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MMT User Survey 09
Online survey to MMT’s email list


✤   Questions provided by CEO and MMT Departments – Grants Administration, Program and...
Who are you?
What is your experience with
   MMT’s grantmaking?
Do you feel comfortable contacting MMT staff
         about applying for a grant?
✤ we really enjoyed talking with MM staff at the outreach session in our area.    It was a great opportunity to make
    c...
How were your interactions with the
   grants administration staff?
✤ Always helpful -- and always direct and honest responses.      The best kind.

✤ I think your program officers, their du...
Did we ask the right questions
 to understand your request?
✤ Absolutely.  My surprise has been that, despite the relatively large grant we received, not all of MMT staff
    know ab...
Was the due diligence process helpful?
✤ Absolutely. Even beyond the MMT process.       The board uses it to assess all our funding requests prior to
    submiss...
Do you feel comfortable contacting
    MMT staff for feedback?
✤ We received a request for more information, and had a site visit...all communication was positive and
    encouraging un...
Was the feedback about a decision helpful?
✤   Depends on what is considered adequate. If the proposal is funded, that is adequate for me!

✤   It was rather rote, v...
Do you see a role for MMT
 beyond grantmaking?
How responsive do you think MMT’s grantmaking
 programs are to changing community needs?
✤ A good balance of short-term and long-term focus
✤ i believe the Trust is a leader in responding to the needs of our loc...
Do you look to MMT as a source of useful information
 about best/emerging practices in the nonprofit field?
•As far as I'm concerned, MMT set the standard.
•Definitely. MMT makes much more of an effort to communicate with and list...
If MMT staff was available to provide direct volunteer help in
 their area of expertise to your organization, would that b...
What kind of direct volunteer help from MMT staff would you find useful?
How well do you think
 we communicate?
Was the information provided on the website clear
        about what we are likely to fund?
✤ becoming more clear recently, used to be a mystery
✤ However, MMT has a reputation of favoring "bricks and mortar projec...
How do you respond to the tone/voice of the email
               communications?
✤   Brief, friendly, authentic. Good job!

✤   Easy to understand. Friendly, personable, conversational

✤   I appreciate ...
✤   Thank you for using a real voice and not doing corporate speak.

✤   The light, fun tone is very welcome and refreshin...
To the content of email communications?
✤   Always well worth reading - that so clearly is unlike material published in advertising revenue driven publications,
 ...
What else would you
   like to tell us?
together, etc. This would provide venues for getting to know new people and discuss creative options for collaborations!

...
✤   I think, in my view, the MMT mission to invest in people, ideas, and efforts..." is so effective because the
    inves...
✤   It is clear that you take your position in the funding arena very seriously. Your professionalism, your staff's broad
...
•   Make more grants to minority groups

•   The workshops you provided a year or so ago were very helpful -- a few of tho...
Findings


✤   Very favorable views of MMT in all areas

✤   Consistent with our mission and values

✤   Fred Meyer would ...
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Mmt Survey 2009

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Transcript of "Mmt Survey 2009"

  1. 1. MMT User Survey 09
  2. 2. Online survey to MMT’s email list ✤ Questions provided by CEO and MMT Departments – Grants Administration, Program and Communication & Learning ✤ Response rate 22% ✤ Anonymous, no identifying info collected ✤ Both quantitative and qualitative results ✤ Opportunity to review perceptions and identify areas for improvement
  3. 3. Who are you?
  4. 4. What is your experience with MMT’s grantmaking?
  5. 5. Do you feel comfortable contacting MMT staff about applying for a grant?
  6. 6. ✤ we really enjoyed talking with MM staff at the outreach session in our area. It was a great opportunity to make connections. ✤ Very helpful and respectful. Invaluable. ✤ From my email communication to phone calls, I've always felt that everyone is very helpful and interested in our success. ✤ Hard to find someone to talk to. ✤ Helpful, friendly, interested, knowledgeable, personable. Great staff. ✤ I can't rave enough about MMT's program staff - knowledgeable, responsive and service oriented. I have always received timely and helpful feedback. ✤ I was told that you didn't want to be contacted, then later I hear that we should have contacted you and not submitted a "cold" proposal. Which is correct??? ✤ In the past, we have gotten advice from your ED that have contradicted your written policies. Hopefully, your new system will provide greater consistency. ✤ I've had both positive and negative experience and have had differing information from one staff person to another. ✤ People are always courteous, patient and professional. ✤ Received immediate response by e-mail and a live body response (hard to get these days) within a day..great service, direct and clear answer to question ✤ Some staff are hesitant to offer anything of value. But offering a clear view of how the board has tended to see things in the past, and current priorities is very helpful. Of course, no-one can ever know what will happen in the future. ✤ .
  7. 7. How were your interactions with the grants administration staff?
  8. 8. ✤ Always helpful -- and always direct and honest responses. The best kind. ✤ I think your program officers, their due diligence and their feedback are exemplary. ✤ information we were looking for but not always the answer we were looking for - i.e. fundability of our projects. I've always found staff friendly and responsive. ✤ Our program officer was always responsive and helpful. ✤ Responses have been extremely prompt and complete. ✤ The responses were "only the facts" and not anything in the way of a helpful conversation. ✤ We were able to meet with a program officer and she was very clear with us about the programs. The information provided indicated that at that time our program would not receive funding. That was discouraging but helpful to know before going through the formal process. ✤ Yes, we have had in-person meetings and phone conversations. The program officer was helpful in providing some guidance and direction. We appreciated the frank, honest feedback and open sharing of information.
  9. 9. Did we ask the right questions to understand your request?
  10. 10. ✤ Absolutely. My surprise has been that, despite the relatively large grant we received, not all of MMT staff know about our unique model. ✤ Sometimes the questions are confusing because of the terminology of the application. Most of it was for novices like myself, but a few times I needed clarification so that I would answer the questions correctly. ✤ Our program officer had very little relevant background on our subject area and proposal, so we spent a very significant amount of time trying to provide information to help MMT understand our request. Ultimately, we never felt like we were having an informed exchange that was progressing to the point where you had a thorough grasp of our project. We felt like we were answering the same question repeatedly. ✤ In one situation, we received about 15-20 emails asking for additional information after the application was submitted and after the site visit. It seemed like too much. Other times we have applied it was much smoother. It may have been the individual program officer we had that time. ✤ The site visit was very helpful. ✤ Tons of questions, deep interest, fully immersed in learning more about us and in completely understanding our position and future strategies. Like no other granting process we've seen.
  11. 11. Was the due diligence process helpful?
  12. 12. ✤ Absolutely. Even beyond the MMT process. The board uses it to assess all our funding requests prior to submission. ✤ I'm not sure what this refers to. If it's the questions asked by the project officer both by telephone and on site, then the answer is Helpful. ✤ It was rigorous, which caused us to do more work on our programs, such as evaluation, before we got funded. The process (disregarding the grant result) improved our evaluation. ✤ It's MMT's process. From the agency side, it can be very time consuming and prolonged to get an answer. ✤ Learned a great deal from the project that has helped us improve. ✤ lots of very good questions. a demanding but nonetheless beneficial process for our organization. ✤ Our proposal was straight-forward. The due diligence felt more like an unnecessary exercise. ✤ The program officer was engaged, understood our proposal and asked thoughtful questions. ✤ We are an arts organization. Our MMT program manager had very little knowledge/experience in the arts which made the conversation more difficult. We had to explain why the arts were important - which is something we thought MMT would already know! We can't complain too much though, since we did receive funding. Thanks!
  13. 13. Do you feel comfortable contacting MMT staff for feedback?
  14. 14. ✤ We received a request for more information, and had a site visit...all communication was positive and encouraging until the curt phone call--"we are not funding your project" and no further information was offered. We put a LOT of work into responding to the specific questions, and spent many hours working with a consultant by phone and in person. When the tone changed abruptly, and our "reference" agency was funding the month we were turned down, it raised serious questions about MMT's integrity in our minds. ✤ tend to get an answer such as - too many people applied....that is not helpful ✤ Perhaps I am behind the times. In the past, MMT made it very clear no feedback is provided. ✤ I was comfortable, but I really got the cold shoulder and never was able to get an honest and thorough assessment of our application and why it wasn't funded. ✤ I have been discouraged to date. ✤ I can say I learned more about grantwriting from being declined. The feedback was so helpful, and the suggestions for improvement so constructive. ✤ A little disappointed since there were no insights offered as what may have been a problem. For example: Were the forms completed correctly? or Was the narrative confusing or not clear? or Was the application not on point altogether? Really appreciate reader's notes for clarity in the future we were not formally declined but didn't see a way to fit our needs into MMT programs
  15. 15. Was the feedback about a decision helpful?
  16. 16. ✤ Depends on what is considered adequate. If the proposal is funded, that is adequate for me! ✤ It was rather rote, vague and form-letter response. However, I have produced numerous applications with awards up to 175k and still felt the feedback was rote, vague and monotone. The tone of feedback does not match the E-mail gal. ✤ No feedback! ✤ The information I received was more than adequate. It provided direction for future grantwriting efforts. ✤ We felt that the program officer did give us adequate feedback, but it was frustrating because we felt you knew (and we knew) we weren't going in with the right request yet the PO had advised us against modifying our request in advance of the decision.
  17. 17. Do you see a role for MMT beyond grantmaking?
  18. 18. How responsive do you think MMT’s grantmaking programs are to changing community needs?
  19. 19. ✤ A good balance of short-term and long-term focus ✤ i believe the Trust is a leader in responding to the needs of our local community, as well as those needs throughout Oregon. ✤ I fear that grantmaking has become too focused. I would prefer more of an opportunity to convince the grantmaker that our project is a top priority. Funding multi tenant nonprofit or nonprofit community centers as a way to share resources is one example. ✤ Appreciate the renewed commitment to general support and find division into human services/core community needs and other nonprofits an appropriate response to economy by a grant maker. ✤ Based on the e-newsletters MMT seems to be very current with economic trends & community needs ✤ Cutting-edge - allowing for overhead costs in hard economic times, homeless grant making when communities are designing 10-year plans...someone is reading the paper in Portland and Washington, DC...keep up the good work developing opportunities to solve problems that are not widely accept by other grantors...be a light ✤ Diverging to offer the e-funds has been huge. You obviously get what's happening out here. ✤ Maybe too responsive - i.e. abandoning core needs to chase short term highly visible issues? ✤ The opportunity to apply for operating funds during these economic times shows the commitment of MMT to its partner nonprofits. I believe that says a lot about MMT and the people there ✤ The stimulus funding is a good move. If the economy ever recovers, it would be helpful if the Trust place additional emphasis on general operating grants so that an organization that is doing several things very well does not have to invent a new project to be considered for grant funds ✤ Your recent bridge funding that responds to our current national economic crisis is a wonderful example of how you respond. Bravo!
  20. 20. Do you look to MMT as a source of useful information about best/emerging practices in the nonprofit field?
  21. 21. •As far as I'm concerned, MMT set the standard. •Definitely. MMT makes much more of an effort to communicate with and listen to npos and grantseekers than most other foundations. •I think MMT has always been an early-adopter and on top of emerging issues and best practices. •This did not used to be the case, but it is more and more. •The Green Building initiative needs additional exposition. •Yes, via email updates and the blog •Believe that MMT certainly sets the pace for open-minded, progressive grant making. Should be asking for best/emerging practices in those priority areas although not sure if there is a match in thinking unless everyone is using the same research, etc. ... Certain practices subscribed to by the foundation should be clearly stated as way to go for funding...innovation is not always appreciated, only on a few occasions with visionaries... Find that some grants are written perhaps with certain recipients in mind??? Am not sure MMT is a rural funder, with depth of understanding issues - hope the bus trip brings this piece into the painting with a broader stroke... •I would LOVE more information about best/emerging practices in the nonprofit field. •This is one of the things I most appreciate about MMT. What a great service to Oregon and Oregon funders and nonprofits! Thanks for your leadership.
  22. 22. If MMT staff was available to provide direct volunteer help in their area of expertise to your organization, would that be a service you would find useful?
  23. 23. What kind of direct volunteer help from MMT staff would you find useful?
  24. 24. How well do you think we communicate?
  25. 25. Was the information provided on the website clear about what we are likely to fund?
  26. 26. ✤ becoming more clear recently, used to be a mystery ✤ However, MMT has a reputation of favoring "bricks and mortar projects". ✤ I appreciate that MMT does let us know what they're looking to fund, giving guidelines, and willing to listen to proposed projects and give some feedback prior to submission. ✤ I have been confused lately as it seems to have flip flopped a bit, although I think it went back to a better more inclusive position so for that I am grateful. But I may be incorrect. The Stamm memo that outlined a cutting back was discouraging of any new proposals and then the latest one was encouraging. ... ✤ I think the grant category titles could be more transparent. Most nonprofits are looking for a quick summary of what will and won't be funded in the "major" groups -- capital campaigns, general operating, new programs, capacity (but the definition of capacity can differ) and then a listing of any focus areas -- arts, social services, etc. ✤ It helped also to see which nonprofits have received grants in the past & the projects that were funded. ✤ It seems that foundations, including MMT, always have "leanings" toward what they are looking to fund that are ever-changing to meet society needs and are rarely specified on the foundations' websites. It takes a phone call to the foundation to obtain this information. ✤ Yes and no...Some areas are very specific, other areas encourage creativity and innovation to solve problems. Not always clear about the research or best practices MMT wants programs to model
  27. 27. How do you respond to the tone/voice of the email communications?
  28. 28. ✤ Brief, friendly, authentic. Good job! ✤ Easy to understand. Friendly, personable, conversational ✤ I appreciate the friendly, informal, enthusiastic tone. ✤ a bit too perky for me ✤ It's so encouraging to know that MMT truly cares about what's going on in the field and how they can offer genuine help. ✤ I've always found "tone" to be the toughest part of putting together an email message. MMT's have been great: informative; upbeat; collegial. ✤ I love the more casual nature of the e-mails -- very friendly and non-intimidating. ✤ There may be a place off of your main/opening email message pages for a chatty, informal voice (in the blogs, etc.)--I prefer that emails which are intended to be informative to a general audience maintain a professional tone. ✤ Professional and friendly and inviting. Receiving one of these messages always brings a smile to my face .... it's like a message from a friend. ✤ Refreshingly personable, informative & nonbureaucratic - MMT’s email is peerless - always written from the heart rather than as if by advertising agency staff writer ✤ Relaxed at times, which is okay since you have tried to become more "transparent" to the nonprofit community.
  29. 29. ✤ Thank you for using a real voice and not doing corporate speak. ✤ The light, fun tone is very welcome and refreshing. I like that a personality comes through. ✤ The standard voice of philanthropy is us vs them, me vs you, knowledge vs ignorance. MMT does a great job of having a level voice with the community. ✤ The tone of MMT's recent periodical updates is out of synch with the environment. The updates are chipper and upbeat, while we in the non-profits are losing funding on a daily basis. It's seriously grim out here. ✤ The tone of the MMT e-messages is colorful, sunny, full of character, and positive energy. If I'm feeling down, it's lovely to receive a cheery e-mail from the representative of a major funding entity such as MMT. Such friendly communications counter the energy of the typical "gods on olympus" voice woven into foundation/trust website/e-correspondence dialogue. ✤ You have an opt in email list. That means if readers don't like the tone or voice, they will unsubscribe. Use the voice you feel is appropriate. I think your voice is great. Very human, and that is what I advise people to strive for. If someone objects to the voice that is yours, tell them to unsubscribe. You can't please everybody. ✤ Your e-communications are some of the best that I receive because 1) they do not contain a lot of superfluous graphics or other electronic gimmicks (just plain text and links that go directly to useful information - reports, powerpoints etc); 2) they are relevant (i.e. they contain relevant information that helps inform my daily work) and 3) they are brief (they fit on a laptop screen).
  30. 30. To the content of email communications?
  31. 31. ✤ Always well worth reading - that so clearly is unlike material published in advertising revenue driven publications, or propagandistic pieces from organizations fanning support for whatever. ✤ Always informative, often directly helpful. ✤ As a consultant I only get excited if news applies to one of the agencies I work with. Which is generally not the case. ✤ Give readers the content you have. If they don't find it useful, they should unsubscribe. You can't please everybody. Why are you surveying people when you use an opt in mail list ✤ I do learn of new developments or strategies being implemented in a timely fashion and it makes me feel connected to the MMT. ✤ I enjoy the updates and often feel there is valuable information I wouldn't have gotten elsewhere. Sometimes it feels less relevant or important. ✤ I have found information that has been very helpful with grant writing & the current state of the economy. ✤ I like being able to pull my head up above the busy-ness I'm in to remember how many other areas are critical to our community. ✤ Very helpful--especially the tips and scoop on grant making changes at MMT from Doug Stamm, such as the operating grants and tips on general support grant opportunities.
  32. 32. What else would you like to tell us?
  33. 33. together, etc. This would provide venues for getting to know new people and discuss creative options for collaborations! ✤ No, not that I can think of now. I think the mere fact that you're asking speaks to your mission. Thank you. ✤ The reason why I haven't applied is that I think our organization as a whole receives more money than most of your programs allow for. But a few of our distinct programs are in need of assistance that I think might be eligible if just their budget was considered. ✤ I really appreciate MMT's sponsorship of the Southern Oregon regional nonprofit leaders conferences. ✤ The workshops you provided a year or so ago were very helpful -- a few of those a year (and maybe a various locations throughout the state) would be most appreciated. ✤ Thank you for all you do! ✤ I'm not a 501(c)3 so don't fall into the category MMT directly serves. I've expended and depleted inordinate personal financial and human resources toward ends perfectly meshing with MMT's mission & IRS requirements of working via 501(c)3 entities, but I simply have depleted my assets and credit card capacity needed to continue. When I can get back into the game of social justice based philanthropy, I'll resurface. ✤ Keep up the arts funding! Thanks!
  34. 34. ✤ I think, in my view, the MMT mission to invest in people, ideas, and efforts..." is so effective because the investment you make is not just to provide financial support. In each of the three approved MMT projects, in addition to the financial support, there was a personal investment. There are some foundations that say "we are partners with the recipient" -- but there are very few that actually act like partners -- taking the project to heart and being interested in what we are doing. That investment of caring to me is priceless. Thank you. ✤ I think MMT has really set the standard for how others should work. Keep up the good work. ✤ I appreciate how much energy and effort MMT puts into making sure they are a customer centered organization - it's really a nice role model of showing the community you are about more than just giving out money - but helping everyone also improve skills and abilities ✤ Please simplify wherever you can. Also, programs need to be designed to serve their communities, not the aspirations of the foundation. ✤ My general observation is that MMT has been concentrating on the children of Oregon in general and I am good with that. My other observation would be that the Chalkboard Project has consumed all other available funds and time that leaves out independent schools. Since we are a rural independent school we have pretty much been outside of your interest, even though we do what you are trying to get Chalkboard to have public schools do. I feel we are under-appreciated and underfunded. In the guidelines you say that alternative schools are funded, but it seems an uphill battle in this climate. Thanks for asking. ✤ As usual, a very thorough process by MMT. ✤ No. MMT seems well-run and helps many non-profits with the categories of grants that most other foundations don't have the capacity to give. Oregon is lucky. My suggestions earlier are minor, in the scheme of things. My only significant concern is that MMT seems to getting away from grantmaking by trying to provide other services that compete with non-profits whose mission it is to provide those same services. There's a delicate balance, and I'm not sure exactly what it is
  35. 35. ✤ It is clear that you take your position in the funding arena very seriously. Your professionalism, your staff's broad spectrum of knowledge and expertise, your relationship focused approach to working with those of us who are grantseekers is unique and very much appreciated by me!! ✤ Please don't forget that “significant social benefit" includes simply providing a hand up for those spiraling down due to domestic violence, drug and alcohol addiction, job loss, medical problems, and the other myriad things that can and do happen, and from which no one is exempt. ✤ It seems to me that MMT is leaning too heavily on mega investments in education for instance, trying to fundamentally shift the nature of our educational system to reverse course and turn out more competent graduates. I don't think all the money in the world will fundamentally change the educational outcomes in Oregon or elsewhere, as the problem is not fundamentally the schools; it is the deterioration of families and our social and economic structure in general. ✤ more location-inclusive presentations in Eastern Oregon when possible ✤ Invest your time in doing what you know to be the right thing. Be a leader. Don't make decisions by survey or focus group. ✤ Just keep it up...even if our organization is never funded, MMT's mission work is getting accomplished by others who are funded - it is a better world because MMT exists and remains a leader in grant-making... ✤ I believe that there are organizations or programs that may never be self sufficient. I think that it is sometimes important for a board such as the Meyer Memorial Trust Board to weigh the significance of the work a program does in a struggling community and judge the success in different ways. Perhaps a generation of children will be better prepared and more likely to succeed because of an organization's dedication and work. Then foundations might continue to fund programs and see them as successful based on the work they do, not on the amount of money they can accumulate. On-going support is seen as a failure these days when it might in fact be the glue that keeps us human and keeps hope alive in these troubled times. I see so many programs begin and then fail due to lack of funding. It seems to me we should prioritize our goals and continue to fund good programs that work for the good of the whole.
  36. 36. • Make more grants to minority groups • The workshops you provided a year or so ago were very helpful -- a few of those a year (and maybe a various locations throughout the state) would be most appreciated. • More clearly define the green building initiative • Just a comment - Having met Fred Meyer on several occasions, I am sure he would be proud of the responsible way that his money is being distributed; and the professional and ethical manner that his trust in being managed. • It would be nice to have more individualized MMT events for organization staff to attend. Perhaps events for environmental and food bank organizations together, youth and arts organizations together, etc. This would provide venues for getting to know new people and discuss creative options for collaborations! • Don't forget the rural communities their lack of technology, grant-writing sophistication, local expertise - keep that MMT bus moving, continue to explore Oregon and Clark County for issues that have not yet surfaced elsewhere, but in that area, community, etc....look for solutions everywhere!!!
  37. 37. Findings ✤ Very favorable views of MMT in all areas ✤ Consistent with our mission and values ✤ Fred Meyer would be proud! ✤ Opportunities identified: ✤ Clear messaging about contacting MMT before proposal submission ✤ Eliminate (or reduce) jargon ✤ Program officer specialization? ✤ Honest clear feedback on decisions, esp. declined proposals (reportable reasons) ✤ Importance of communicating what we do and why (e.g. education) ✤ More gatherings & educational events, especially in distant places ✤ Direct volunteer service
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