At Last! Rate Your Grant-Seeking Experience at GrantAdvisor.org: The Yelp for Reviewing Foundations


by Ruth McCambridge 

One of the boldest, most timely, and most badly needed nonprofit infrastructure projects we’ve seen recently has opened its virtual doors. GrantAdvisor.org allows grant seekers to publicly review the foundations to which they apply.

Constructed by Jon Pratt (executive director of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits), Jan Masaoka (Chief Executive Officer of the California Association of Nonprofits), and Perla Ni (CEO of GreatNonprofits), the project is the next generation of philanthropic transparency, essentially allowing nonprofits to advise one another on whether an application is worth their while even as they provide direct, open feedback to the foundation about how nonprofits experience them. Here is their description of the way GrantAdvisor.org functions:

It’s like TripAdvisor or Yelp, but for reviewing foundations. Anyone can provide a review, and when a foundation has five reviews, its profile will go live so everyone can see all the reviews. It’s anonymous, so you can be honest. It’ll help foundations to get no-BS feedback and advice that they might not be able to get otherwise. And it’ll help us nonprofits not waste our time with foundations that have consistently horrible reviews; we have important things to do, like saving the world.

The project is still in pilot mode, but in the past month, more than 450 reviews have been written and submitted. Already, 76 foundations have appointed key contacts to provide responses to each review.

A quick scan reveals little moaning and gnashing of teeth; in fact, the comments are helpful in that they provide clues to the cultures and pacing and quirks of each foundation. They advise, for instance, when you can expect an extended courtship, what foundations are particularly exacting about what and how to respond, and when you may wish to keep your expectations low.

I don’t know about you but that sounds like pure gold to me. To be successful, though, they’ll need your participation. Vu Le, the mind behind the blog Nonprofit: Absolutely Fabulous, is one of the site’s “advisors and allies,” and from his site, here’s a list of what they’re asking for: READ MORE…