In May and June of 2013, the Wiregrass Foundation contracted with the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) to participate in the annual Grantee Perception Report (GPR) survey. Fifty (50) grantees (organizations awarded funds for the past two years) were asked to participate. 39 (78%) completed the survey. The CEP handled the process so that all responses were anonymous. The summary report compared our Foundation with 300 other participants nationwide. The feedback we received was very reaffirming, however, when compared to a selected peer group of foundations from the Southeast Region similar to us in fiscal size and mission, we saw a clearer picture of our strengths and our weaknesses.
Wiregrass Foundation STRENGTHS on the GPR
- Our impact on our local community (97th percentile)
- Our impact on the individual organizations (72nd – 93rd percentile; capital grant responders were strongest)
- How much we improved organizations’ ability to sustain the work started with our grant funds (99th percentile)
- Approachability of WF staff when problems occur (94th percentile)
- Responsiveness of Wiregrass Foundation staff (95th percentile)
Wiregrass Foundation WEAKNESSES on the GPR
- The communication of WF goals and strategies to our grantees (68th percentile)
- Our impact on the fields of education, health, et al (30th – 55th percentile)
- Our understanding of the social, cultural, and socio-economic factors affecting their organizations (36th percentile)
- Their perception that our evaluation and reporting processes are helpful to them (vs. solely to us) in strengthening their programs (49th percentile)
- Whether or not micro-grantees were treated fairly (35th percentile)
- How often we visit our micro-grantees (20th percentile)
- Most grantees do not believe that the Wiregrass Foundation can help them with capacity building in critical areas: developing programmatic strategies, using technology to increase effectiveness, developing and training board members, attracting and retraining qualified staff, managing finances. (This was a WF-specific question, so no percentile measure is available.)
A specific question placed in the survey by WF told us that most grantees do not believe that the Wiregrass Foundation can help them with capacity building in critical areas: developing programmatic strategies, using technology to increase effectiveness, developing and training board, members, attracting and retaining qualified staff, and managing finances. WF used this valuable advice and put together an action plan in 2014 to address as many of these issues as possible.
With an action plan in place, we…
- Pursued a high level of consistency in our major grantmaking – without losing flexibility;
- Built our evaluation process to yield better information for us AND our grantees by customizing reporting requirements to the grantee’s specific needs and expectations of their individual programs;
- Held grant agreement meetings that allowed more input from the grantee on data and timelines to help strengthen their project while maintaining our need for summative information;
- Kept Micro-Grants simple, but also considered them as potential future project grantees; and,
- Developed a customized capacity building initiative accessible to our grantees.
Now, in May 2015, we will be asking our grantees to re-evaluate our performance as we contract with the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) and administer the annual Grantee Perception Report (GPR) survey. All survey results will be published as with the 2013 survey and an action plan to address critical areas will be put in place.
We look forward to working with each of our grantees in 2015!