Grant Evaluation, Proposal Review and Site Visits

About this collection: Family foundations are in business to make a difference. This NCFP Content Collection focuses on techniques available for assessing and evaluating the results of your giving, as well as tips, strategies, and sample policies regarding grant evaluation and site visits.

Family foundations are in business to make a difference. This NCFP Content Collection focuses on techniques available for assessing and evaluating the results of your giving, as well as tips, strategies, and sample policies regarding grant evaluation and site visits.

Grant Evaluation

Measuring What Counts: Meaningful Evaluation for Family Foundations

Passages Issue Briefs
Family foundations are in business to make a difference. As one family foundation leader put it, creating a family foundation is a “powerful statement about wanting to achieve impact.” Yet family foundations often get painted unfairly as not having impact, perhaps because they aren’t always very good at understanding …

The power of taking stock: 5 reasons to conduct evaluations

Article
Knowledge is power, as the saying goes, but I am not sure many foundations fully believe that. In the course of working with foundations across the country, I have made a somewhat surprising discovery: Many foundations grossly underestimate the importance of evaluating impact. This is unfortunate, because evaluation is both …

The Step-by-Step Guide to Evaluation

Report
The evaluation profession is multi-faceted and can be characterized partly by its theoretical debates, ethical considerations and proprietary interests. What is evaluation and how can it help your organization? This handbook is designed to demystify evaluation and help you get the most out of evaluation for your organization.

Establishing Grantmaking Interests and Priorities

Book Chapter
Grantmaking is the central activity of a family foundation or donor advised fund and the purpose for its existence. This chapter from 'Splendid Legacy' explores a wide range of issues that are likely to come up in your grantmaking - from developing guidelines to learning how to conduct effective site …

Impact and Outcomes: from Jargon to Meaning

Article
Ending homelessness. Improving school readiness. Preserving wildlife habitat. Impact statements can inspire and bring together partners, staff and funders around common, long-term goals that deserve focused efforts and resources.

Involving All The Players In Evaluation And Change

Article
This guide focuses on participatory action research (PAR), a widely used applied research methodology. As an evaluation approach, PAR offers grant makers opportunities to bring applied research and evaluation skills to those closest to the issues involved.

When And How To Use External Evaluators

Article
In the cycle of program planning by nonprofit organizations, evaluation is usually the last item on the agenda. There are many reasons for this. We all know that evaluation has negative connotations. It conjures up memories of the day we received our SAT results. It is associated with grades and …

Hiring an External Evaluator

Tool
Many organizations are reluctant to engage evaluation consultants. This guide can help demystify the process of hiring and partnering with an evaluator – so you can measure what matters.

Strategy and Evaluation: The Twin Engines of Effective Philanthropy

Article
This essay provides a fast-paced tour of grantmaker approaches, launching with the advent of long-range planning in the 1980s and visiting scenario planning, social return on investment, human-centered design, big data, and other developments that have influenced practice. The author lands on strategy and evaluation as the anchor approaches that …

Proposal Review

Best Practices for Assessing an Organization’s Wellness

Blog Post
The purpose of this guide is to provide tools to assess the general wellness and well-being of organizations that your foundation funds or seeks to fund. This guide considers financial well-being as well as other factors, such as mission alignment and outcome measurement. Although the guide focuses on financial-related information, …

Conducting Site Visits

Site Visit Rubric (Dodge Foundation)

Sample
A self-assessment tool used by the board of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to explore the goals, practices, and outcomes of site visits with the foundation's grantees.

Site visit guidance (O’Neill Foundation)

Sample
This memo from the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation provides guidance to organizations being visited regarding the purpose for these visits, along with suggestions for how to prepare for and create an effective agenda for this meeting.

How should our family foundation think about the use of site visits?

Article
The decision of whether and how to conduct site visits for some or all of your grantees is worth considering carefully. Initial questions to help frame your use of site visits include: Do we have specific goals for conducting site visits? Do we have the capacity to conduct site visits, …

Site Visits: a Tool for Effective and Engaged Donors

Article
Writing a check to a nonprofit is not in and of itself a particularly satisfying activity and it is only one step in getting the job done. There is no greater satisfaction than having some involvement with the organization you are helping to fund. Site visits accomplish this. Nothing beats …

Additional Sample Forms and Policies

Site visit report

Sample
Sample site visit report to help a funder evaluate and record a visit to a current or potential grantee.

Progress report form (Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation)

Sample
This form was developed by the North Carolina-based Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation for organizations that had previously received a grant from the Foundation and which are currently requesting an additional grant. The form is used in reviewing current applications and is meant to help bring the Foundation up to date …

Report and evaluation form (General Service Foundation)

Sample
This form was developed by the Colorado-based General Service Foundation for organizations that had previously received a grant from the Foundation and which are currently requesting an additional grant. The form is used in reviewing current applications and is meant to help bring the Foundation up to date on grantee …

Interim evaluation report (Meadows Foundation)

Sample
Interim evaluation report from the Texas-based Meadows Foundation, used to help grantees to track progress towards reaching the goals they have set, and to help them determine how to get back on track where necessary.

Grantee interim reporting form (Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation)

Sample
Interim evaluation report form from the North Carolina-based Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, used to help grantees to track progress towards reaching the goals they have set, and to help them determine how to get back on track where necessary.