Data Point: Foundations’ Information Needs vs. Nonprofits’ Needs

One of the key findings in our Room for Improvement report was that nonprofits want more help in their performance assessment efforts than they are currently receiving from their foundation funders.

For foundations, nonprofit effectiveness is critical: the extent to which foundations make a difference in society depends, in large part, on the effectiveness of the organizations they fund.

We surveyed the 300 nonprofit leaders who comprise CEP’s Grantee Voice panel about some of the issues they face in performance management. In addition to the fact that most nonprofits do not receive any financial or non-monetary help for performance measurement, nonprofits also said that their funders are more interested in focusing on assessment information that is useful to foundations than information that would be helpful to nonprofits.

More than half the nonprofit leaders we surveyed agreed that funders care more about performance information that is useful to the foundations than information that is useful to the grantees. Only 28 percent of nonprofit leaders disagree with this sentiment.

Not surprisingly, the more strongly nonprofits believe funders are prioritizing their own data needs over nonprofits’, the less helpful they find their funders to be to their organizations’ ability to assess its progress.


Ellie Buteau is Vice President of Research at the Center for Effective Philanthropy. You can find her on Twitter @EButeau_CEP.

goals, Grantee Voice, nonprofit sector, role of philanthropy
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