Planning for Healthier Nonprofits through Increased Transparency
OpenNotes, an initiative that aims to make health care more transparent through open relationships between doctors and patients, serves as an imperfect, yet instructive model for how to strengthen relationships between funders and grantees.
Thinking about funder-grantee relationships, Kevin Bolduc, vice president of assessment and advisory services at the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP), explains how transparency is an asset for both:
If we want to improve funder-grantee relationships — not to mention capacity building and shared learning — what better to share than these summaries about why a grant should be funded and what the risks are in doing so? Even when grant recommendations contain worries about a particular risk — organizational capacity challenges or major external risks, for example — a direct, if difficult, conversation between a grantee and her program officer, prompted by an open note, could yield new ideas, clarifications, or opportunities for assistance.
Bolduc calls for an opening up of notes “in the form of the grant write-ups and recommendations created by program officers for boards or senior leadership” which in turn, he argues, will improve the quality of the conversations between funders and grantees.