Full Cost

Our sector needs better ways to talk about cost. Full cost names and claims all the financial resources it takes to run an effective organization for the long haul.

Full cost is a critical framework for advancing equity and it's one of Trust-Based Philanthropy's best pals.

Defining Full Cost

What All Nonprofits Need (learn more)

  • Total expenses: the day-to-day direct and indirect, program and overhead, and the unfunded expenses holding us back
  • Working capital: cash to keep operations going strong, even when we’re waiting to get paid 
  • Reserves: to navigate the unexpected, survive a crisis, or act on a new opportunity

What Some Nonprofits Need (learn more)

  • Debt principal repayment: to pay back what’s been borrowed
  • Fixed asset additions: new equipment, buildings, and other fixed assets
  • Change capital: large, flexible dollars to reposition your business model

Partners and Projects

Some of our most exciting full cost work has happened in partnership with Philanthropy California (an alliance of Northern California Grantmakers, Southern California Grantmakers, and San Diego Grantmakers). Click here to learn more about the history of the Full Cost Project, which continues to build momentum in California.

More Insights

NFF helps nonprofits, funders, networks, and communities implement full cost practices. Contact us to discuss bringing this work to your organization are region