Earlier this month, thanks to our generous host, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, CEP led a deep dive with 35 foundation leaders in the United Kingdom into what constitutes a strong funder–grantee relationship, the power dynamic that comes into play in them, and the crucial role of program officers to overcome it.

Drawing from key findings in Relationships Matter: Program Officers, Grantees, and the Keys to Success, we discussed how CEP defines relationships based on five questions asked in our grantee survey on fairness, responsiveness, approachability, and clarity and consistency of communications.

These aren’t easy to get right. Our research finds that it takes transparency and a deep understanding of grantees and the context in which they work. Having the opportunity to think through and discuss how different foundations with different approaches focus on those crucial concepts is always an exciting and generative experience.

Even when your grantees report highly positively on the quality of your relationships, it’s not always easy to tell what you’re doing differently that leads to this positive experience. This is what Amanda Beswick, director of the housing and homelessness program at Oak Foundation, said during the workshop, sharing that she builds relationships with grantees very organically, carefully adapting her approach based on grantees’ differing needs and preferences.

Read the full article about funder-grantee relationships by Charlotte Brugman at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.