. Robert Emberger, Executive Director of Whosoever Gospel Mission, a program participant. "The insight we gained about how to financially support and grow our mission work will have lasting value to our organization and the community."

CCER helped participating nonprofits address core organizational challenges, with the end goal of improving the services they offer to their clients.  Nonprofits – and small nonprofits in particular – often have trouble securing this kind of money and support, because many funders focus on paying for program delivery and do not want to pay for "overhead." NFF's report includes concrete guidance for funders who want to help their communities by building stronger local nonprofits, such as:

  • Fund important capacity needs, which include things like financial reporting systems, development staff, and improved technology.
  • Embrace the idea that nonprofits should have surpluses, and don't penalize them or automatically reduce funding if they do.
  • Fund what already works, rather than only offering funds for new or innovative approaches—especially when funding small, local organizations that have already identified and are filling a real need in their community.

"Mission returns from capacity and system-building investments can be just as large as those from program grants," said Kristine Alvarez, head of NFF's Mid-Atlantic Advisory Services, based in Philadelphia. "Changing the way that capital is used and filling gaps in an organization's internal expertise through consulting support can help boost outcomes."

CCER let funders support dozens of small nonprofits in a cohesive way that maximized positive outcomes for the community.  This model created opportunities for nonprofits to learn from each other, even while NFF created tailored solutions for each organization based on its particular needs, opportunities and environment.

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