Foundations Making a Difference
Thursday, 5th March 2009 at 2:09 pm
Foundation staff who provide assistance beyond the grant are reporting a substantially more positive experience with their funders.
Providing assistance in ways that really matter is part of a new report called More Than Money: Making a Difference with Assistance Beyond the Grant.
The report is produced by the Centre for Effective Philanthropy in the US and looks at the attitudes and behaviours of Foundation CEOs and staff to providing assistance beyond the grant and how grantees view this assistance.
The researchers developed a list of 14 types of assistance that foundations frequently provide
to their grantees:
1) General management advice
2) Strategic planning advice
3) Financial planning/accounting
4) Development of performance measures
5) Encouraged/facilitated collaborations
6) Insight and advice on field
7) Introductions to leaders in the field
8) Research or best practices
10) Board development/governance assistance
11) Information technology assistance
12) Communications/marketing/publicity assistance
13) Use of foundation facilities
14) Staff/management training
The survey reveals four key findings:
– More than 80 percent of CEOs and 60 percent of program staff indicate that the provision of assistance beyond the grant is important for the achievement of their programmatic goals as well as improving grantees’ abilities to
achieve their own goals.
– The majority of grantees of a typical large foundation receive no assistance beyond the grant, and the 44 percent that do receive
assistance generally receive just two or three types.
– Providing just two or three types of assistance to grantees appears to be ineffective; it is only in the minority of cases when grantees receive either a comprehensive set of assistance activities or a set of mainly field-focused types of assistance that they have a substantially more positive experience with their foundation funders than grantees receiving no assistance.
Grantees receiving comprehensive assistance rate their funders – and their experiences – more positively on a wide range of dimensions than those receiving no assistance. The comprehensiveness of the assistance is marked by the breadth of activities that grantees receive from a funder, including assistance focused on the management of the grantee organisation, activities focused on the grantee’s field, and more technical forms of assistance. Grantees receiving comprehensive assistance beyond the grant report that their funder provided their organisation with an average of eight to nine types of assistance; no grantee receiving comprehensive assistance received fewer than six types.
– Providing assistance beyond the grant in ways that make a meaningful difference to grantees calls for a significant investment on the
part of the foundation: Program staff at foundations that provide assistance in these ways to more of their grantees tend to manage
fewer active grants and give larger grants.
The executive summary (free) can be downloaded at: http://www.effectivephilanthropy.org/publications/publications_downloadorder.php