At effective foundations, the how of grantmaking is everyone’s business.
When grantmakers think about their funding strategy, we often focus on where we will give, to what, and to whom. We think about the results we want our funding to spark or enable. But strategy is supported (or not) by operations: the way in which grantmaking programs are structured and how grants are introduced, applied for, screened, decided, made, monitored, reported upon, assessed, and learned from. These funder practices are what we call “the how.”
When practices align with strategy, they support the impact that the funder wants to have. When they are discordant, they undermine relationships and results. When — as is more common — practices are simply unexamined, grantmakers miss an opportunity to strengthen the effectiveness of their funding.