Focus our processes on learning and improvement. Many foundations ask grantees and prospective grantees to jump through hoops that take up too much of their precious time, are out of proportion to the size of the grants, and don’t produce valuable insights. We should be open to adopting the practices advocated for by organizations like Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (including those used by the Robert Sterling Clark and the Durfee foundations and the Krupp Family Foundation) to determine what information is most useful for driving the grantee and grant maker’s learning and improvement.
We should also follow the lead of Venture Philanthropy Partners, the Impetus Foundation, and Blue Meridian Partners in providing grantees with support for building the technology and human systems they need to collect and use that information well.
Too often, philanthropy lacks the accountability structures necessary to prompt growth and change. But critiques of concentrated wealth and power are growing into a loud crescendo — and Congress is listening. Let’s use this moment of converging crises to impose excellence upon ourselves for the long-term benefit of philanthropy, our own institutions, nonprofits, and the communities that need us more than ever.”