A post to Exponent Philanthropy's blog

What Your Grantees Wish You Knew

In June 2017, we hatched a plan. What if we created a survey to gather experience, advice, opinions, and knowledge from our grantmaker and grantseeker communities? (At Foundant, we provide grantmaking software solutions to grantmakers and grantees.)

What kind of response would we get? How could we use the information we received to further our mission—to maximize the impact of the philanthropic community?

Our idea morphed into an inspiring, at times daunting, opportunity to shape a collaborative library of resources beyond our wildest dreams. Our “little survey” became longer and more in-depth, but we went with it. What did we have to lose?

Our grantseeker survey was 13 open-ended questions on topics ranging from funder-grantee relationships to tracking outcomes to efficiency. Our grantmaker survey was more than double that length, asking about impacts and outcomes, relationship building, the future of philanthropy, and more.

In all, 177 grantseekers and more than 40 grantmakers responded—a response that completely humbled us.

As we create worthy resources from the information our community provided, we’ll will most certainly share them with the field. Here is a sample of grantseekers’ responses to this question:

What do you wish grantmakers knew?

“That we want to be in touch with them and develop relationships, but often don’t have the time. I wish they would initiate more follow up and relationship development. Ask how we are doing with their money.”

“I wish they knew us personally. As a service organization, it is hard to grasp the value of our services without actually experiencing them or talking to people who have experienced them.”

“Please please please have a phone number or email where we can ask questions.”

“We wish grantmakers knew the impact our organization has on our community and residents. There are so many stories to tell.”

“The most collaborative relationships are with funders that have provided money for capital projects like land purchase or building construction. The less personal relationships are with funders who fund small amounts for our programs.”

“When given the opportunity, we try to make the contact personal. Some foundations appreciate contact; others definitely only want to see what will fit in the 2,000-character limit.”

Other resources from our project:

On Philanthropy: What’s Changed in the Past Decade and What It Means for the Sector

Guide: Maximize Your Data Collection Efforts

Foundant Technologies provides intuitive, integrated solutions to help maximize the impact of the philanthropic community. Through a company-wide dedication to honest, lasting relationships, Foundant strives to ensure client success above all else.

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