Equipping nonprofits to advance social change

Ask Questions, First to Learn but Then to Act

Written by Sean Thomas-Breitfeld

This article was written for the Stanford Social Innovation Review as a part of their “Putting Grantees at the Center of Philanthropy" series, produced in partnership with Grantmakers for Effective Organizations. To read the full article, click here.

“When grantmakers go looking for feedback from their grantees, they can ask a lot of questions. But grilling grantees and listening to them are two different things, and the distinction is as much about intent as impact.

Sometimes grantmakers’ questions focus on day-to-day program administration or the metrics that stand in for impact on the ground. But while those kinds of questions are good and important, they can leave grantees feeling like they’re under a microscope—especially if they sense that future funding depends on their answers. Questions that move beyond process to the bigger picture of how a grantee works—such as the nature of the inequity that grantmakers and the grantee are partnering to address—can lead to a better sense of collaboration and co-learning. […]”

Read more about the importance of feedback and communication in grantmaker/grantee relationships in this blog post by Building Movement Project’s Co-Director Sean Thomas-Breitfeld. The post is part of a series which focuses on grantee inclusion and is produced in partnership by Stanford Social Innovation Review and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations.

Click here to read the full post.

Service and Social Change collaboration communication feedback grantmakers inclusion