A Note From Phil Buchanan:
With another successful national conference behind us, we’re forging ahead on a variety of fronts, as you can see below. We’ve added a terrific new board member, published a first-of-its-kind guide for program staff, and are delivering comparative feedback from grantees via our new online reporting system—even as we prepare for the September round of surveys. On a broader scale, our staff and board are hard at work on our next strategic plan. Looking over the philanthropic landscape, we see progress on many fronts—and opportunities to do even more. We look forward to sharing our plan in the fall of 2013.
Build Better Relationships With Your Grantees
No matter the size of your foundation, you rely on grantees to carry out your mission. CEP’s research shows that program staff play a critical role in developing the effective relationships you need to work with these critical partners. Our latest publication, Working Well With Grantees: A Guide for Foundation Program Staff (pdf), draws on years of our research and data from tens of thousands of surveys of nonprofits to help you build these key relationships.
The guide covers five essential areas where your program staff can have a positive impact on grantees:
- forming strong relationships
- providing assistance beyond the grant
- offering operating support
- creating a reporting and evaluation process that helps grantees
- preserving relationships while declining funding requests
The analysis of each topic includes insights from highly rated program officers and foundations, as well as ideas to consider and questions to ask. This fall, we’ll be offering a webinar for program staff to help put these insights to work at their foundation—stay tuned.
We’re thrilled to announce that Tiffany Cooper Gueye, CEO of BELL, joined our board of directors on July 1. Tiffany started at BELL in 1998 and has served in a variety of roles, including program manager, director of evaluation, and chief operating officer, field operations. Through her leadership, BELL’s models and evaluation methods have been nationally recognized as best practices in expanded learning programs.
2013 Conference Wrap Up
Our 2013 conference was a great success, thanks to our sponsors, those who shared their expertise and experience from the stage, and all of you who took time out of your schedule to talk about pursuing results. This comment from our post conference survey sums it up best:
“People genuinely wanted to be there to learn together and the spirit of free inquiry and honest reflections is refreshing.”
If you missed the conference, or you want to review some of the plenary sessions, we’ve posted videos and materials on our website.
And while we’re still excited about the conversations this conference has sparked, we’re already looking ahead at our next conference in 2015.
Online Reporting System
Foundations using CEP’s Grantee Perception Report and Donor Perception Report can now explore their results in greater detail, thanks to our new online reporting system. Using the latest online survey and reporting technology, CEP can do more than ever to gather and analyze results by categories of grantees or donors you find most meaningful, while giving you control to change the comparative data you display for each question. Watch a four-minute demo of the new system to see how it can provide you with more direct access to and control over your data.
Study Shows CEP Donor Perception Report Influences Change at Community Foundations
We’re big believers in listening to feedback, and we’re always excited when a foundation makes public the results of a survey it has done with us. So we are doubly pleased to share a new third party assessment of our Donor Perception Report (DPR). As you can see, the findings suggest that the DPR—based on a comparative survey of donors—is very useful to a broad range of community foundations. In particular, we learned that community foundations are using DPR data to change and improve their work with donors. CEP’s Grace Nicolette talks more about the findings in her blog post here.
Valerie Threlfall, YouthTruth Pioneer
After recently working as a consultant to YouthTruth, founding director Valerie Threlfall is starting a new career as a free-lance consultant to nonprofits and foundations. During her more than four years leading YouthTruth, Val was both a visionary leader and a hands-on builder whose contributions cannot be overstated. When she joined CEP in 2008, YouthTruth was nothing but an idea about the importance of listening to beneficiary feedback. Today, YouthTruth has surveyed over 200,000 students from 288 schools across 35 districts and networks nationwide. Thank you, Val.
Time to Gather Critical Feedback from Grantees, Staff, and Donors
There’s still time for foundations to join our September round of surveys for grantees, staff, and donors. Contact a tools manager today to learn more.
Highlights From the CEP Blog
CEP board member Jim Knickman explored whether the New York State Health Foundation was really taking risks or just playing it safe and shared his foundation’s guide to risk taking.
CEP’s Phil Buchanan and Aaron Dorfman from NCRP argued that “strategy” isn’t a bad word, it’s a necessity—even when it comes to social-change movements.
Caitlin Stanton from Urgent Action Fund argued that it’s time for ‘RISKY’ goals, not just ‘SMART’ ones.
Carol Ting from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation talks about the importance of sharing power with your grantees when you work at a foundation.
Finally, Phil Buchanan shares his thoughts on the debate about nonprofit overhead.