10 Ways To Right-Size Your Requirements - Exponent Philanthropy
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10 Ways To Right-Size Your Requirements

Women in a business meeting
Photo by Alena Shekhovtcova

To right-size your requirements mean tailoring what you require from grantseekers and grantees when they apply for and report on your grants. As an illustration, what you require is proportionate to the size of grant, appropriate for the type of grant, and reflective of any existing relationship with the grantee.

In short, right-sizing considers the notion of net grants. To put it another way, the grant dollars received after subtracting the cost of applying for and managing the grant. Does applying for a grant from your foundation result in a positive net grant for the grantee?

How can you right-size your grant applications and reports, while still getting the information you need to make decisions and assess your impact?

10 Ways To Right-Size Your Requirements

  1. Identify the information that is essential for your foundation to make a grant decision and request only that information in your grant application. Consider how you will use the information.
  2. Develop different versions of your application tailored to the types of funding you offer, such as project support, general operating support, and capital project funding.
  3. Set page limits or ranges as part of your grant application to make the scope and depth of information you seek for different sizes and types of grants clear.
  4. Develop a streamlined application and report form for small grants to ensure the grant is worthwhile. Does applying for a small grant from your foundation result in a positive net grant?
  5. Test your streamlined applications with existing grantees and ask for feedback. Chances are they will offer ideas you haven’t considered.
  6. Ask grantseekers to submit applications electronically. Allow them to link to online information about their organizations, such as mission statements and program descriptions.
  7. Let grantseekers submit financial information in their original, off-the-shelf formats rather than requiring reformatting. Nonprofits spend a huge amount of time tailoring financial data to the individual needs of different funders.
  8. Align reporting requirements to the size and type of grant. Instead of asking for a written report, consider inviting key grantees to talk about their projects or organizations over coffee or lunch.
  9. For renewal grants, make reporting on the previous grant part of the process to apply for subsequent funding.
  10. Store grantee information in an Excel spreadsheet, database, or grants management system. Then, ask organizations you’ve supported in the past to submit updates only—without resubmitting documents and information they’ve already sent you.

Check In With Grantees

Be sure to take stock! After a year, ask if right-sizing has benefited grantseekers and your foundation. Have net grants remained positive and even increased because of your streamlining? Is your foundation making decisions more efficiently?


Ready To Streamline Your Grantmaking?

Letting Go: The First Step to Greater Impact
September 22 & 29 |  2 – 4 p.m. ET
Learn practical ways to re-focus and streamline your grantmaking to center learning, engagement, creativity and relationships. Register now >>


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