Three Foundation Execs Give Inside Scoop on Grantee Feedback

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I often find myself facing a series of pretty consistent questions when I begin a conversation with one of the 47 percent of funders that a recent Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) survey found are not soliciting feedback from grantees.

  • “We’re not trying to make grantees happy. We have a strategy to create impact. So why are grantees’ perceptions really important?”
  • “Grantees are often just looking for another grant. Will their input actually be useful?”

I believe that my colleagues and I at CEP have good answers to those questions based on our work with hundreds of funders over the last decade.

But the stories of those already hearing from grantees are powerful. That’s why I’m delighted to share a very short video highlighting three funders — Barr Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Einhorn Family Charitable Trust — that have used CEP’s Grantee Perception Report (GPR) to solicit and act on grantee feedback.

I hope that you’ll take 180 seconds to hear from their perspectives about the power of grantee feedback, and that you’ll share this video with your colleagues. If you’re not collecting grantee feedback, I hope you’ll make a commitment to begin now. I’m always happy to talk about CEP’s experience; please don’t hesitate to contact me.


“The power dynamic that’s inherent in the grantmaker-grantseeker relationship is such that third-parties being able to gather this kind of data and information, and being able to share it with us in a way that’s digestible, that’s understandable, and that’s actionable — that’s an enormous contribution.”

“We have launched a targeted, general support initiative, in large part due to the evidence — the hard evidence — that CEP brought us.”

“For us to know how well we’re doing, we need to ask our partners. We’re not the ones doing the work on the ground. … It will tell you so much about what you’re doing on the ground. I can’t wait until we do it again. It will then give us the opportunity to say, ‘Did we actually improve?’”

Kevin Bolduc is vice president, assessment and advisory services, at CEP. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter at @kmbolduc.

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