Foundation Center president Brad Smith struck a nerve with his "Don't Call Us" post a few weeks back. In it, Brad addressed the all-too-familiar problem (for nonprofits) of foundations that don't accept unsolicited proposals and offered good advice to grantseekers as well as grantmakers frustrated by the trend.
The flip side to the phenomenon, as most nonprofit execs will tell you, are grantmakers who overburden grantseekers (and themselves) with onerous grant application and reporting practices. Lowering the barriers to nonprofit success represented by these burdensome (and often duplicative) practices is the goal of Project Streamline, an initiative of grantmakers and grantseekers that we wrote about in April '08 and again in April '09. (Full disclosure: the Foundation Center is a partner in the effort.)
Last week, two of the groups behind the initiative -- the Grant Managers Network and the Center for Effective Philanthropy -- announced the launch of a Grantmaker Assessment Tool, a free online survey for grantmakers that generates a comparative report about a grantmaker's application and reporting processes. With that data (aggregated, to ensure that participation and results are confidential), grantmakers can:
- Compare their grantmaking processes to those of other funders;
- Determine the costs of those processes;
- Identify opportunities to streamline within their organizations; and
- Track their progress over time.
The tool is free to use, and because it provides comparative analyses, the more grantmakers who try it, the greater the benefits to the field. Sounds like a win-win to me.
To get started, click here.
-- Mitch Nauffts