Working with Grantees

To many nonprofits, foundation operations are shrouded in mystery. Because prospective grantees are seeking funding from foundations, there may be a perceived power imbalance. However, building strong and effective relationships with grantees can help foundations develop new knowledge and insights into issues, and to test and scale innovative strategies. Open communication, approachability, sharing lessons learned, and collaborative evaluation are key to developing strong partnerships with grantees.

In-Depth knowledge on Working with Grantees

Fiscal sponsorship provides a valuable tool for charitable entrepreneurs to realize their vision by working with an established charity that takes in tax-deductible donations and private-foundation grants to fund their charitable activities. This chapter of Mastering Foundation Law: The Council on Foundations Compendium of Legal Resources focuses on the basic elements of fiscal sponsorship, the predominant models and their relative advantages and disadvantages, and the mechanical aspects involved.

The grantmaking application process is a big lift for foundations and nonprofits, alike. This primer takes a look at streamlining the application process from RFP to grant agreement. Found in the guide is a how to on creating RFPs, questions to ask during the grant application review, sample acceptance letter, sample declination letter, and a sample grant agreement. Highlighted here, you will also find an innovative example a group of funders from New Mexico (SHARE New Mexico) took in reevaluating their long standing grantmaking application process and the steps they took in creating and implementing a common application. Finally, we invite you to explore the resources and tools available through GMN's Project Streamline initiative, an effort to assist funders in right-sizing application and reporting requirements, reducing the burden on grantseekers, and seeking feedback to improve grantmaking practices.

This checklist for developing effective grantee relations was prepared by Jane Kendall, president of the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits and a trustee of the Kathleen Price Bryan Family Fund.

Exiting fields is a common practice in the philanthropic sector. It is often spurred by foundations’ continuous quest for innovation, new leadership, or a decline in assets. However, this practice is often performed with little advance notice, unclear rationales, and no consistent best practices. Exiting a field responsibly is essential to achieving the compelling and far-reaching goals that foundations set for themselves, so how can they help strengthen and sustain fields when their support ends? Consultant Janice Petrovich discussed effective practices in this important area.

From GEO, what does it mean to truly and authentically engage a community in evaluation? Grantmakers working on place-based grantmaking already have the incentive and drive to support in-depth evaluation, to understand the impact of the initiative, and to identify opportunities to improve their work. Effective evaluation of these complex and multi-faceted efforts is grounded in the perspectives of community stakeholders.