In the past, reports simply seemed to be the price we had to pay for giving/receiving grants. As grantmakers, we sheepishly suspected that grant reports reflected gratitude more than impact.
Our research has found that, too often, funders are missing the connections, lessons, and relationships that grant reporting could and should be making. Reporting is often our field’s first (and sometimes only) opportunity to explore the space between what we hoped for and what actually happened. Reviewing and responding to a grant report can be a critical part of an ongoing conversation between a grantmaker and its nonprofit partners. Reporting can be designed and deployed to benefit the shared work of the funder and grantee. Reporting can lead to greater results.
But when it comes down to actual practice, does our design and use of reporting match our intentions?