M J Murdock Charitable Trust

Location: 703 Broadway St Ste 710, Vancouver, 98660 WA

EIN: 23-7456468

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84%

16%

What was the overall relationship with the funder?

How many hours did the grant application process take?

40 hours

Median

86%

14%

How would you rate this funder's accessibility?

86%

14%

How successfully do you think the funder is accomplishing its current philanthropic goals?

Important Information

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Top descriptors for this funder

41Builds relationships40Responsive39Friendly39Likes site visits36"Gets" nonprofits and issues33Positive leader in the field28Gives more than money22Insightful19Openminded18Culturally sensitive12Risk taker7Risk averse

Advice from a Friend

M J Murdock Charitable Trust

Dec 09, 2019

Reviewer 955 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2019

This was our first application to the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, and we found the process to be quite smooth. The turnaround time for both the LOI to be reviewed/accepted and for the final evaluation/board review to take place was shorter for us than the website had led us to believe (though I'm not sure whether this is typical). Our program officer was genuinely interested in our project and organization and was communicative throughout the process.

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Insightful, Friendly, Builds relationships, Likes site visits, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Responsive

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Response from M J Murdock Charitable Trust

Jan 02, 2020

Thank you so much for this feedback regarding our process and your relationship with your Program Director.

Dec 05, 2019

Grant Applicant - applied in 2019

The Trust invests time and energy into developing relationships with their grantees. They view projects collaboratively and rarely fund a project without a financial investment from their grantees. They seem to enjoy site visits and are actually pretty delightful. We have worked with them on several projects over many years and appreciate the care and attention they invest in ensuring a successful investment of their funds.

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Friendly, Builds relationships, Likes site visits, Responsive

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Response from M J Murdock Charitable Trust

Jan 02, 2020

We do believe that site visits provide invaluable, in-person connection and engagement that strengthens the entire grantmaking process. Thank you for your feedback!

Dec 04, 2019

Grant Applicant - applied in 2019

The Trust provides clear directives and outlines for the information they need in order to consider your request. Follow directions, they are wonderful to work with.

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Response from M J Murdock Charitable Trust

Jan 02, 2020

Thank you for your kind feedback regarding our staff!

Dec 04, 2019

Grant Applicant - applied in 2019

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust really personalizes the experience. We were impressed by how quickly they responded to us at each step of the process, and how well our Program Officer guided us, particularly in preparation for their final presentation to the Trustees. The proposal does take a long time, so plan to spend several days both writing and pulling together all the needed documents. But the promise of multi-year funding for operations or capacity building makes it worth it.

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Insightful, Friendly, Builds relationships, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from M J Murdock Charitable Trust

Jan 02, 2020

We truly appreciate your feedback regarding our application process and platform. We recently introduced a new grant application tool and we are constantly seeking to update and improve our application experience based on feedback. Thank you for sharing your experience and recommendations.

Sep 06, 2019

Grant Applicant - applied in 2019

Understand your needs and have the ability to communicate them.

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Gives more than money, Culturally sensitive, Insightful, Friendly, Builds relationships, Likes site visits, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from M J Murdock Charitable Trust

Jan 02, 2020

Thank you for your feedback!

Sep 06, 2019

Reviewer 8940 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2019

Reach out to their program staff before applying. They are always helpful and willing to answer questions about your projects chances for success. The LOI process is fairly simple. Once your LOI is accepted and you are invited to apply, the real work begins. It was the most rigorous grant application I've ever worked on. We worked with our Finance Director and a Grant Writer to help us submit all the necessary materials in a timely fashion. Their website is a wonderful tool for understanding their process, requirements and forms. The next step in the process is a meeting with your Program Officer. Ours was incredibly helpful and always open to answering our questions. I felt very supported by her through the process. In the end, our request was approved and it was a very generous amount that was critical to our ability to reach our project goal. I am so grateful to the Trust for the thoughtful process and the instrumental investment in our work.

Pros

Friendly, Builds relationships, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Responsive

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Response from M J Murdock Charitable Trust

Jan 02, 2020

Thank you so much for your kind assessment of our work.

Sep 05, 2019

Grant Applicant - applied in 2019

It was helpful to schedule a phone call with a program officer to talk through initial ideas. Do some planning and preparation before the call to make the most of the time.

Pros

Risk taker, Builds relationships, Responsive

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Response from M J Murdock Charitable Trust

Jan 02, 2020

Thank you for this feedback and for your kind remarks regarding the Trust's commitment to clear, ongoing communication between nonprofits and our staff.

Sep 04, 2019

Reviewer 3033 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2019

In applying for the M.J. Murdock grant I found that following using the website as a resource and guide was very effective. It is very important to complete this application correctly and completely and make sure you meet the guidelines for applicants from the beginning. I also found that all of the staff I spoke with or ask for information from were very professional and helpful. They answered my questions completely and in a way that made me believe they wanted us to be successful. Again, I can't stress enough that replies to my questions were very prompt and helpful. Don't hesitate to seek more information but be sure you have done your homework first.

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Gives more than money, Culturally sensitive, Insightful, Friendly, Builds relationships, Likes site visits, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from M J Murdock Charitable Trust

Jan 02, 2020

We are grateful to hear that our staff provided prompt, useful assistance as you worked through the application process. While we try to provide a variety of thorough, easy-to-follow resources on our website to help guide applicants, we know that often a quick email or phone call can be even more effective and we are always happy to connect and provide guidance. Thank you for your feedback!

Sep 04, 2019

Grant Applicant - applied in 2019

Great opportunity to build capacity through a significant, mulit-year grant. The grant application takes a large amount of work, and the process is about nine-months, so planning ahead is critical. They like to fund new positions that can grow capacity of organization and have a strong sustainability plan for beyond the life of the grant.

Pros

Friendly, Likes site visits

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Response from M J Murdock Charitable Trust

Jan 02, 2020

We are grateful to hear that the in-person site visit with our Program Director was a helpful element of the process for you. We find these discussions to be critical in building relationships and helping ensure projects are best positioned for success.

We also appreciate your note regarding identifying ways to streamline our application process. We are constantly evaluating our process based on applicant feedback and will take this into consideration as we move forward.

Jul 01, 2019 1

Reviewer 5489 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2015

It used to be that you could write an LOI to Murdock and if they invited you to write a grant proposal, you had a 90% chance of funding. That has changed, and they are turning down more proposals. It's frustrating, because to write a good Murdock grant is a very difficult process. I've had a staff person tell me a grant had a very good chance of funding, only to find out later that it didn't have any chance.

Cons

Inadvertently exerts negative influence in the field, Culturally incompetent, Risk averse

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Response from M J Murdock Charitable Trust

Jul 10, 2019

We appreciate this feedback and are saddened to hear that you didn’t have a positive experience with our grant review process. We are constantly working to improve our application and review process and we will do our best to learn from this and other feedback we regularly receive from individuals and organizations. In our most recent Center for Effective Philanthropy survey, applicants, both those who received funding from the Trust and those that did not, gave the Trust top marks for our commitment to ensuring clear, quality communication throughout our process and they consider this an asset as they prepared their application. For example, we do try and make staff available for calls, emails, and meetings to help applicants prepare for and present a strong proposal. We also spend considerable effort ensuring that our website is full of helpful instructions, samples, tips and other resources to support applicants through the process. That said, no process will ever be perfect and we are always looking for ways to provide an even better experience.

Regarding the connection between approval of an LOI and approval of a grant application, the Trust has never approved anything close to 90-95% of the applications it receives, nor have we indicated such a high level of success should be expected. The Letter of Inquiry is just the first stage in our vetting process and we do come across any number of challenges that might lead to declining an application as we get into a more detailed review of the proposal. In all our communications we make it clear that the process is competitive and successful grantees should ensure that their organization is prepared before submitting their application and if they discover questions that need to be addressed, there are options available before hitting “submit.” Program directors give applicants the opportunity to defer or withdraw and later resubmit their application if the organization needs more time to plan or prepare for the proposed project. We do our best to avoid telling organizations what to do; however, we will encourage best practices and report out what we know others in the sector to be doing. We are rooting for every nonprofit we meet with and want to see every organization funded, but we also believe we have a responsibility to fund projects that have the best chance to uplift a nonprofit and not proposals that could turn into a burden down the road.

The Trust invests in the capacity of a wide range of organizations doing great work in communities around the Pacific Northwest, including a small portion that are faith-based. However, all organizations go through the same application and review process and are held to the same high standards.

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M J Murdock Charitable Trust