Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Too bad capacity building is passe

Funny quote from a small foundation:

The foundation I work for, along with every grantmaker I have spoken with, complain about the same thing - "The grant applications we have to review are horrible. Organizations don't follow directions!" About half of these horrible applicants get their grants. Even though we continually ask for what we need from charities to evaluate their requests, are we partly to blame for the problem of horrible applications?
My thoughts for the program officer:

(1) You are giving horrible applications grants. What have you just taught the grantee? Kinda like the parent that tells their kid "no" 5 times and then gives in. The kid just learned that the parent didn't mean it when they said no. Nonprofit know that the grant application is seldom the key determinant in whether you get a grant (see Larry Lessig's new work on corruption).

(2) How much money are you giving these grantees to improve their ability to respond to grant applications? If the answer is $0, then clearly this is not a problem you think is significant enough to invest in. Again the charity understands that the application isn't very important.

No comments: