Supporting Deeper Impact: DataCenter partners with Packard Foundation to strengthen communication between foundations and grantees

by Anne Ryan | Communications Associate

We are all looking for ways to do our work better. Donors like you give generously to our organization and we want to make sure that every dollar you give is used to fulfill our shared mission and create a better world. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation disburses numerous grants across the world to help organizations function better, and, as a result, help more people and support more communities in more places.

But how do foundations help nonprofits use their grant money to make the deepest impact possible? Over the past two years, DataCenter has been helping the Packard Foundation discover answers to this question. In partnership with Jeff Jackson and Maurice Monette of the Vallarta Institute, Christie Callenback and the *TCC Group, DataCenter recently studied a *sample of 1300 organizational capacity building initiatives across the globe that were funded by the Packard Foundation.

True capacity building efforts last longer than one or two years. In addition to surveying grantee report data from the Packard Foundation, DataCenter surveyed grant recipients to determine what were the results two, three, four and five years after the funding has been used.

In this project, DataCenter played the role of translator: helping the experiences of grantees make it to the ears of foundations that support them. As Linda Wood of the Evenlyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund said, the Packard Foundation “has a goldmine of data that, if made more widely available, could really help the field of nonprofit capacity building.”

Project findings revealed some of the “keys to success” that are necessary when *capacity-building consultants are working with nonprofits. These “keys to success” include that:

  • *The consultant has an understanding of nonprofit grantees’ unique needs
  • *There is ongoing communication and trusting relationships between the consultant and the nonprofit grantee

Any supporter of nonprofits (and you must be if you’re reading this!) can appreciate this study. It is a pivotal step towards illuminating the power of relationships between funders and grantees, and it is a pivotal step towards helping organizations do their work better, grow, thrive and create a world governed by equality and justice.

Would you like a copy of the study results? Contact for more information!

*Note: Slight changes were made to this article to ensure clarity and accuracy.