Oak Foundation values learning and continuously improving our practices. As a general principle, we conduct extensive programme evaluations every five years, which we regularly share through our website. We also conduct a Grantee Perception Survey (GPS) through the Center for Effective Philanthropy every five years. The results of the GPS are provided to us in a Grantee Perception Report (GPR). This report provides anonymous and comparative data to help us respond to the needs of our grantees. In 2015 we conducted our second GPS. This time around, 454 grantees responded to the survey, representing an impressive 77 per cent response rate. Thus we are confident that the results are a true representation of how our partners perceive us -- and we are developing follow-up plans on that basis. We have successfully responded to the suggestions made five years ago concerning the strengthening of our efforts in areas related to capacity building and organisational sustainability. Over 51 per cent of our partners report receiving one or more types of capacity building support, a significant increase over 2011. There remains a desire for more of this support, particularly in the areas of fund-raising and resource mobilisation.
- We continue to be seen as knowledgeable in the fields in which we work, responsive to the needs of partners (particularly those working in challenging fields and/or environments) and flexible in the types of funding we provide. We have tripled our core funding in the last five years and also increased the duration of our grants.
- Our grant-making processes continue to be perceived as lengthy and complex. Partners wonder whether we use all the information we ask for and would like more "real-time" information on where they are in the approval process. This is especially the case for partners receiving repeat grants from Oak.
- While the quality and transparency of our public communications channels are appreciated (e.g., the website and annual report), there are many suggestions on how we could improve our communications with partners, both individually and collectively. These include: greater consistency in our messages on key issues (especially related to grant-making processes); more regular sharing of and input into our strategies and learning; and smoother handling of staff transitions. Partners would like to know more about the lessons and knowledge gleaned from our contacts, networks and progress reports; they feel that more regular, two-way interaction would be beneficial for all involved.
Over the next several months we will be considering how best to respond to the GPS results. In particular, we will:
- continue to develop our capacity building efforts as well as maintain our commitment to flexible and multi-year funding;
- consider ways to make our grant-making processes clearer and, where appropriate, more efficient; and
- improve the quality and consistency of our communications on grant-making processes, learning and programme strategies.