2014 Grantee Perception Report

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compadresThe IAF has a long­standing commitment to hear, learn from and support people in Latin America and the Caribbean who are working to make their communities better places to live and work. In 2011 the IAF became the first federal agency to participate in the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s (CEP) grantee perception survey. To continue assessing our progress and improving as a donor partner to grassroots organizations we participated in the survey for a second time in 2014.

CEP’s Grantee Perception Report provides a funder anonymous feedback from grantees on a range of issues including the funder’s impact on grantees’ fields of activity, organizations and local communities; the quality of the funder­grantee relationship; the funder’s selection, reporting and evaluation processes; administrative burden; and non­monetary assistance. Because the report is based on a standardized survey, each funder can see how its grantees’ ratings compare with the ratings received by the other funders in CEP’s dataset. Since many of the funders who have participated in CEP’s surveys work only in the United States, together we also identified a smaller cohort who fund internationally.

Seventy percent of the active IAF grantee partners contacted responded to the survey. We particularly appreciate that so many took the opportunity to supplement their ratings with comments in their own words. This is enormously helpful as we internalize the feedback and review our procedures and practices.

Overall, our grantee partners rated the IAF positively when compared to CEP’s full dataset, as well as to other funders who work internationally. I am also pleased to report that our ratings have improved in a few areas that our grantee partners had highlighted three years ago. Here are a few findings that stand out:

Impact and Understanding of Grantee’ Fields
  • Impact on grantees’ fields. The IAF rated above 96 percent of all funders and higher than the entire cohort of international funders. We also received a slightly higher rating this time than three years ago.
  • Impact on grantees’ local communities. The IAF rated above 75 percent of all funders, higher than the entire cohort of international funders and significantly higher than three years ago.
  • Impact on grantees’ organization. The IAF rated above 93 percent of all funders, higher than the entire cohort of international funders and significantly higher than three years ago.
Funder-Grantee Relationships
  • Overall, the IAF rated in the 54th percentile of all funders, near the top of the cohort of international funders and slightly lower than three years ago. Ninety-seven percent of the IAF’s grantee partners reported having received a site visit, and this is something that many highlighted as an added value in working with the IAF.
  • Our grantee partners reported a high level of comfort approaching the IAF if a problem arises (the IAF’s rating was higher than 84 percent of all funders and higher than the entire cohort of international funders).

Grant Processes 

  • Once again, the IAF rated higher than all other funders for the helpfulness of its selection, reporting and evaluation processes in strengthening funded organizations or programs. Our rating this time was slightly higher than three years ago.
  • Ninety percent of the IAF’s grantee partners reported having a discussion with an IAF team member after submitting their reports. This is higher than 98 percent of all funders and the entire cohort of international funders. It is the same as reported three years ago, and again, many pointed to this as a positive aspect of working with the IAF.
Non-monetary Assistance
  • Three years ago, our grantee partners told us that they value opportunities to share experience and knowledge with other IAF grantee partners… and that they wanted still more! This time, 85 percent of respondents reported having participated in a grantee exchange in their own country (up from 58 percent three years ago), and 38 percent reported having participated in a grantee exchange across countries (up from 29 percent three years ago). Our grantee partners’ call for still more such opportunities, as well as tailored assistance on topics that are of common interest to many grantee partners.
While positive findings are always reassuring and gratifying, it is even more important to hear what we could do better. I want to point out a few findings, in particular, that have to do with our responsiveness, communications and the administrative burden associated with our funding:
  • The rating on the responsiveness of the IAF’s staff was slightly higher than three years ago, but still only at the 41st percentile of all funders and slightly above the median for the cohort of international funders. 
  • The IAF’s rating on consistency of communications was also slightly lower than three years ago and at the 39th percentile of all funders. It was well above the median for the cohort of international funders.
  • Our grantee partners report waiting for a long time for the IAF to make a clear commitment to funding. Thirty percent reported waiting more than 12 months. While this is less than three years ago (38 percent), we aspire to do better.
  • They also report spending rather a lot of time completing administrative requirements: 100 hours on the proposal and selection process and 27 hours per year on monitoring, reporting and evaluation processes. This is substantially more than the time reported by grantees of other funders, yet it only comes up a few times in your comments about how we could be a better funder. 
On behalf of the board and the staff of the IAF, I want to recognize and thank our grantee partners for their willingness to participate in this survey. We are pleased that their feedback confirms the IAF’s success in its core mission of improving the capacity of local civil society organizations to help their communities thrive, and that it validates the IAF’s long commitment to evaluation and results. We appreciate our grantee partners’ frank and thoughtful comments about how we could do even better. We will reflect on what we have heard and try to improve our operations accordingly.


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Robert N. Kaplan
President and CEO

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