Tools You Can Use
Every Streamlining Champion needs some gadgets – tools of the trade that make it easier to assess current practice, identify issues, and make plans to move forward. The tools highlighted here will help make sure that your streamlining gets off to a great start. If you have recommendations for other useful resources, let us know!
If you haven’t surveyed your grantees about your practices, then there are many questions you can’t answer accurately about your impact on your nonprofit partners. Project Streamline considers input from grantees to be an essential part of developing a streamlining plan.
You can adopt the survey just as it is, use it with modifications, or just use it for inspiration. This sample survey includes questions that inquire about the following aspects of the grantmaking process:
- Clarity of instructions and explanations
- Professionalism and helpfulness of staff
- Effectiveness of online system
- Difficulty of budget template
- Amount of time it took to apply for and report on funding
- Elapsed time before receiving notification and funding
- Ease of making changes over the course of the grant
- Utility of reporting
- Suggested improvements to the process
This survey has been used by various funders to seek anonymous feedback from successful grantees and unsuccessful grantseekers. We recommend that you disseminate the survey through an online survey tool, such as Survey Monkey or SurveyGizmo (see Idealware’s 2011 article, “A Few Good Online Survey Tools” to read more about these tools). You could also use the survey questions to develop an interview guide for individual interviews or focus groups.
The Illinois-based Donors Forum offers a Nonprofit Cost Audit Tool and a Funder Cost Audit Tool. These spreadsheets can help funders understand the internal costs of completing a funding cycle. They can also help nonprofits understand the net grant amount they receive after completing grant requirements. The tools and instructions for their use can be found on the Donor’s Forum website.
The Project Streamline Grantmaker Assessment Tool is an online survey that generates a comparative report about your grantmaking processes.
This tool will enable you to compare your grantmaking processes to those of other funders, as well as to the principles described in the report, Drowning in Paperwork, Distracted from Purpose.
It will also help you to determine the costs of these processes to both your organization and your grantseekers.
Once you have completed the survey, you will be able to download a comparative report that you can use to stimulate discussion within your organization about current processes and opportunities for improvement.
Click here to access the tool.