The Packard Foundation strives to build respectful and effective relationships with our grantees. Our grantees are the experts, promoting change across our areas of longstanding commitment and passion. In an effort to continually improve these partnerships, we ask for our grantees’ feedback on the Foundation and our grantmaking processes so we can improve the way we work, and together, have the greatest possible impact.
Since 1996, the Packard Foundation has surveyed our grantees to help us become better grantmakers. And since 2004, the Foundation has engaged the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) to conduct a biennial grantee survey and prepare a Grantee Perception Report™ (GPR). This confidential survey contains a mix of quantitative and qualitative feedback on grantee perceptions of our performance, and compares our data with peer funders whose grantees were also surveyed. For the 2016 GPR, CEP reached out to all active grantees in 2015. 608 grantees completed the survey, giving us a 64 percent response rate.
2016 Grantee Perception Report Highlights
Overall, our grantees continued to have strong, positive perceptions of the Foundation across most measures. We continued to rate near the top quartile for impact on the field, and in the top half for impact on organizations, funder-grantee relationships, and transparency. Within our peer cohort of 21 foundations, we ranked highest on being open to ideas from grantees about our strategy.
There were areas where our measures declined in 2016 and your feedback shows where we need to continue our efforts for improvement and rethink our approach:
- The helpfulness of our reporting and evaluation processes was rated particularly low. The purpose of reporting and evaluation processes is not only to monitor the use of resources, but to learn from our grantees’ efforts about what works and how contexts are shifting. We use these insights to inform and adapt strategies, so together, we can be as effective as possible. We are taking a close look at our reporting guidelines and the extent to which we have meaningful discussions about grantee reports after submission. We are also considering more efficient and useful ways to collect final report data and foster shared learning.
- When asked how the Foundation can improve, one of the most prevalent themes was to increase the length of grants. The desire for increased grant length was also raised in the 2014 GPR. Our grant duration tends to be shorter than the average of foundations our size. We know multi-year grants allow organizations greater flexibility and more accurate budget forecasting. Since receiving this feedback in 2014, we made a concerted effort to structure our grant budget and processes to allow for more multi-year grants. From 2014 to 2016, our percentage of multi-year grants is projected to have increased by seven percent, to 37 percent of our total grants. We are continuing to look at ways to increase the proportion of longer grants.
We value this regular check-in with grantees and take your feedback seriously. It helps us improve the way we work and be good stewards of every philanthropic dollar we spend. We have shared and discussed the results with our Board of Trustees, our senior management team, and with staff across the Foundation. We will continue to use the GPR results to inform ongoing improvement efforts.
Please contact us if you have any questions or comments about this survey, its results, and our efforts to learn from them. We thank all of our grantees who participated in this effort.