How Foundations Can Empower Grantseekers and Reduce Grantee Burden

10/24/2016

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Many nonprofits struggle under the weight of grantee burden. Any unnecessary hoops that grantees are forced to jump through only serve to stifle the impact that they (and their funders) seek to achieve. As a funder, any time you can minimize the  amount of time, effort, and money that nonprofits spend seeking and receiving grants, you increase their capacity to focus on what they do best – their mission-related work.

There are many ways funders can do their part to reduce grantee burden. We’ve selected four crucial ways that will make a measurable difference in your grantmaking.

>>Download the complete guide, Minimize Grantee Burden: Best Practices for Nurturing Stronger Relationships.<<

Be transparent. 

When potential grantees don't have visibility into a foundation or its application process, it makes it extremely difficult to foster key relationships and get funding. The right technology creates visibility by helping foundations organize all the information about and for a grantee in one place, making it easy for both internal staff and grantees to review and track proposals, reports, and communications. This enables all users to not only quickly check in on the current status of a grant, but also see a complete history of the relationship.

Be a good partner.

Grantseekers need more than just financial support from funders — they need partners in their work. Being a good partner means that you need to set engagement expectations and communications from the first interaction, be responsive to grantee questions, and assess whether grantees are being forced to shift their own priorities to receive funding. To find out how grantees really feel about the grant experience, foundations can utilize the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) grantee perception survey. Through this data, foundations can gain honest, actionable intelligence about how to improve the process for grantees.

Use technology to its fullest potential.

Advances in technology have made it easier than ever before to streamline processes, access and utilize data, and collaborate in real time. We all enjoy the amazing things technology brings to our lives everyday. These same advances have made it simple to alleviate significant burden for nonprofits looking for funding. For example, a good grants management system allows you to pull in a stream of data about your potential grantees, from services such as the Foundation Center and Guidestar, and access open data from the IRS so that you can eliminate any redundancies in the administrative process.

Empower your grantees.

Historically, there has been a baked-in power dynamic that tilts power toward the foundations. Working together to find ways to make grantees equal stakeholders in both funding decisions and the evaluation of their work, draws both parties closer together as partners. Moving the funding process online can accelerate that process. By providing a workspace where organizations can complete and revise applications and reports in collaboration with foundation staff input, foundations and grantees can quickly develop solutions and strategic alignment, while spending less time on administrative burdens.

Nonprofits that apply for grants often have too few staff, too small budgets, and too little overall capacity to be saddled with excessive processes that make getting funding so difficult. When funders make grantseekers’ lives easier, they can ultimately do their jobs better. Reducing grantee burden helps unleash the very talent and skill that foundations invest in – and allows them to move the needle on their shared mission.

For a deeper understanding of how to alleviate grantee burden, read our new guide, Minimize Grantee Burden: Best Practices for Nurturing Stronger Relationships. Download it now!

Click here for the complete guide.

Topics: Grantmaking

Written by Aaron Lester