Tips for deepening funder-grantee relationships in 2018

Written by: Jack Rome

Date: January 04, 2018

A new year means new goals, new hopes and sometimes, a revitalized sense of purpose. At the beginning of the year, it’s important to both reflect and move forward, understanding that now is the time to welcome tips, wisdom and guidance from our peers. How can we grow in this upcoming year? What did we miss last year? How can we focus our efforts to be more effective?

As we think about these questions, we want to turn some attention to funder-grantee relationships. In 2018, what are some ways to deepen funder-grantee relations? NCRP staff members share their thoughts below:

“Often grantees and program officers communicate only in relation to pending proposals. You can break this pattern and deepen relationships by setting up regular phone calls outside of the proposal process. Pick a handful of key contacts, and plan to speak at regular intervals during the course of the year: monthly, quarterly, etc.”

– Dan Petegorsky, Senior Fellow and Director of Public Policy

“Stay in touch with your grantees throughout the year. And during those conversations ask, ‘How can we help?’

“Grantmakers have limited resources and their own internal and external constraints. But by asking grantees what they need while being transparent about what is and isn’t possible, these conversations can surface other ways that funders can help: connecting grantees to other nonprofits or donors doing related work, taking a public stance behind the issue your grantee is working on, sharing that grantee’s initiative on social media, covering the registration fee to leadership development opportunity and other ways of showing support.”

–Yna Moore, Senior Director of Communications

“A one-on-one up-close-and-personal lunch date with each grantee representative(s) at a restaurant of the grantee’s choice. Sharing a meal brings out the best in all of us. Sharing a meal in a neutral place removes some of the trappings of power and difference (fancy office, big desk, formal attire) and serves as a reminder of the simplicity and equality of the partnership, i.e., success cannot exist without each of the partners.”

– Beverley Samuda-Wylder, Senior Director of Human Resources and Administration

“Check out these three resources for building trust and transparency to strengthen relationships with grant partners: The Whitman Institute’s Nine Key Practices of Trust-Based Investment, Foundation Center’s GlassPockets Steps to Transparency tool and Project Streamline’s best practices to reduce burdensome grant requirements.”

– Lisa Ranghelli, Senior Director of Assessment and Special Projects

What are some tips you can think of to deepen funder-grantee relations in 2018? Does your organization have goals, aims or resolutions for the New Year? Let us know in the comments below!

Jack Rome is the communications intern at NCRP. Follow @NCRP on Twitter.