The results of our Grantee Perception Reports have consistently given us a necessary pause in the course of doing business. They sometimes affirm our self-perception as a foundation and at other times challenge or surprise us. They always urge us to take stock, calibrate between our intentions and the result, and find new ways to be the grantor we aspire to be. We are grateful for the honest and thoughtful feedback grantees take the time to give us and look forward to enhancing our practices and implementing change where we can.
We made significant improvement in the dimensions we focused on since our 2010 report – impact, interaction, and communication. The results show we have an even stronger understanding of the fields where we fund, that we have increased our responsiveness, and have become substantially clearer in the mechanisms and content of our communications. We have been very deliberate in our efforts to move the needle on these dimensions, and while encouraged by the results, we will continue to focus on these areas as our efforts to date have greatly enhanced our grantmaking practices, both internally and externally.
We interact with grantees less frequently than the typical funder. Since our inception, Blue Shield of California Foundation (the "Foundation") has operated with a lean program staff in proportion to the volume of grants we make. This philosophy is coupled with a mandate to catalyze change in the fields we fund. With these tensions in mind, we concentrate our staff resources on maximizing the impact of our grantmaking, trusting our grant partners to lead the work they know best and to reach out to us when we can be of use. Our focus in our relationships with grantees will continue to be in providing resources, education, and convening opportunities. We are heartened that despite the low frequency of interactions, grantees indicate increased comfort in contacting us if a problem arises and as mentioned above, find us to be responsive.
The helpfulness of the Foundation's selection and reporting/evaluation processes to grantee organizations are areas where we rank below our peers. We have opted for a very streamlined online application and reporting process, which conversely ranks very high in other elements of the survey. We recognize that efficiency can create unintended distance in the grantor/grantee relationship. As we strive to strike a balance between being streamlined and being meaningfully interactive, we will look for ways to engage more fully. We are increasingly soliciting data in the application and reporting processes, which we will use to inform future grantmaking efforts. We will be doing more of this across our grantmaking as we foster a more explicit learning culture. In return, we commit to finding new mechanisms to share and engage around the information we collect with our grant partners and other key audiences.