Developing Effective Grantmaking Practices for Greater Community Impact

Laurie Fisher and Danielle M. Reyes May 2017

The Crimsonbridge Foundation joined over 160 grants management staff representing 135 foundations to learn about grantmaking best practices and explore the latest technological innovations in grants management at the 2017 Foundant Technologies’ Summit in Leesburg, VA this month.

The Summit is a national user conference, designed to help foundation staff learn, share, and connect with Foundant professionals as well as other grantmakers from 43 states around the country. Effective grantmaking and the ability to evaluate and measure impact is key to a foundation achieving its mission and operating as a valuable community partner. With this in mind, the two and a half day conference included sessions, workshops, and Learning Labs – providing practical tools to help foundations maximize the impact of their grantmaking and make their grantees’ lives easier (!) through improved streamlining of grant workflows, building collaborative communication channels, reinforcing smart and simple outcomes, and learning about new tools to collect and utilize data to facilitate effective reporting.

Foundant Summit 2017 partners included Exponent Philanthropy, Peak Grantmaking, GuideStar and PFK O’Connor Davies, who all contributed their expertise and perspectives on challenges and opportunities in today’s philanthropic sector.

Henry Berman, CEO of Exponent Philanthropy, a national foundation membership association with nearly 2,000 members, challenged participants to take steps to maintain “forward thinking” and “achieve true impact investing.”

These words resonated with Crimsonbridge’s grants manager, Laurie Fisher. “It’s important to make full use of the tools and technology available to us,” said Fisher “in order to make the grant process as efficient and seamless as possible for both the foundation and nonprofit grantees, to evaluate and share what we learn, and to achieve greater impact in the community.”

As Foundant celebrates 10 years of supporting communities through effective grantmaking, it is clear to the sector that effective grants management is not a quick fix, but an ongoing process built on regular communication between all parties, a willingness to adapt to new technologies, and a continuing dialogue on feedback and lessons learned. #FoundantSummit2017