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Survey with grantees evaluates the performance and the relationship with the Institute for Climate and Society 

Flexible, open and constructive spirit, empathetic, understanding and welcoming. These are some of the adjectives that appeared in different statements from grantees to describe the extent of their relationship with the Institute for Climate and Society. At first, it might sound strange to find these qualities in an evaluation process of a relationship that is primarily of financial support. However, this is what the first evaluation report reveals, conducted at the end of 2017 with our grantees. One of the most surprising results of the survey indicated that over 70% of the grantees highlighted that the institutional support exceeds the financial bias. "They described a relationship that is more of a partnership and less experimental. I saw a lot of humanity in the results," said psychologist and consultant Martina Rillo.

 

The research was inspired by the parameters used by the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) with donors worldwide. The main objective of the survey was to map the perceptions of the grantees regarding the support received by iCS in 2016 and 2017, in addition to understanding the role of the organization in the field of climate change. In order to avoid any possibility of identification, we sent an anonymous questionnaire to 130 representatives of financed institutions. Result: 62 people participated in the survey, which was a 48% response rate.

 

The feedback process is an essential tool to engage and provide information about the performance of an organization. In this regard, it acts as an analytical strategy in both personal and professional development. Therefore, there is a positive character – in which the successful actions and behaviors are highlighted –, or a corrective character – where we seek a redirection of actions to make the leadership much more efficient. Merging these two perceptions was our main objective when we carried out this evaluation with the grantees: to strengthen, improve and fashion our relationship – recognizing our weaknesses and to highlight the potential.

Accordingly, we are sharing here some of the main results obtained from the survey. We also consider the next steps to be taken towards the changes that are required for the improvement and excellence of the institutional relationship with our grantees. The process was divided into four categories (which encompassed another four or five questions):

 

 I) Presentation process of the proposal for the grant request

 II) Monitoring process of the grant

 III) Interaction and relationship with iCS

 IV) Perceptions about the performance of iCS in the field of climate change

 

 

"We investigated the different dimensions of the financial and institutional support process to understand the clarity, transparency and practicality in the performance of iCS as an organization," explained Martina.

All the categories were well evaluated and there was little variation in the average scores, in accordance with the chart below. The category of "interaction and relationship with iCS" was the best evaluated dimension with an average score of 8.26 – on a scale from 1 to 10.

STAGES OF THE PROCESS

The "feel comfortable" dimension to converse with iCS when there is any problem was the most positive aspect. However, regarding the interaction and relationship with the organization, some grantees sometimes did not perceive clearly the Climate and Society Institute objectives and strategies. This may indicate that the communication with the grantees was focused more on them and less on iCS. It is also important to note that the lack of clarity about institutional objective and strategies is related to an issue of dialogue and not of transparency – because this was another question that was well evaluated by the participants in the survey.

The presentation process of the proposal was an aspect that was not so well evaluated, especially in relation to the "response time" question – information that appeared several times and has resulted in an overhaul of the internal procedures at iCS in order to improve the situation. The best evaluated question about this stage was the "understanding of the selection criteria of iCS." In the evaluation as a whole, we can see that several criteria related to transparency were well evaluated and this indicates a good performance by the organization in an aspect valued by the grantees.  

In relation to the monitoring process of the grant, this dimension obtained an average score of 8.16 and its best evaluated aspect was the frequency of the progress report. However, the use of the report for reflection and learning was an aspect with low evaluation.

Generally, the perception of the grantees in relation to the overall performance of iCS in the field was also very positive. The grantees especially feel that their objectives and strategies are well understood by the organization. However, the perception of the grantees about the awareness that the Institute for Climate and Society has about the challenges they face was not very well evaluated.

 

The understanding of the selection criteria of iCS question was also another positive point, with an average score of 8 – which provides evidence of the transparency and good institutional performance of the organization. In the dimension related to the presentation process of the proposal to receive the grant, we evaluated criteria such as the involvement of iCS during the analysis, response time, monitoring and requests of changes, and the use of the Fluxx online platform to request a grant and record the details for each project. This initial process – between the formulation of the proposal and the institutional feedback – was more susceptible to criticism because some considered it to be excessively long and partly redundant.

Another important highlight also regarding the relationship dimension was about how clearly we communicate our objectives and strategies with our grantees. The grantees demonstrated a greater desire to understand the entirety of the iCS operation – nationally and globally – in the field of climate change. "This was a fact that attracted our attention and resulted in a reflection about how to better communicate the objectives and strategies," said Martina. It is highlighted that, in the first half of 2018, iCS hired specialist communication manager who is responsible for enabling the institutional dialogue with the media and the grantees, as well as to improve our news products (such as the new website and the monthly newsletter).

PROFILE OF THE RESPONDENTS

Among the grantees who participated in the survey, we realized that over half (52%) received grants both in 2016 and 2017, totaling 32 grantees – the rest were supported in only one of these years. In relation to the three portfolios existing in these two years, the financial support was balanced. We can say the same with respect to the gender diversity, in accordance with the following charts:

Other data evaluated the ethnic self–declaration of the respondents, revealing 85% white and 2% brown – while 13% opted not to say. In the distribution of job positions, there was a predominance of executive direction positions in the coordination of the organizations.

According to the analysis of the consultant Martina, the profile of the respondents in the grantee organizations appears to reproduce the Brazilian ethnic inequality in positions of power, because there is an almost zero percentage of black ethnicity – especially when it concerns positions of leadership. In contrast, the active participation of 46% women is a positive point, bringing diversity and the principle of equality to the scenario of the organizations.

WHAT WE LEARN

AND FUTURE STEPS

Among different personal perceptions and evaluations, we are highlighting 16 important qualitative statements to our analysis – positive, negative and, above all, constructive – from the grantees in relation to the performance of the Institute for Climate and Society. Accordingly, they also reveal the impact of iCS in the field of climate change. The most frequent collective perception demonstrated that the organization has a direct and fundamental role in the development and in the character of the grantees.

COMPLIMENTS

iCS, in its short existence, is already a reference point in philanthropy for a Brazil that is aligned with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. The continued support of iCS to the work of my organization is extremely important, because the support is for the entire strategy and not just for part of it – even though the funds cover part of the expenses (all of our grants are made with this same logic).  

The Climate and Society Institute was responsible for advancing the operation with cities in the organization. We were able to understand the challenges and opportunities in this field. This help was also fundamental in strengthening the groups that operate with mobility on the front line.

iCS has acted brilliantly in the financing of research projects and in the organization of very interesting events and seminars.

iCS, under the strong leadership of Ana Toni, knows well the dynamics of civil society organizations and the secure steps to be taken. It has a sensible and creative team, which makes the reflections and alliances much more interesting. Combining affection and quality, it is becoming increasingly better as an interconnector between the supporters and supported among the public and private agendas of Brazil. Long live the Institute for Climate and Society!

At all the meeting opportunities, iCS was very transparent, direct and open to discuss ideas – although always having a clear position regarding the issues, it was always open to listen and discuss. When we had problems with the projects, both on the administrative side and on the technical and policy execution side, we could always clearly explain the challenges and feel the understanding and partnership by the iCS to seek solutions together

SUGGESTIONS

I suggest that the feedback processes of reports have a pre–established deadline so that the grantees can monitor and plan the finalization of projects and/or the continuity of the grant/new deposit of funds.

To monitor more closely those financed, suddenly to participate in one of our meetings or to understand the specific challenges we are going through and to try to offer support in some way.

To improve communication with the grantees. To have more contact with the grantees.

To organize events to present its strategy and programs to all the organizations that receive or have received support recently. It would also be a good opportunity to have collaboration workshops between the organizations.

Although it could be thought that it is not a suggestion, it is one: continue with this open and constructive spirit. It is a suggestion because it is reasonably common that institutions lose certain characteristics as they grow and/or time passes. This distinction has to remain. Not only as a national example of a donor institution, but also internationally.

CRITICISMS

To be more transparent and to respect more the more technical opinions (and less political); that balance your vision in the universe of the NGOs, academic knowledge and the corporate organizations.

It is hoped to have the opportunity for longer term support than at present (for 3, 4 and 5 years), which, in the field of climate change, is what will guarantee the generation of sustained impacts.

The insertion tool of online reports should have all the editable text fields in simple HTML, making it possible to link content in the report to facilitate navigation and to guarantee a more user friendly format to the report.

To monitor more closely those financed, suddenly to participate in one of our meetings or to understand the specific challenges we are going through and to try to offer support in some way.

I believe there is still a lack of effort by iCS to monitor the local and national agendas, but it is important to do so, seeking to monitor the emergence of initiatives and groups with a transformative potential. One possible action to be performed in parallel to this would be to support less formalized collectives with mini–grants.

2017 was a very educational year about how the context can change very quickly and also the balance of forces that guide decisions. It is important to consider part of the grants as funds that can be used with all the flexibility required to allow dealing with the changeability of this national context.

 "We are very grateful to the grantees who gave their time and attention to respond to our survey and we guarantee that all the comments have resulted in opportunities for analysis and internal debate, from the reading of the information to team meetings. We expect to perform another similar survey in 2019 because this is an important tool to learn about the perceptions of our grantees" – Martina Rillo and Luiza Souza, institutional relations manager.

iCS - Institute for Climate and Society 2020 | All rights reserved

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