How Matters

Although many funders have refined their grantmaking strategy and impact, not enough have focused on how their decisions on processes, policies, and compliance issues influence their overall success.  It’s puzzling given the huge amount of time and effort spent by the field on defining and measuring success that something so critical and so publicly visible as grantmaking practices is so neglected in these conversations.

That’s why GMN gathered an impressive brain trust to develop the first-ever guide and set of indicators to help grantmakers assess their practices. This guide addresses the basic questions that grantmakers should be able to answer about how their grants are made. It’s focused on the basics because that’s where the majority of grantmakers are on this topic.  We hope this guide will create a common baseline of understanding effective practices.  Without that, the field will never be able to tackle the advanced questions that will allow the field to evolve and improve.

We believe that as funders become more efficient in their grantmaking practices, more resources can be shifted from administrative to mission-related activities by both grantmakers and grantseekers. Strong and sound controls, implemented through effective practices and managed by skilled staff, increase the public’s confidence in private sector philanthropy. Increased attention on how grants are made can lead to field-wide change that improves the experience of philanthropy for all involved.

We encourage you to integrate these indicators into your work.  Incorporate them into your reporting to your senior leadership and board.  Join us in strengthening  the impact of the work we all do by giving “how” grants are made the same attention as the “what” and “who”.

Learn more and download the guide on our website »


Michelle Greanias

Michelle Greanias is executive director of PEAK Grantmaking. Follow her on Twitter @mgreanias.

  • Attention to “HOW” is still difficult for many organizations, unfortunately, because it requires something more of us. It requires listening and self-reflection and because it’s difficult to ask “how?” without then asking “why?”, we fear that our biases, assumptions, and prejudices are exposed. Since what we measure is a reflection of what we are, providing this list of indicators is a great invitation to ask these seemingly tough questions. Thanks for sharing. Very important, as the name of my blog indicates – ha!