Grant making

By Julia Cannon

A recent blog post by the Stanford Social Innovation Review talks about how putting grantees at the center of foundations helps provide the support that nonprofits need to be successful. The writer also says that to stay connected with grantees, grantmakers must confront the status quo, and change longstanding behaviors and practices.

This marks a shift in the way foundations largely think about setting outcome requirements for their grant making.

The debate that foundations face today centers around the paradigm of strategic philanthropy. Foundations that practice this model have the ability to target a particular outcome that they want to accomplish. The organizations that intend to deliver on that outcome are held accountable. It gives the foundations a clear set of objectives, and grantees know from the outset what their benchmarks are for the duration of their engagement.

Recently, a growing number of foundations break away from this approach. Increasingly, they work with grantees to measure outcomes defined by the funding recipients as opposed to the foundation stakeholders. This approach removes overhead from grantees who might not previously be tracking certain measurements, or may have co-funders with separate sets of requirements. Additionally, foundations are experimenting with mixes of both philosophies. Either by prescribing some outcome measurements and allowing the grantee to define the remainder, or by varying the model from one program to another.

Regardless of where a foundation lands on this philanthropic spectrum, there is a strong case for technology and data systems to support the chosen methods. That is why foundationConnect is examining the variety of ways that outcomes and impacts are formed, tracked, and evaluated. We believe that a truly versatile product meets the diverse operational practices of philanthropic organizations and evolves as the foundation evolves. foundationConnect, too, continues to evolve. We’ve started with our existing objective-tracking capabilities and enhancing functionality to promote a growing interest in impacts and outcomes. It doesn’t matter how they are defined.

About foundationConnect

foundationConnect is a Salesforce-based CRM and grant management solution that transforms the way foundations manage philanthropic giving so funders can focus more on their mission and less on administration.

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