Streamlining in the Summertime – Some Golden Oldies

For many of us, summer heat brings on nostalgia. Popsicles, ocean waves, biting bugs… ah summer!  But Dr. Streamline has no time to sunbathe! Instead, I was inspired to dig back through my files and find some materials from the very first Project Streamline workshop. My colleague Alice Cottingham and I pulled out all the stops, even composing limericks about streamlining with missing words for participants to complete – a la “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me,” on NPR.

Exhibit A:

Said a grantseeker with hesitation

“After five years, I feel consternation

Can’t they keep in their files

(or at least in their piles)

Our letter of _________________?”


Even if you’re not a limerick writer, summer can be a good time to reflect on your grantmaking process. And what better beach reading than Project Streamline resources, developed to help grantmakers create sensible and streamlined application and reporting processes?  Here are some golden oldies that Project Streamline has developed over the years to help you take action in your own organization:

Your first stop might be The Champions Toolkit, a compilation of useful tools for grants managers, program officers, executives, or anyone seeking to streamline their grantmaking. In the Tools You Can Use section, you’ll find links to a sample survey and cost audits for grantmakers, grantseekers, and to understand the cost of your process to the sector.

For deeper background, you can go back and dive into our two research reports – both of which present data from funders and nonprofits to describe, diagnose, and take steps to change our application and reporting burdens.

If you’d like a quicker read, try the “Cliff Notes” version of the reports:

Because Project Streamline focuses on practical advice, we offer Streamlining Guides to help you take action.

Online Applications and Reporting (Relieving the Burden)

Identifies the essential and “gold standard” features and practices of online systems to help your grantmaking organization select and implement—or retrofit—a system that is user-friendly and designed to help grantseekers succeed.

Guide to Streamlining Budgets and Financial Reporting  (Relieving the Burden)

Many nonprofits find that specialized budget and financial reporting requirements are some of the most time-consuming and burdensome aspects of grantseeking. This guide can help your organization streamline its grant budget and financial reporting requirements in ways that benefit your organization and your grantees.

Making Streamlining Stick

A guide to starting and developing buy-in for a streamlining process at your organization.

Guide to Streamlining: Right-Sizing the Grantmaking Process

When grantmaking is right-sized, the information and due diligence requirements are proportionate to the size of the grant, appropriate to the type of grant, and take into consideration prior relationships with grantees. This guide will help your organization think through the opportunities to right-size your own process.

Due Diligence

This guide will help grantmakers think through what information is really needed to make a grant, and clear up some of the confusion surrounding what materials are truly “required.”


Enjoy your summer streamlining!  And if any streamlining limericks come to mind… well, you know where to send them.  Contact Dr. Streamline with your bad poetry or streamlining questions any time at


Dr. Streamline

Dr. Streamline is also known as Jessica Bearman. She, along with her colleague Streamlining Surgeon Alice Cottingham, and a cohort of Streamlining Interns, are available to answer all of your streamlining questions. Together, they diagnose the good, the bad, and the mystifying, and prescribe cures for your streamlining woes.If you have a question about your own grantmaking process, or one that you’ve encountered, please write to Dr. Streamline at for a useful (and possibly entertaining) Rx.