General operating support (“gen op”) gives grantees the opportunity to fund that which is most needed, whether it be salaries and overhead, expanding a program, investing in technology, improving fundraising efforts, or something else. These grants express a high level of trust and give grantee organizations great flexibility in using funds wisely to achieve their goals.
General operating support is valuable to nonprofits for a number of reasons, including:
- Allowing grantee organizations to focus on fulfilling their mission and building infrastructure rather than on peripheral projects and additional fundraising;
- Serving as a vote of faith for nonprofit leaders, helping to decrease burnout; and
- Diminishing the inherent power imbalance between grantor and grantee.
It also provides grantees with:
- Flexibility to explore innovative new initiatives or respond to timely programmatic opportunities (particularly valuable in tumultuous economic times);
- The ability to leverage unrestricted dollars to attract additional grants and investments; and
- The opportunity to take on policy education activities that are frequently under-supported.