So why is due diligence so important to foundations anyway? For MeHAF, the decision to fund a grant is based on a balance of strategic fit with its priorities and mission and an objective review process. The challenge for all foundations is that we want to learn as much as we can about an applicant organization without asking for information we do not need or may not use. When reviewing an application, MeHAF considers whether or not the proposal corresponds with its guidelines and priorities, as well as the merits or value of the proposed activities. In addition, the proposal is evaluated for its qualities compared to the other proposals received.
Project Streamline is a collaborative effort of grantmakers and grantseekers studying application and reporting practices, their impact on both groups of stakeholders, and the implications for the field. The goal of Project Streamline is to create a set of standards to inform grantmakers' decisions about their application and reporting practices.
Results from Project Streamline prompted MeHAF to take a look at its due diligence process. Doing due diligence well requires learning enough about the applicant organization so that the foundation feels confident in making a grant without putting a huge burden on the applicant. It can be difficult to tell if an applicant is a good fit based on just a written proposal. We also want to know more about the organization's mission and goals, its programs, leadership,staffing, and finances.
Because applicants have expressed that the due diligence process can be frustrating and confusing, MeHAF has developed a more streamlined approach which is more efficient and less burdensome for applicants. As a result of Project Streamline, MeHAF has implemented the following recommendations from the report.
In recent years, both foundations and nonprofits have experienced increased scrutiny in regard to how they spend their money. Effective due diligence offers assurance that MeHAF's grants will deliver outcomes in order to fulfill its mission and serve Maine people.
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