In recent years, we have collected data on how our community of lean funders is responding to the pandemic. In April 2020, we surveyed members on what they planned to do. We shared those findings in this blog.

The next year, our 2021 Foundation Operations and Management Survey (FOMS) collected more detailed information on how lean funders were responding to COVID. While these two surveys are not a perfect comparison, they give a sense of how lean funders anticipated responding, compared to what they actually did. Here, we examine the changes lean funders implemented in 2020, and reflect on how they continue navigating pandemic uncertainty.

COVID-19 response

In April 2020, 79% of funders planned to change their funding approach in response to the pandemic. Fast forward to 2021, we found that 99% of respondents made at least one change to their funding approach because of COVID.

In both surveys, we asked funders to share how they changed their grantmaking strategies. We also inquired about their plans to increase funding.

Grantmaking changes

In the 2020 FOMS, more funders explored a variety of grantmaking changes. But a greater percentage of funders implemented at least one change to their grantmaking in 2021. This could suggest that at the beginning of the pandemic, funders were exploring more strategies. Yet, as it wore on, they settled in to focus on one or two.

Read the full article about lean funders by Brendan McCormick at Exponent Philanthropy.