Statement Regarding Special Events Funding

Why the Dyson Foundation Does Not Support Benefit Events

We are often asked to sponsor or underwrite events that are being conducted by local nonprofit organizations.  We have been reluctant to do this in the past, and have limited the number of such events that we participated in. In recent years, the Dyson Foundation has decided to not sponsor events, underwrite advertising or purchase tables at any events. Our reasons are many, but here are a few:  

  • When we support a particular organization, we want 100% of that support to go towards that organization's programs or core expenses. We do not want to see a percentage of that funding go towards the costs of an event. We simply do not feel that it is a good use of our limited available funding. 
  • We do not feel that special events are always the best use of an organization's fundraising dollars.  Many local groups barely break even when holding a special event, and sometimes it even costs them more than they make. 
  • In the Mid-Hudson Valley we support almost 150 separate organizations through program, general operating support and management assistance grants.  If only 50% of those groups held events, it would still be far too many for us to support, and having to choose which organizations' events to support is both unfair and unrealistic.

We recognize that organizations hold special events for many reasons, and that raising money is only one of the reasons. We also know that special events can be a good way of introducing potential new supporters to the organization's work. But we encourage all nonprofit groups to consider new ways of raising the money they need to do their work, and to give significant thought to whether special events are really the best use of their time, money and resources.

The Dyson Foundation will continue, on a limited basis, to purchase individual tickets for events when that event fits within the programmatic requirements of Dyson Foundation staff or board for monitoring and/or oversight of grantee organizations and programs.


Guidelines for Accepting Honors

Generally speaking, the Dyson Foundation prefers not to be publically recognized or to receive honors for our grantmaking. We would consider accepting an honor if a staff member or board member volunteers for the organization, if the honor is collectively honoring all funders in the region, or if the Dyson Foundation has worked closely with or partnered with the organization, providing assistance above and beyond our standard grantmaking. In a circumstance where the Foundation agrees to be honored, this agreement should not be conditioned upon our sponsoring or buying a table at the event. At no time should the Foundation be publically acknowledged or honored without first seeking approval from the Dyson Foundation.