Grantee and Applicant Perception Survey FAQs - Exponent Philanthropy

Grantee and Applicant Perception Survey FAQs

Exponent Philanthropy’s Grantee and Applicant Perception Survey (GAPS) offers foundations a structured opportunity to evaluate their internal processes, grantmaking, and relationships with grantee partners. This tool affords foundation boards and staff the opportunity to reflect on their work, initiate constructive group dialogue, and agree on an action plan. 

How do you develop the GAPS survey questions?

We have a standard set of 13 multiple-choice and 7 open-ended questions. We can customize some of them based on what you want to learn and what limitations you have.

How many qualitative questions do you typically include?

Between seven and ten. Adding too many questions slows things down, and the longer the survey, the less likely grantees and applicants are to complete it.

What do you mean by applicants?

We mean anyone that started the application and went through the process, whether they received a grant or not. We ask, “Did you receive a grant, yes or no,” and direct them to the right questions accordingly.

How long does it take to finalize the survey questions?

It can take a few weeks or up to a month to finalize the questions, depending on how high of a priority it is to you.

How long does the entire GAPS process typically take?

Typically, this process takes three months from the time of purchase to the final report. At the start, we agree on a formal schedule that looks something like this:

  1. Kick off call
  2. Agree on survey questions (2-4 weeks)
  3. Field survey (3-4 weeks)
  4. Data analysis and initial report writing (2-4 weeks)
  5. Final report writing (2-3 weeks)
Who distributes the survey?

Once we agree on a set of final survey questions, Exponent Philanthropy creates the survey in SurveyMonkey, a third-party platform where we can see the raw data on the backend. Then, we give you a link to distribute to your grantees and applicants. Your contacting grantees and applicants will get a higher response rate because they know you. They don’t know us.

How long do we field the survey?

We recommend three to four weeks to field the survey, with one initial email, and two to four follow ups, depending on the response rate.

How will we know the response rate?

Exponent Philanthropy provides weekly updates.

Can you describe the analysis phase?

We tabulate the multiple-choice results and give a high-level overview of the open-ended comments in an initial report to ensure the data makes sense, and we’re aligned on the report’s direction. After that, we produce a much more in-depth full report with disaggregated data analysis and a deeper dive into the themes gleaned from the open-ended questions.

What data do you disaggregate?

We only disaggregate the multiple-choice questions. We don’t disaggregate the open-ended comments to protect anonymity.

Does the report include recommendations and actionable takeaways?

Yes, we provide a list of resources from our library which includes blogs, articles, resource pages, sample documents, and more.

How do funders close the loop with grantees?

We recommend that you follow up with your grantees and applicants. We provide an executive summary that you can share and say, “This is what Exponent Philanthropy saw in your data and here’s what we’re going to do with the information.”

Since you run these with other funders, are there opportunities for benchmarking?

No. Given the uniqueness of each funder/grantee relationship, we don’t think benchmarking is necessarily useful here. When we see a reoccurring theme in other recent GAPS reports, we note it. But we won’t say, “The average response for this question is a 4.2, and you got a 4.3.”

However, we encourage you check out our Foundation Operations and Management Report for benchmarking.

Can you break down the cost for me?

The GAPS process costs $1,995 for members, and $2,995 for nonmembers. An Exponent Philanthropy membership is $815, which is less than the cost of the difference.

Will we have access to all the data?

Yes, in the final report we include all the open-ended responses in an appendix. We randomize them so the first response in Q1 is not the same respondent as the first response in Q2.

Do you omit details that lead to intentional attribution?

Not always. We write, “If you’d like to remain anonymous, don’t reveal your organization’s name, or identifiable programs” in the survey instructions. But sometimes grantees choose to do so.

What feedback do you hear most often?

Oftentimes, grantees want a less burdensome application and more multi-year and flexible funding.