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PEAK Grantmaking

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Grantee Who Has Everything

The year is winding down and, for many of us, work is gently coasting or abruptly screeching to a standstill. And in these last few days before you take a break (or relax in the extremely quiet office while all your colleagues take a break) you might be wondering, What gift can I give my grantees, especially those grantees who seem to have it all?

Well, wonder no more: here is Dr. Streamline’s Top Ten holiday gift guide to showing your grantees that you care. You can think of them as stocking stuffers, or Hanukkah presents. These are simple gifts that might not seem sufficient individually – but that add up to meaningful time, energy, and frustration-saving for your grantees.

10. Intentional, non-redundant application requirements
It may have been a while since you combed through your application to make sure that the questions are asking for the information you really want – and that each question addresses something different. Do your grantees a favor by refining the ambiguous, eliminating the redundant, and scrapping the weird. Oh, and if you’d like them to be extra delighted, make sure that you only ask for information that you use for decision-making!

9. Downloadable questions attached to online grantmaking system
Anyone who has completed an online application or reporting form knows the terrifying feeling of diving into the abyss without a roadmap. Will this application take an hour or fifteen? Don’t leave your grantees wondering what’s ahead! This holiday season, surprise them with a downloadable set of questions so that they can review and plan before they enter the maze of your online system.

8. An anonymous feedback-seeking survey
There’s really only one good way to get candid feedback from your grantees about how your grantmaking process works for them. You guessed it – an anonymous survey! Give the grantees you love the promise that you’ll ask for their input and use their feedback this holiday season.

7. One report per year
You may think you’re giving your grantees the gift of more opportunities to reflect with your biannual or quarterly reports, but less is more when it comes to reporting. Unless you have cause for concern about a particular grant, scale back your formal written reporting requirements to once per year, add a right-sized and/or flexible set of requirements, and be confident that you’ve given your grantees something they’ve always wanted.

6. A phone call
This gift goes well with the one above! If you’re now wondering how you’ll ever keep up on the progress of your grantee, consider the gift of a mid-point phone conversation that you document to replace a report.

5. A flexible budget form (or no form at all)
Budget templates usually serve the grantmaker, not the grantee. Save your grantees the agony of cramming their budget into your template by accepting their financial information in their own format.

4. A final report that doubles as a renewal application
It’s like the Transformer of the philanthropic world – a final report that also applies for the next round of funding! Believe me – your grantees will love the ease and efficiency of submitting one thing that serves two purposes.

3. Speedy turnaround
Nothing says “I value your work” in this holiday season like getting a timely response to a proposal and – even better – a check in short order! If you aren’t sure how long your process takes, on average, now’s the time to track it. And then make it shorter.

2. Crystal clear information
Your grantees don’t want to waste your time with silly questions and ill-fitting proposals, but if your information isn’t clear, they have no choice. Make sure that your website describes your priorities clearly and accurately. Double check that your application instructions can be understood by someone not working in your foundation. Give the gift of clarity!

1. Funds that cover true costs
Want to go all out this holiday season? Creating grant applications and reporting on funds is an administrative burden on your grantees. It’s an administrative expense that a lot of Grinchy funders don’t want to cover. You will make your grantees’ holidays bright if you resolve now to pay for the true cost of running a nonprofit organization – ideally with general operating support.

Here’s wishing everyone a joyful, festive, and streamlined holiday season!