Great Stories, Philanthropy

When Criteria Disappoint

As Catalyst has become a slightly more mature in our funding programs we have learned the importance of establishing and communicating clear criteria for our grants, both in applications and in reporting from grantees. Today a part of me wishes we hadn’t done so quite so much. Almost a year ago I had a long conversation with someone who had just come into the development role with an organization I’ve known and appreciated for years. She was asking me for suggestions and feedback on how to build the best relationships between donors and charities. Not only was it an enjoyable discussion, but shortly thereafter I received a copy of the founders new book and a sincere hand-written thank you note. I was very impressed. In the midst of our current funding cycle I contacted her again and invited an application for an Encouragement Grant. Yeserday I got an email that because they don’t meet one of our core criteria (demonstrated financial commitment to core leadership development) they won’t be applying. I am disappointed; but more than that I am again impressed. Very rarely do I hear from charities that are not looking for a financial donation; which is totally appropriate. In this case I have had excellent positive interactions with a leader and an organization that are demonstrating such respect and integrity that I would love to change the rules to accomodate them. I’m sure they could have played the numbers a bit to satisfy the criteria, instead they turned down the opportunity to apply. I’ve been deliberate in not identifying either the individual or the organization, but if any readers want a recommendation for a deserving and honourable place to send some support send me an email. I would love to tell you all about them.