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PEAK Grantmaking

Two Great Streamlining Stories to Kick Off the New Year

Happy New Year, Streamliners!

Let’s make 2018 the year of sensible and streamlined application and reporting practice! Why? So many good reasons (feel free to add your own):

  • Get funds to the work more quickly without imposing unnecessary administrative burdens on grantseekers.
  • Focus your energy as grantmakers on things that matter more – like thoughtful due-diligence, relationship building, connecting grantees with resources, learning, and building the fields you care about.
  • Get better and more meaningful responses to application and reporting questions.

Two great streamlining stories crossed my screen in the last few weeks. I love reading real stories of streamlined grantmaking and how funders made the decision to take a new approach.

  • Streamlining a Foundation Initiative’s Grant Practices. Daniel Stid and Jillian Misrack Galbete, writing for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, provide a thoughtful account of how the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation redesigned the grantmaking process of the Madison Initiative to learn more from and with grantees, emphasize shared learning, and clarify and communicate the process transparently. They also moved to larger, general support grants.
  • In a blog post, Why We Accept Proposals Written for Other Funders, Lisa Pilar Cowan of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation shares why and how the foundation decided to accept proposals from grantees that are written for other funders. Their decision was influenced by a commitment to Trust-Based Philanthropy, championed by The Whitman Institute, and their prior career experience as grantseekers. She writes: “Both the foundation’s new president, Phil Li, and I are former nonprofit executive directors, program managers, and board members. We both spent many years wrestling with funders from the other side of the desk—and we were all too familiar with the wide range of specialized RFPs, individualized budget formats, and many, many different attachments that funders request.”

These inspirational stories may give you motivation or ideas, and if so, we hope you’ll share them. How will you contribute to a streamlined 2018?