There is a vast chasm between the perspectives of foundation and nonprofit leaders when it comes to the state of investing in the people who make up grantee organizations.

The Center for Effective Philanthropy’s Strengthening Grantees study compares how foundation and nonprofit leaders rate the need to strengthen various organizational capacity functions, such as governance, fundraising, and communications, at nonprofit organizations.

“Leadership” is among the six areas of grantee organizations that most commonly need strengthening that were most commonly mentioned in foundation and nonprofit CEOs’ responses to CEP’s survey. However, “leadership” was only mentioned by 20 percent of nonprofit CEOs (sixth most), while it was mentioned by 31 percent of foundation leaders (fourth most).

In comparison to leadership, “staffing” is considered a high need among nonprofit CEOs, mentioned by 37 percent of nonprofit CEO respondents, second only to fundraising. Yet it does not appear at all among the top six issues most commonly mentioned by funders.

This lack of concern for staffing merits closer attention.

To shift this dynamic, I offer funders the following five recommendations for consideration:

  1. Understand the difference in perceived needs.
  2. Acknowledge the value of all grantee staff.
  3. Ensure a robust talent pool.
  4. See grantee organizations as a workplace.
  5. Have the end in mind — but start at the beginning.

Read the full article about support grantees’ staff by Rusty Stahl at The Center for effective Philanthropy.