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August 2, 2023

What We Learned from the Grantee Perception Report

Humanity United commissioned a Grantee Perception Report (GPR) to gather feedback from grantee partners on our performance and our relationship with their organizations. Here’s what we learned.

In line with our commitment to ongoing learning and feedback, Humanity United commissioned a Grantee Perception Report (GPR) to gather feedback from grantee partners on our performance and our relationship with their organizations. The survey was conducted by the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP), and maintains a mix of quantitative and qualitative responses, benchmarked against our peer funders. Our survey also included grantees of Humanity United Action, our 501(c)(4) policy and advocacy sister organization.

CEP previously surveyed grantees of Humanity United in 2011. In the years since, much has changed at HU including new leadership, a recently adopted organizational strategy, and a deepened commitment to trust-based philanthropy and diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ). As such, our 2022 results represent a new benchmark for Humanity United.

We’re extremely grateful to our partners who took the time to complete the survey and provide us with candid feedback. We received a response rate of 64 percent. While we are still in the process of internal sensemaking and development of key actions, we are committed to responding to the feedback and invite you to join us on this journey. Today we share what we’ve learned, along with highlights of our internal work underway so far.

What We Learned

We were pleased to see that grantees’ ratings of Humanity United’s intentional interactions and relationships with grantees were in the top 20 percent of CEP’s comparable dataset. The quality, frequency, and intentionality of our interactions with grantees, understanding of the social, cultural and socioeconomic factors that affect our grantees’ work, and our openness to be a resource and support to them were affirmations of how we work in accompaniment with our partners – a key pillar of our organizational strategy. We received positive feedback as well on how effectively we engage with our grantees in the selection and reporting process, and we acknowledge we can do better as it relates to clarifying the pre-proposal process.

We also learned that we can do better in our grantmaking. The strongest theme in grantees’ written feedback was the request for more unrestricted support and more multi-year grants. We also rated lower than our peers on the clarity and consistency with which we communicate information on our goals and strategies.

Another area of feedback we wish to understand more deeply is related to DEIJ – an organizational core value. While we received typical results for the degree to which Humanity United staff demonstrate a commitment to DEIJ, there were some consistent differences in grantee partner experience by gender.

How We’re Responding

We’re deeply committed to acting on our GPR results and are taking steps internally to ensure there is a common understanding of CEP’s findings and how we can fully respond to recommendations. We are commissioning an additional body of work with CEP to dig deeper and better understand the difference in feedback by gender. We have actively incorporated GPR feedback into the implementation and communication of new portfolio strategies. And teams are creating dedicated time to reflect on how we can improve communications, transparency, and reciprocity of learning as well as how to document and continue those best practices that have contributed to incredibly positive results – such as the strength of our relationships.

At Humanity United, we are committed to an ongoing process of learning and growth. As such, we are taking time to be thoughtful on how we fully respond to CEP’s recommendations and will share more detail in the near future. We also envision the GPR as an ongoing practice, not a one-off, and we hope that when you see our next communication it will reflect our commitment to responding in the fullest sense to the candid feedback we received. Our goal is that the next GPR shows even greater improvements.

Please see this link to review a guide to Humanity United and Humanity United Action’s 2022 Grantee Perception Report key findings.

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