Are You Supporting Your Grantees?
This is our last post in the series on the excellent report from the Grants Managers Network (GMN), Assessing The How of Grantmaking. The final question GMN suggests grants managers ask themselves is does our process strengthen and support grantees? According to the report, “An effective grantmaking process ensures that grantee time, energy, and money go toward the mission-based work that your organization most wants to support, rather than to the administrative demands of applying and reporting. Does your grantmaking process have the positive impact you want for your grantees?”
I suggest you look at the report for a deeper dig on how GMN suggests grants managers evaluate their progress in key areas such as net grant level and how far unsuccessful applicants go in the process before being declined. There is valuable insight into the metrics you can use to assess and improve your process.
I’d like to focus on some best practices we’ve established with clients in order to support grantees. In the previous post, I talked about the importance of clarity and making the process efficient for prospective grantees from initial interaction through the application submission and review. Supporting grantees means respecting their time and making things as accessible as possible. Building on that, we have collaborated with clients to create some highly effective tools for supporting grantees. We created a scorecard for one client to use as an internal tool for monitoring the progress of individual grantees. The scorecard helps them evaluate how the grantee is progressing against milestones. If the grantee is off-track or not making headway, the scorecard helps bubble that information up to the foundation grants team. Forming the basis for a conversation with the grantee, the scorecard serves as the critical input the foundation team needs to help grantees who require additional support get back on track or provide the kudos to grantees who are on track and accomplishing goals.
Another technique that one of our clients uses to support grantees is through their own employee volunteers. When a grantee is encountering challenges or having a tough time reaching goals, the foundation assembles and deploys a team of volunteers to help the grantee in whatever area will help them get on track. The grantees appreciate the help and the employees love having the opportunity to get involved and make a difference.
These clients have found that by putting the strategies and structure in place to provide grantees with significant support, their overall program is far more successful. They are able to create a greater impact in their areas of focus and have a much more powerful narrative to share with their communities when grantees are accomplishing their goals and working toward social change.
Read the previous post in this series.