Women with hands upImagine if a business was forced to shut down and restart its operations every year. The owners would have to fire their staff, turn away their customers, and lock their doors. Then, after a few weeks or months, they’d start all over again: restocking shelves, rehiring and training new staff, and trying to win back customers. Clearly, that’s no way to run a business. Yet thousands of nonprofit organizations across Canada rely on year-to-year funding contracts to run their programs, often forcing staff to cancel programs only months after launching them.

The downside of short-term funding includes high staff turnover, high retraining costs, and no time for innovation or program development. It also means a lot of “reinventing the wheel.” But the biggest impact is on the people who desperately need community supports that are simply not available.

That’s why most of the grants allocated by the Canadian Women's Foundation are invested in three to five year cycles, and monitored through annual evaluations.

In Calgary, the Women’s Venture Program helps women take their small business to the next level. For the last ten years, this program has received long-term funding from the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

Providing our grantee organizations with reliable long-term funding allows them to attract and retain the best employees, improve their programs over time, conduct longer-term evaluations, develop stronger community partnerships, and deliver more effective programs. In fact, thanks to this approach, many of our grantees are developing best practices and becoming leaders in their field. The result? Better solutions to complex social issues, the highest possible impact, and more help for the people who need it most.

This article is from the Spring 2015 issue of SHE – The Canadian Women’s Foundation magazine.