How can funders work better with grantees to meaningfully assess impact? How do funders’ varying styles and funding approaches affect successful impact evaluation?
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Be clear about expectations and responsibilities of grantees once in the portfolio e.g., with regards to reporting, evaluation, and expected duration of support.
Give sufficient time to develop an impact measurement framework that a grantee is comfortable with, e.g., consider allocating time at the beginning of a grant term to dedicate to working on co-designing indicators that are outcome-driven and aligned with the grantee organization’s strategy.
Be explicit about the purpose of grant reporting and where possible offer guidance and options around formats.
Proactively talk with grantees about how reporting can better fit into their existing workflow and improve their organizational health.
Provide timely feedback on reports provided by grantees.
Invite grantees to propose metrics or impact measurement frameworks that best reflect their strategy, impact model, and desired outcomes.
Where possible, align metrics with organizations’ existing frameworks for monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL), and where organizations lack a coherent MEL framework, consider offering support in building out MEL within the organization (as part of the grant or in the form of portfolio support).
Where possible, identify an opportunity to sync impact measurement and reporting across co-funders to alleviate the burden on grantees.
Create processes for gathering and incorporating organizational feedback on metrics over the course of the funding period and offer flexibility with how metrics are structured and used.
When expecting to transition a grantee out of your portfolio, specify a “ramp down” time period, during which grantees have time to adjust to the changes in their finances and plan for the months and years ahead.
Consider inviting organizations to do an exit interview or survey at the end of a grant or the funding relationship to collect meaningful feedback on their experience.
Build in more opportunities for iterative feedback and learning with grantees.