Personal Strategy

Mobilizing Your Self for Effective Grantmaking

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Whether it's introducing new ideas into your foundation or offering constructive feedback to a grantee, grantmakers can develop personal strategies to meet the "soft" challenges of grantmaking. Effective personal strategy helps practitioners use their understanding of self and role - as learner, analyst, bridge builder - to manage the tensions that come with the job. In this guide, contributors discuss the elements of personal strategy and how it helps grantmakers to leverage their strengths in service to their objectives. The guide also explores why some grantmakers are able to think and work like "naturals" - and how the rest of us can emulate their style.

  • Understanding one's role and why it matters
  • Thinking like a natural in difficult situations
  • Reflective practice techniques for effectiveness

"My heart sank at that meeting. I could tell that he felt this was hurdle jumping — and unnecessary and undignified."

- A grantmaker recalling the moment when negotiations with a grantseeker seemed to get off track

"I often feel uncomfortable about saying No to applicants. How do I know this proposal isn't going to work? Am I missing something important?"

- A grantmaker reflecting on how the familiar task of declining grantseekers becomes confusing and burdensome

"The soft things are hard."

- A veteran grantmaker explaining that the toughest challenges of the job come in managing relationships