Issue 7: Learning and Evaluation

category header

This issue of GMNsight is co-produced by GEO (Grantmakers for Effective Organizations)

GEO’s 2014 national survey of staffed foundations reported that more than 75 percent of grantmakers evaluate their work. It’s an uplifting indicator that analyzing a grants team’s successes and failures is moving away from the “stack of reports on a shelf” style, and into an era that encourages blurring the lines of team roles that once existed in siloes.

Another recent survey, this one by GMN, shows how much this new focus is needed. In the GMN survey, the vast majority of grantmakers responding stated that their boards didn’t “get” the connection between how grants were structured and their ultimate success. Nearly half believed that their CEOs lacked a firm grasp of this connection possibly because, as many reported, their organizations do not engage grants management in leadership conversations or discuss grantmaking practices at the board level or during staff meetings.

The good news: new technology and processing efficiencies are allowing grants managers to move beyond data management and form the hub of information and learning in their organizations, breaking down the barriers that previously existed between program staff, grantmakers and other key players on the foundation bench.