Because there’s so little that we must do in grantmaking, we create our own systems and processes to make sure that we’re going about our work in a responsible way. As a result, it’s easy for us to become enamored of our own processes and believe that they are essential. And because we are continually approached by organizations that want grant dollars and seem willing to go to great lengths to get them, we can start to feel that it’s their duty to jump through our hoops – however onerous – without complaint.
Since you are interested in Impact Philanthropy, have you read these selections from Giving Compass related to impact giving and Impact Philanthropy?
But these two maladies get in the way of grantmakers achieving our own missions. If your organization values supporting nonprofits and increasing the effectiveness of their work, then streamlining is essential.
Consider soliciting feedback from applicants once they complete their proposals, either as a survey that opens once they hit the submit button, or one that gets emailed to them. Ensure that their responses will remain anonymous so they are more likely to give honest feedback, or hire an outside evaluator to survey past applicants and grantees. There is not much better than hearing about the experience firsthand from those that had to live it! My foundation is about to embark on the CEP grantee and applicant survey over the winter with the hopes of finding out how we can continue to streamline and make things easier for applicants.
Another idea is to do a sort of simulation with staff so they can see just how cumbersome the application process might be from the other side. Couple that with a cost analysis of the average amount of time an applicant spends engaged with your process over the amount of funding they stand to receive if awarded a grant and the average salary of a nonprofit ED or program staff in your area to demonstrate the potential financial burden a grantee takes on just applying for a grant. Make the case with data, just like they’d expect an applicant to do (I hope).
This article on grantmaking was written at Peak Grantmaking.
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