More than 250 foundations have commissioned GPRs from the Center for Effective Philanthropy, which allows us to compare our grantees’ perceptions to a very broad data set. We also compared our 2010 GPR to our 2006 GPR, to see if our grantees’ perceptions of Irvine have changed over time.
Our grantees’ perceptions were improved in 2010 in a few key areas, including grantees’ overall satisfaction with the Foundation, and the quality of the relationship between the grantee and the Foundation. We are encouraged by these improvements, but are focusing our attention on the areas where more improvement is warranted. For example, our grantees reported having to spend more time meeting the administrative requirements of our grants, so we are working on ways to streamline those processes.
Here is a summary of some of the key findings from the 2010 report:
Based on this grantee feedback, we are making some adjustments to our internal processes and to our interactions with grantees. These changes mostly fall into the following categories:
Foundation processes: We are reviewing our grantmaking processes, such as grantee selection and grant awards, to find areas where we can streamline or make other improvements. We also recognize the importance of insuring a seamless transition and consistent point of contact for grantees when we change staff. What are your experiences with foundations’ administrative and reporting requirements? Are you familiar with any streamlining efforts that we can learn from? Please add your comments below.
Communications: We will review the way that our communications establish rapport with grantees and seek opportunities to enhance their comfort in approaching the foundation about challenges or problems in their work. How can foundations make it easier for grantees to raise problems without feeling like it might reduce the likelihood of future grants? We welcome your comments below.
Improving grantees’ experiences when third-party consultants are involved: We engage consultants and other intermediaries to work with grantees who are part of grant clusters or initiatives. Grantees who received such assistance rated the foundation significantly lower on a number of key measures across the survey. We are assessing the reasons for this and looking for opportunities to improve grantees’ experiences when third parties are involved. Have you worked with third-party consultants in ways that have improved your experience with the foundation? If so, what can we learn from your experience and what mistakes should we avoid?
We are eager to hear from those of you who work with Irvine, but also hope to hear from anyone who may bring particular insights to share from their interactions with other foundations. We are confident that others have figured out creative ways to improve in each of these areas and we very much want to learn from those experiences. By having an open, honest dialogue about these issues, we think we can take our learning from our grantees a step further and we hope to contribute to how other foundations think about these issues.