The nonprofit sector is hugely diverse. Nonprofits come in many sizes and structures, with different purposes, approaches, contexts, strategies, issue areas, and communities served. Yet nonprofit leaders agree on a lot — including the improvements they would like to see foundations make to their grantmaking processes.

More than 20 percent of nonprofit CEOs identify opportunity for funders to improve foundation application, reporting, and evaluation processes. Here is what nonprofits want from their funders throughout grant processes:

Be more transparent. Nonprofit CEOs see room for funders to set and communicate expectations more clearly and transparently, especially when it comes to process requirements.

To staff at foundations, we want to offer some discussion questions to consider as you reflect on these suggestions and think about where you can improve your processes in ways that can help you and your grantees:

  • Where can you communicate more clearly and transparently to help find nonprofits whose work is most aligned with what you’re hoping to achieve and how you’re hoping to achieve it? Where can you set clearer expectations about timelines, requirements, and decisions?
  • Where can you simplify and streamline your processes to make them commensurate with grant size and reduce the transactional costs for both you and nonprofits? For a great starting point, check out the many examples of streamlining shared as part of PEAK Grantmaking’s Project Streamline.
  • In what ways can you communicate more with grantees about applications, reports, and evaluations, including offering feedback to declined applicants?

Read the full article about foundation processes by Naomi Orensten at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.