Charlotte Brugman: Tell me a little bit about your organizations and what led you both to seek grantee feedback for the first time.

Tim Wilson: City Bridge Trust is London’s largest independent grantmaker. Our focus is on tackling disadvantage across Greater London and building more cohesive communities. It’s a fairly broad, ambitious mission — we definitely have our work cut out for us.

We wanted to have an independent perspective on our work, but we were really keen to have data validated against a community benchmark. While we tried to understand how we were seen in the past, I think despite our best efforts, everything that we commissioned independent agents to produce for us was always affected by that deference bias…. People have a tendency to tell you positive things. We didn’t really have that sector comparator.

So I think what CEP gave us was something which was new and unique. It gave us a lot of food for thought, particularly around topics like our caseload, our monitoring processes, our program fees. As an experience, commissioning the GPR was something that really engaged the wider staff in a very positive way.

Lee Risby: C&A Foundation is a corporate foundation focused on pulling the fashion industry on a more sustainable path. We’re working across issues like improving working conditions, eradicating forced and child labor, and circular fashion, which encompasses circular economy and sustainable resources.

Why we commissioned the Grantee Perception Report was quite simple. We reorganized out of an earlier incarnation of C&A Foundation in late 2013/early 2014 and during that time, we put in place a lot of new structures and processes. There was quite a lot of creative messiness. With our first cohort of grantees, we thought it was important to get their feedback.

So we looked for the right way to do that, and the Center for Effective Philanthropy was offering a good way of benchmarking against other foundations. The GPR removed some of the bias that you’re likely to get if you carry out a survey yourself, and it provided a very clear and loud set of voices for us to act on.

Read the full interview about grantee feedback and effective change by Ethan McCoy at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.