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Grantee and Applicant Perception Reports

Grantees are a crucial link between funders and their intended impact. But given the power dynamic that is inherent in the funder-grantee relationship, seeking honest, actionable feedback is far from easy. The Grantee Perception Report® (GPR) provides funders with candid feedback and insights based on responses to an easy-to-implement online grantee survey. Insights gained through the GPR can also be complemented by the Applicant Perception Report (APR), a separate, shorter survey that gathers feedback from a funder’s declined applicants. Many foundations use these assessments together to identify what’s working – and what could be improved – in areas ranging from operational Read more





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Benchmarking Program Officer Roles and Responsibilities

In this report, the Center for Effective Philanthropy shares the results of a survey conducted in mid-2016 to gain a better understanding of the role of the program officer. The report provides a comprehensive collection of benchmarking data on topics ranging from the professional and educational backgrounds of program officers, to technical information about the structure of the program officer role, to program officers’ perspectives on certain aspects of their work, such as the funder-grantee dynamic.





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Shifting Winds: Foundations Respond to a New Political Context

CEP surveyed foundation leaders about their reactions to the shift in presidential administrations, and the degree to which they were making changes as a result. The report reveals that the reactions and responses of U.S. foundations to the shift in national political context vary widely, but most foundations are changing their practices or shifting their emphases.





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A Date Certain: Lessons from Limited Life Foundations

This report illustrates the ways in which limited life foundations approach spending down in nine key areas, including investing, grantmaking and strategy, and communications. The results show that most leaders of limited life foundations choose to spend down because of the belief that it will lead to greater impact. And though these foundations’ leaders wrestle with a similar set of issues in their work, the interviews revealed that there is no one way to spend down.





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What Role Should Philanthropy Play in Local Communities?

This blog post asks, “What obligations — if any — do foundations and new donors have to local communities in which they are based? And what role should they play in addressing rising income inequality?” The authors believe that foundations have some obligation to the places where their donors have lived and built their companies, and that they should also help the least well off.  





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What Donors Value: How Community Foundations Can Increase Donor Satisfaction, Referrals, and Future Giving

To better understand how community foundations can best respond to the current environment, CEP asked donors about how satisfied they are with the community foundations with which they work. What matters most to them? What do these donors want from their community foundations? The research reveals that donor satisfaction is vital for community foundations. Donors who are more satisfied with their community foundation are more likely to indicate that they plan to continue giving and more likely to recommend the foundation to others. The data also show that the strongest predictors of donor satisfaction are donors’ sense of the foundation’s Read more





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Employee Empowerment: The Key to Foundation Staff Satisfaction

This report is based on survey responses from 1,168 staff members at 31 foundations. The surveys were conducted from 2007 to 2011 as part of CEP’s Staff Perception Report (SPR), which analyzes feedback from foundation staff about their work experiences and views of the foundation’s overall operations. Employee Empowerment combines quantitative analysis of those surveys and in-depth interviews with key staff from two foundations who received high marks from their staff on their recent SPRs: The Skillman Foundation and The Commonwealth Fund.





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Benchmarking Foundation Evaluation Practices

Developed in partnership with the Center for Evaluation Innovation (CEI), Benchmarking Foundation Evaluation Practicesis the most comprehensive data collection effort to date on evaluation practices at foundations. The report shares data points and infographics on crucial topics related to evaluation at foundations, such as evaluation staffing and structures, investment in evaluation work, and the usefulness of evaluation information.





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The Future of Foundation Philanthropy: The CEO Perspective

Based on the perspectives of more than 200 foundation CEOs collected through in-depth interviews and responses to a survey from May to June of 2016, The Future of Foundation Philanthropy: The CEO Perspective captures foundation leaders’ views on challenges and concerns about the changing landscape in which they work, practices they believe to hold the most promise for helping foundations reach their potential, and the most pressing issues that will influence foundation philanthropy in the coming years.





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Benchmarking Foundation Governance

There are lots of questions out there about foundation governance. Yet there has been little data about foundation boards’ structures and practice. In surveying foundation CEOs as part of a larger benchmarking study, CEP worked closely with BoardSource to design and include questions related to governance to collect and bring to light new data on foundation boards. Benchmarking Foundation Governance shares data and infographics on crucial topics related to foundation governance — including composition, member expertise, structure, involvement, and characteristics of meetings.  





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Big Issues, Many Questions

What it takes for a foundation to be effective is difficult to master, yet timeless. At the same time, however, there are current trends that foundation leaders and boards must pay attention to if they want to be as effective as possible. In this essay, Big Issues, Many Questions, CEP President Phil Buchanan explores the five most pressing issues facing U.S. foundations in 2016. From growing dissatisfaction with the so-called establishment to embracing collaboration and aligned action, these are the trends that foundation CEOs and boards cannot overlook or ignore.





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Sharing What Matters: Foundation Transparency

The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) examined the perspectives of foundation CEOs and learned that there is much agreement on the audiences for their transparency efforts. Foundation CEOs also agree about what they believe is the most important information to share with those audiences.





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Key Findings of More than Money: Making a Difference with Assistance Beyond the Grant

Vice President-Research Ellie Buteau, PhD shares key findings from CEP’s research on nonmonetary support. “More than Money: Making a Difference with Assistance Beyond the Grant” was released in 2008, and is available for free download at www.effectivephilanthropy.org.





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Justin Laing on Successful Foundation-Grantee Relationships

Justin Laing, program officer at the Heintz Endowments, is one of the high-performing program officers profiled in the Center for Effective Philanthropys research report, “Working with Grantees: Keys to Success and Five Program Officers Who Exemplify Them.” Through this research, CEP identified four keys to strong funder-grantee relationships. In this conversation with PhilanthroMedias Susan Herr, Laing discusses these keys and how they are put to use in his daily work.





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Gill Foundation: Strategically Funding the LGBT Civil Rights Movement

Former Gill Foundation Executive Director Rodger MacFarlane describes Gill’s strategic approach to funding the LGBT civil rights movement. He shares details of the Foundation’s strategic planning process and subsequent restructuring to better serve its grantees and advance its mission. This video was produced by CEP to complement the Gill Foundation case study in CEP’s 2007 report on foundation strategy, “Beyond the Rhetoric: Foundation Strategy.”