Components of an Effective Donor-Grantee Relationship

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Summary

Developing an effective relationship with your grantees, one that each of you might honestly characterize as a partnership, is not all that different from developing any other healthy human relationship. It starts with some sort of common interest. It requires a willingness to understand the other person's point of view, to make the effort to see the world through his or her eyes. It is reinforced or undermined by the quality of your interactions.

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Developing an effective relationship with your grantees, one that each of you might honestly characterize as a partnership, is not all that different from developing any other healthy human relationship. It starts with some sort of common interest. It requires a willingness to understand the other person's point of view, to make the effort to see the world through his or her eyes. It is reinforced or undermined by the quality of your interactions.

An effective donor-grantee relationship has two major components:

1. A shared definition of success and strategically aligned goals

Invest time up front to define the results that will constitute success for your philanthropy and your strategy for achieving them. The more clarity there is on your part, the better—about your strategy and goals; about how and when go/no-go decisions will be made; about the milestones, outputs, and outcomes you expect to see; and about the administrative burdens required to comply with your application and reporting requirements.

2. Both parties must be realistic about what to expect from each other

Nothing in life is static, and relationships with grantees are no exception to this rule. The goals you jointly agreed to will likely evolve over time as the strategy is implemented. New information will emerge and new players will enter the picture, creating new needs for your grantees. While you will want to remain flexible, you should expect your grantees to keep you informed along the way.






 

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