Charities Want More Insight Into Grant-Making Decisions, Says Study

Writing in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Maria Di Mento covers a new report by the Center for Effective Philanthropy on foundations and transparency:

Foundations may think they are meeting charities’ information needs when they put their financial data on their Web sites. But a new study says nonprofit leaders want to know more about why some charities get support and some don’t—and how grant makers assess which grantees are performing well and which aren’t.

Eighty percent of the 138 nonprofit leaders surveyed by the Center for Effective Philanthropy said they want to hear more from grant makers about how they decided what to support. Such information, survey participants said, would help them decide whether their organization’s work fits a grant maker’s goals, and they would waste less time on applications that are likely to go nowhere.


Among the findings:

  • Close to 90 percent of charity officials in the poll reported that they wish foundations would talk more openly about grant making that didn’t work; 77 percent said they would like foundations to get better at sharing their success stories.
  • Nearly three quarters said they want grant makers to disclose more about how they evaluate the work they support and a grantee’s performance.
  • Eighty-seven percent of charities said they think foundations should be more open about how they determine their own performance, while 77 percent said they wish foundations would talk in public about their own impact.
  • Only 29 percent of nonprofits said they understand exactly how foundations use the information their grantees are required to provide.

Read the full report, “Foundation Transparency: What Nonprofits Want” »


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