Grantee Perception Report: President's Message
The Mott Foundation values its relationships with our grantees. What we have learned from these partnerships has helped us become better grantmakers by giving our staff a clearer understanding of the critical issues in the fields we support and the challenges our grantees face in implementing projects with our funding.
When the opportunity became available in early 2004 to participate in the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s (CEP) spring grantee perception survey, we quickly signed on. Not only would this survey capture a cross-section of our current grantees’ thinking about the Foundation as a grantmaker, but also it would benchmark us against a group of 28 other funders.
To start the process, we provided CEP contact information for all grantees that received grant payments in 2003. From those 934 organizations, the center created a random sample of 596 grantees from the Foundation’s four programs (Civil Society, Environment, Flint Area and Pathways Out of Poverty) as well as the Exploratory and Special Projects category. The response rate was 79 percent, or 469 responses. International grantees were surveyed via e-mail or the Web; domestic grantees responded online or via paper.
The study examined issues important to us — grantee satisfaction with the process of doing business with us, how we communicate (both formally and informally) with grantees, the impact of our administrative processes and procedures, and whether any assistance we offer beyond the grant check has value and to what degree.
We received very positive responses on many measures of perceived impact as well as on our relationship with grantees. The vast majority of the 1,300 open-ended comments were quite positive, with respondents describing us as “collaborative,” “partner,” “vital,” “leader,” “committed,” “thoughtful” and “helpful.” A cross-section of these comments is included in the summary of the survey results that follow.
At the same time, our grantees offered us thoughtful insights and suggestions on how we could improve our performance in a number of areas. These include:
- Streamlining our administrative processes, especially for smaller grants;
- Improving our formal communications products to increase grantees’ understanding of the Foundation;
- Articulating our strategies and the reasons we fund in our chosen fields more clearly; and
- Increasing our staffing (particularly international staff) to provide even greater levels of service.
We have been exploring how we can improve our operations based on this feedback. At the same time, we intend to remain mindful of those practices that our grantees value in order to continue doing what we do well.
As we move forward, we would welcome your thoughts and ideas. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
William S. White
to download the full report. [PDF, 83 pages]