Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Who should change -- grantmakers, grantwriters or both?

So much is made of so little, it seems. But yes, I will give in to the tendency to talk about grantwriting.... knowing full well that the vast majority of funding comes not from foundations (less than 10%, last time I checked) but from individuals (over 70%).

That said, here are two very interesting articles related to writing grants... the first is from Phil Cubeta, which includes a link to a longer article on this same topic:

Gift Hub: 12 Characteristics of a Good Proposal

The second, from the Foundation Center, is posted below the link for those who don't want to click (or for those who are subscribing to this blog via email).

PND - News - Funders Recommend Streamlining Grant Process, Survey Finds

An overwhelming majority of grantmakers want to streamline the grant application and reporting processes for nonprofits, a new survey by Harvard University's Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations and the New York City-based Nonprofit Finance Fund finds.

Ninety percent of the more than eighty survey respondents recommended simplifying grant application forms and reporting requirements commensurate with the size and scope of a grant opportunity, while almost 80 percent indicated that most grants should have fewer line items and other restrictions. In addition, 83 percent said foundations should increase the size and duration of grants, even if it meant that fewer nonprofits were supported, 70 percent were in favor of standardized grant application forms and reporting, 94 percent indicated that foundation relationships with grantees should move from oversight to partnership, and 89 percent said foundations should jointly decide with grantees on evaluation tools and metrics. The survey respondents included attendees of a recent Hauser Center-NFF symposium called Capital Ideas: Moving From Short-Term Engagement to Long-Term Sustainability (73 pages, PDF), as well as members of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations.

"Funders can do a great deal to strengthen the health of nonprofits by changing how they structure, steward, and share funding," said Kathleen W. Buechel, a visiting practitioner at the Hauser Center and co-convenor of the symposium. "The survey findings and symposium proceedings highlight promising practices that are well within the reach of most funders....Taken together, these accessible reforms should help more nonprofits deepen their capabilities to meet more of society's most pressing needs."

DISCUSSION: What are your reactions as a fundraiser to these changes?