Current grantees in the Foundation’s four main program areas are eligible to apply for Organizational Effectiveness (OE) grants for individual organizations.
These grants support projects that focus on building strong leadership, effective management and governance, and continuous learning and improvement by engaging outside consultants who provide guidance on a specific capacity building project. OE projects invest in the infrastructure and leadership of the organization or network rather than on a specific program area.
**Important Notice**: The COVID-19 crisis is directly impacting the operations of most of our grantee partners. We aim to be flexible in our requirements and support as we and our grantee partners navigate through this time. The standard approach to OE grantmaking is described below—during this time, however, we are adjusting our processes to respond to grantee needs. We welcome conversations with current and potential OE grantees about how we can accommodate COVID-19-related challenges in the proposal process and awarded projects.
OE grant projects can focus on a wide variety of topics, including:
- Individual and team leadership: leadership development, management training, executive coaching, executive search/succession planning, personal and organizational resilience, and board development
- Organization-wide planning and development: organizational assessment, strategic planning, business planning, fund development planning, capital campaign planning, HR and performance management systems, financial and budget systems development, gaining a deeper understanding of the financial situation and cost structure of the organization
- Equity, diversity, and inclusion: assessment, planning, training, or other capacity-building focused on increasing staff/board/beneficiary diversity, centering equity within organizations, and creating more inclusive policies and practices
- Network development: network strategic planning, governance, peer learning communities, and mergers
- Communications: strategic communications planning, crisis communications planning, marketing and brand strategy
- Evaluation and learning planning: organization-wide evaluation and learning planning, including projects that develop a learning culture or system; planning for beneficiary voice, constituent voice, and feedback loop design projects
- Digital and physical security: projects that plan for systems and processes to increase organizational security in the face of threats
The following are generally not considered OE projects:
- Financial audits
- Tuition for degree programs
- Evaluation research, reporting, and publication/dissemination
- Recurring staff training expenses
- Website design and updates
- Technology upgrades or purchase of other capital equipment
- Projects that focus on one programmatic area of the organization
How to Get Support
Organizations receiving funding through the Local Grantmaking Program should contact their primary Local Grantmaking program officer or firstname.lastname@example.org directly for details on OE grant opportunities.
Grantee organizations receiving funding from Conservation and Science, Reproductive Health, and Children, Families, and Communities should send an email to email@example.com with a paragraph describing the type of project you are interested in pursuing or contact your primary program officer.
Following your email inquiry, an OE team member may request a conversation to learn more about your intended project. If we are not able to support your project, we will let you know by email. We aim to support as many projects as possible, but since demand for these funds is high, not all inquiries can be funded.
If your request moves ahead in the process, OE staff may ask you to answer some questions in a letter of inquiry (LOI). The purpose of the LOI is to ensure that there is alignment between your plans for the project and OE’s funding criteria before you dive into the details of finding consultants and developing detailed workplans and proposals.
If you are asked to provide a LOI, it should briefly answer these questions in a 2-3 page document:
- What changes or opportunities have generated your organization or network’s interest in focusing on leadership, management, and organizational issues at this time?
- What would be the intended outcomes of the project? In other words, what do you hope that the project will accomplish?
- How will the project support your organization or network in meeting its overall goals and programmatic objectives? How do you see this project enhancing the long-term effectiveness of your organization or network?
- Who from your organization’s staff and board has made the commitment to lead the project if funding is secured? If you want to invest in a network, which members of your network champion this project, and how?
During the review process, Organizational Effectiveness staff will consult with your primary Foundation program officer to seek additional input. If you receive an invitation to submit a full proposal, you will be asked to:
- Identify the consultant with whom you wish to work and provide their resume or bio,
- Work with the consultant to develop a detailed workplan for the project, and
- Develop an overall budget for the project, including your best estimate of the time your staff will spend working with the consultant and any other associated costs.
These materials will constitute the core of your request and will be reviewed by Organizational Effectiveness staff before a final funding recommendation is made. If it is helpful to you, OE staff can provide resources to help you find and select an appropriate consultant.
If you have questions about the process, please contact the OE team at firstname.lastname@example.org.