Ellie Buteau, Mark Chaffin and Ramya Gopal suggest:
- Foundation and nonprofit CEOs are not aligned in two areas: the value of increased foundation transparency and whether or not foundations support nonprofits’ efforts to collect data to assess their performance.
- The lack of a clear definition of foundation transparency is not surprising. Some argue that transparency is achieved through disclosure of financial and governance information, such as a foundation’s Form 990; audited financial statements; or governance information such as organizational bylaws, codes of conduct, and lists of boards of directors (Rey-Garcia, Martin-Cavanna, & Alvarez-Gonzalez, 2012; Foundation Center, 2013)
- Nonprofits are looking for a different kind of transparency from foundations, being “clear, open, and honest about the processes and decisions that are relevant to nonprofits’ work,” including what foundations are learning through their work; how foundations assess performance and the impact they are having; and foundations’ selection processes and funding decisions (Brock, Buteau, & Gopal, 2013, p. 6). That same study found that nonprofits are not asking foundations to be more forthcoming with financial information, for better access to contact information for foundation staff, or for more information about changes to leadership or program staff.
- Foundation and nonprofit CEOs seem to be aligned on the value of nonprofit-performance assessment, but nonprofits find that foundations are not supporting nonprofits’ performance assessment efforts