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Sharing Our Foundation’s 2022 CEP Grantee Perception Report Results

In Spring 2022, the Heising-Simons Foundation engaged The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) to conduct a Grantee Perception Report (GPR), a confidential survey of Foundation grantees designed to help us continue to improve as a funder and a partner. This was the Foundation’s first time participating in the GPR.

Today, we wanted to provide an update on the GPR survey results and how we plan to use this data to continue to improve in the months and years ahead. 

Summary of results
The survey, which was voluntary and anonymous, was conducted in May and June of 2022 and gathered a 57 percent response rate. Questions were meant to shed light on a variety of important aspects of our work, from our grantmaking practices to how we interact and communicate with grantee partners. These are some of the key takeaways:

  • Grantees indicated opportunities for the Foundation to improve the clarity of its goals and strategies, its selection criteria process, and a deeper understanding of how a grantee’s work fits into the Foundation’s broader efforts.
  • Grantees also indicated opportunities to deepen grant partnerships by engaging grantees in discussions about assessing success, and inviting grantees to provide input into the Foundation’s strategy for the program area from which they received funding.
  • Overall, grantees recognize the Foundation’s strong understanding of the fields in which grantees work, including efforts to create connections and synergies amongst different partners.
  • Grantees also perceive the Foundation as having a deep understanding of their organizations’ goals and strategies; the challenges they are facing; and the social, cultural, or socioeconomic factors that affect their work.
  • Overall, grantees’ perceptions of the Foundation’s impact on their organizations are similar to those of a typical funder. However, there are differences in these ratings across program areas.
  • The Foundation received higher than typical ratings across most measures related to interactions with grantees, including the extent to which the Foundation exhibits responsiveness, openness, trust, compassion, and respect, as well as grantees’ comfort approaching Foundation staff if a problem arises.
  • Grantees reported receiving a larger amount of grant money per hour spent on Foundation processes (such as grant application, monitoring, and evaluation) compared to grantees of most other funders in CEP’s dataset––suggesting efficiency in our grantmaking processes.

How We’re Using This Data
For areas where grantees rated the Foundation positively, the Foundation is working internally to systematize the approaches and values that led to those results, most notably by:

  • Engaging grantees throughout the grant period;
  • Considering general support and multi-year grants when possible;
  • Conducting site visits; and,
  • Making connections to other peers, potential funders, or organizational support resources.

For areas where grantees rated the Foundation less positively, the Foundation is working internally to improve the following practices:

  • Where staff capacity allows, including grantee perspectives in program strategy planning, and discussing more regularly with grantees how they plan to assess the results of their funded work; and,
  • Identifying ways to support staff in communicating with grantees more clearly and frequently about the Foundation’s strategies and goals, selection process criteria, and how grantees’ work aligns with the Foundation’s broader efforts.

In addition to working internally to address the action items above, the Foundation plans to engage CEP to conduct this survey again in a few years, in order to track results over time.

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