For Foundations: How to use

By Jessamyn Shams-Lau, executive director of Peery Foundation, and Maya Winkelstein, executive director of the Open Road Alliance.

Are you a foundation? Are you wondering what means for your organization? If so, please read the below FAQs answered by foundation executives for our peers on the value of and how foundations can use this data to better achieve their philanthropic goals.

Why is useful/valuable for me as a funder?

Although designed with nonprofits in mind, is a valuable resource for foundations as well. Here are four reasons that is useful to your foundation.

1. Feedback: offers the opportunity to hear directly from your majority stakeholders (i.e. grantees). Listening to unfettered feedback from grantees can help funders build more efficient processes and more effective partnerships, which ultimately increases impact.

2. Benchmarking: With a common set of questions for every foundation, allows foundations to compare their reviews with those of their peers. This comparison can help foundations benchmark the effectiveness of their grantmaking practices. Moreover, rather than simply measuring what other foundations are doing, specifically allows you to assess and compare what works best for grantees. By focusing on the grantee experience, is the best source for feedback on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to your grantmaking operations.

3. Honest and Accurate Data. is the only feedback platform that offers aggregated, consistent data, which is not solicited by the funder themselves. When foundations directly solicit feedback (even anonymously) respondents give different answers. Since collects reviews with or without funder prompting, this unsolicited feedback is the most honest feedback in the market. Most importantly, honest reviews mean accurate data.

4. Saving Time. Over time, we hope that the sharing of information via will help potential grantees better self-select for which foundations to approach and which are not great fits. This will result in a higher-quality pipeline for foundations, which saves everyone time and gets you closer to impact faster.

How can I use the data on to improve my organization and achieve my mission?

Set & Assess KPIs: Many foundations have Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that describe how they would ideally like to operate. However, it is difficult to get the external data to find out if you are living up to your internal goals. GrantAdvisor offers an accurate and honest data set of KPIs that foundations can use to set and assess their performance overtime. Access to this measurable data allows funders to examine their grantmaking processes and ensure that everyone’s time is being used in the most efficient way. Specifically, here are just some of the data points that GrantAdvisor collects:

  • What advice do you have for a friend about the funder?
  • Compared to other funders, how accessible is this funder?
  • How successfully is the funder accomplishing its current philanthropic goals?
  • What advice do you have for this funder?
  • Is there a question that you would like this funder to answer?

Branding & Identity: The honesty and accuracy of GrantAdvisor data allows foundations to see how they are perceived within the greater philanthropic space. GrantAdvisor data can help you assess whether your organization is truly aligned with your own branding and identity goals. Do you consider yourself a responsive, respected member of your community? GrantAdvisor will let you know if you are.

Testimonials & Marketing Materials: Most of the reviews on GrantAdvisor are positive. These compliments and praises make for great testimonials on the impact that your foundation is having in its community and within your designated beneficiary population. These testimonials are valuable for both internal use (e.g., when recruiting new talent, sharing your impact with your board, celebrating staff successes) and external use (e.g., website, marketing materials, and sharing your story with your community).

Want to go deeper? Here are some suggestions from foundations executives on how to bring this data off the web and into your staff meetings and boardrooms.

  • Every six months, get together as a team to review your overview dashboards on as a discussion starter to hone your grantmaking strategy.
  • Think in advance about how to frame a negative review to your team as a starting point for a positive learning experience. Then pick a negative review and use it to kick-start a learning conversation about your grantmaking processes.
  • Convene a conversation with your most trusted grantees to discuss your GrantAdvisor data and solicit their input for what you could differently.
  • Share the GrantAdvisor data on “Top Descriptors for this Funder” with your staff and board to help build your brand. Compare these grantee perceptions against your foundation’s stated values and goals.
  • Use GrantAdvisor data to celebrate organizational success through sharing positive testimonials and reviews. For example, once a month share a new positive review with your program staff as congratulations on a job well done. Then bring these reviews into your boardroom to showcase the work of your team.

Why and how should I invite people to review my foundation?

You should invite people to review your foundation because more views means more honest and accurate data. More honest and accurate data means more opportunities for you to assess the performance of your foundation, improve your processes, and celebrate your successes. All of this will make you more efficient and effective in your pursuit impact and mission.

Here are four ways to spread the word about

  • Include a link to GA at the end of your application form and/or final report form. Note that this is an opportunity to review not just your foundation, but everyone they’ve applied to.
  • Share the link and URL with your current grantee pool through whatever normal communications you produce (e.g., newsletters, annual report, and website).
  • Include a link to GA in your email block signature as an opportunity to review not just your foundation, but everyone they’ve applied to as well.
  • Talk to your foundation peers about GA, how you are using the data, and what it means to you.

Jessamyn Shams-Lau and Maya Winkelstein, foundation executives who serve on the National Leadership Panel for To learn about their work, visit and