Listen, Reflect, Act, Repeat
Every four years, we ask our grantees and declined applicants to complete a survey asking about their perceptions of PHF, focusing on our impact; commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; and our processes, interactions and communications. Our most recent survey was conducted in 2022 by the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP). Respondents rate the Foundation on a number of indicators, enabling us to monitor our performance over time. They also respond to open-ended questions, providing valuable insights and suggestions, which help us to spot trends and opportunities, understand our strengths and identify areas for us to work on.
All of this informs our continuous adaptation and improvement. Crucially, it puts those who we fund, or might fund, at the centre of our strategic thinking. We really appreciate the time that grantees and declined applicants have put into sharing their knowledge, expertise and ideas with us. It is important for us to listen to what respondents are telling us and to reflect back what we have heard and understood, and then act on it. We see this as part of a continuing conversation.
For the first time, PHF’s Evidence and Learning Team has systematically analysed the responses to the CEP survey’s open-ended questions, and we’ve published a Qualitative Analysis of Grantees’ and Declined Applicants’ Perceptions of Paul Hamlyn Foundation in 2022. We read every comment and coded them using qualitative data analysis software to identify and cross reference themes and sentiments. The analysis gives us both broad and in-depth insight, it enables us to understand respondents’ priorities and gauge the level of momentum behind certain suggestions. It is a really powerful tool and helps us to ensure decisions are informed by evidence, not assumptions. Our paper supplements the analysis of quantitative data undertaken by CEP in their previously published memo.
While our full qualitative analysis paper is structured in five sections, each focusing on the responses to the survey’s open-ended questions in turn, the executive summary draws out five themes that came up across the responses. We heard that we should continue to build community for our grantees so that we are more than the sum of our parts, and grow our leadership function within our specialist fields in order to drive innovation. We heard that we need to design our processes so they are more transparent and accessible. We need to see our grantees more often and we need to lean in to our equity and justice commitments.
Colleagues in the Foundation’s grants team have been excited about the potential of this qualitative analysis to drive change and improvement. It has strengthened our reflective practice; and the analysis is informing a whole range of organisational change work from our website redesign, to the development of a theory of change in the Arts Access and Participation Fund, to how we facilitate ‘grants plus’ support.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey and if you have any reflections on the paper, please get in touch at email@example.com!