Funders demanding more metrics

Krista Endsley
Krista Endsley

Grantmakers want more measures of success from nonprofits to show their impact, yet few nonprofits are happy with the way their own organizations manage grants, a new survey says.

Fifty-two percent of 438 customers of Sage North America in the U.S. and Canada who responded to an online survey in June said grantors are demanding more ” “impact measures” or “outcome measures” than they did two years ago, says Sage Nonprofit Insights, Q2 2011.

But only 17 percent of respondents are “very satisfied” with their own organizations’ grant-management processes.

“In the current competitive environment for grant funding, it’s clear that organizations are going to have to demonstrate accountability and show the value their organizations and programs bring to their communities,” Krista Endsley, senior vice president and general manager for nonprofit solutions at Sage, says in a statement. “Defining, budgeting and reporting on key success measures are critical to strong grant funding.”

Eighty-one percent of respondents say grantmakers want metrics that show their nonprofit’s success on financial accountability and stewardship, while 77 percent want metrics on number of constituents served, 57 percent on program quality from a participant perspective, and 57 percent on program sustainability.

Among respondents not very satisfied with the grant-management process, 37 percent cite a lack of integration, centralization and organization; 20 percent cite a lack of communication and collaboration; and 20 percent cite “tracking issues;” and 16 percent cite reporting issues.

Seventy percent of respondents say senior executives at their organizations are “very engaged” in the process for managing grants.

And 38 percent of respondents cast a “fairly wide net” in looking for funders, while 30 percent pursue only the “few, engaged funders who are totally aligned with their mission,” the survey says.

Of those who target an engaged funder for a multi-year application, 84 percent are either “very successful” or “somewhat successful.”

Respondents expect to receive the biggest share of their 2011 funding, or 47 percent, from government contracts and grants.

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