After close to 15 years of philanthropic activity, in 2020 we decided to step back and open the door to our grantees’ candid feedback on our work and impact.
To do so, we commissioned the Center for Effective Philanthropy to conduct an anonymous, standardised Grantee Perception Survey.
The Survey covered multiple topics related to the project lifecycle and the Foundation’s role and relationship with its grantees, including the difficulties faced during the COVID-19 crisis and our response thereto. We were impressed and humbled by the stunning 83% response rate that the Survey received, representing the views of 38 partners.
This collaborative exercise has been highly constructive and has helped us to understand the strengths of the Trafigura Foundation, identify opportunities for improvement as well as formulate key questions for the future. Building on these findings, we are now taking concrete actions to improve our work and advance further in our commitment to serve our partners and their beneficiaries.
Main findings and our action plan
- Nurture a high level of trust and transparency in donor-grantee relationships. Our partners highly rated and appreciated the Trafigura Foundation’s fairness and responsiveness. Trust, transparent interaction, as well as compassion for our grantees’ beneficiaries emerged as important features of our relationship. We feel humbled by this feedback and we are committed to cultivating these qualities by maintaining a regular dialogue with all our grantees, proactively seeking their views and sharing the principles and priorities that underpin our work.
- Be flexible in times of crisis. Practicing a flexible approach to funding and reporting requirements revealed to be a key aspect of the relationship with our grantees during the COVID-19 crisis. This flexibility allowed them to adapt to the evolving context and focus all their efforts on supporting their beneficiary communities rather than on administrative processes. We will continue listening to and acting upon our partners’ requests, especially during emergencies that threaten their resilience and responsiveness.
- Improve the consistency of our communication and ensure the understanding of the Foundation’s mission and strategy. Our grantee respondents pointed to ambiguities in our communication concerning our mission and strategy and how we relate to our funder, the Trafigura Group. This is a crucial feedback for us, requiring swift action. By the end of 2021, we will design appropriate communication tools to ensure that our partners understand our priorities, modes of action, governance and agenda. Moreover, we will explore new channels of communication to seek an open and direct dialogue with our grantees at more strategic levels so that they can actively participate in the development of the Foundation’s work.
- Streamline time-intensive processes. Our partners rated us significantly higher than typical funders for the helpfulness of our reporting and selection processes. However, they also shared that our overall administrative and reporting requirements were more time-intensive than those required by the average donor. While we want to keep the learning value of our processes, we are weary of the burden that time-intensive processes can pose for our grantees. We are therefore reviewing them to adapt and streamline our requirements as appropriate. By the end of 2021 we will have simplified our templates, eased the reporting rhythm applying to grantees, and clarified the focus areas and priorities of our monitoring practice.
- Expand non-monetary support and unrestricted funding. The Survey revealed our grantees’ appetite to receive more non-monetary support (such as networking, specific technical advice, support on performance monitoring) and unrestricted funding. We will evaluate the cases and specific conditions in which these requests can be met to increase our partners’ long-term sustainability and capacity to achieve a wider impact. In the case of non-monetary support, we will define the most appropriate way to support our partners within the possibilities of the limited human resources that we have at our disposal. We will also leverage our founder’s pool of talents and expertise by connecting our grantees to local Trafigura’s offices and seeking their support for advisory and other services.
This action plan is just the beginning of an ongoing journey to improve our work. Once implemented, these measures will be assessed in their effectiveness before the end of 2021 and we will constantly engage with our stakeholders to maintain the high quality of our practices.
Unfiltered and candid feedback from our partners is critical to achieving this plan and our philanthropic ambitions. We are therefore extremely grateful to the Survey’s participants for the time they have dedicated to this exercise, as it has already contributed to furthering a more targeted and conscious approach to our funding, with the hope of increasing our impact on the beneficiaries we ambition to serve.
Published on: 19/08/2021