The relationships that funders build with grantees are crucial if the two are to work well together to achieve shared goals. In particular, the foundation program officer to whom a grantee is assigned plays an important role in this dynamic, CEP research finds. Program officers strongly shape how grantees experience a foundation’s selection, reporting, and evaluation processes, as well as the foundation’s overall helpfulness to grantees in assessing their progress and addressing challenges that arise.

Luciana Campello is a programme manager at the Laudes Foundation (formerly C&A Foundation) who works out of Brazil as part of the Foundation’s Labour Rights program. In 2020, C&A Foundation’s work in fashion has become part of Laudes Foundation — a new, independent foundation to support initiatives seeking to inspire and challenge industry to harness its power for good. When the Foundation gathered feedback from its grantees through the Grantee Perception Report (GPR) in 2019, Campello’s grantees rated her in the top 10 percent of CEP’s overall comparative dataset for their overall quality of relationships, including for her responsiveness, comfort approaching the Foundation when a problem arises, and clarity of communications.

What’s her secret? When asked about how she approaches building and maintaining strong relationships with the nonprofit leaders she works with, Campello points to several principles she has found to be effective.

  1. Focus on Navigating the Power Imbalance
  2. Be Transparent in Your Communication
  3. Put Yourself in the Grantee’s Shoes
  4. Stay Humble
  5. Meet in Person (When Possible)

Read the full article about building relationships by Ethan McCoy at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.