Information for Foundations

Why do foundations hire us?


Through our network of consultants, a foundation can offer organisational development support to all of their grantees, all over the world from Chile to Japan, on any topic they may need, often from experts who are close to them culturally and understand their context. 


We offer a personal approach. We meet your grantees to discuss their needs. We maintain close relationships with the grantees over the years, even after the foundation stops funding them. Consulting projects are all bespoke and result from a discussion between the grantee and their chosen consultant, no cookie-cutter. Likewise, our trainings take place in small groups of between 6 to 12, to allow meaningful interaction with peers: no moocs, no self-learning!


We've also put together a suite of services that are suited to all grantees of all levels. Our training courses and capacity coaches are ideal for young organisations and teams, while more mature organisations really appreciate working with consultants on bespoke organisational development projects.


Last but not least, we take care of all the red tape and paperwork of delivering capacity building services to your grantees. Reviewing statements or work, contracting, quality assurance check-ins, payments: foundations simply introduce us to their grantees and we take care of the rest.



How does the process work?

To simplify, the foundations usually give us a grant to provide their grantees with organisational development support. We spend down the grant as grantees consume organisational development services they need: coaching, consulting, training. Foundations usually approve all consulting projects and participations in trainings, and they can track all activities and expenses in the CRM.


How do we start work with a foundation: 

  1. Preparatory discussions with the foundation's organisational effectiveness lead: needs, profile and numbers of grantees, how to roll out the service, budget estimation.
  2. Signature of the grant or contract, and setup of the foundation's space in the CRM
  3. Induction session for foundation programme officers
  4. Information about the program to grantees, induction sessions if needed
  5. Grantees start using the service, either referred by their program officer or on their own initiative.


>> See our foundation onboarding workflow



How a grantee typically use the service?

  1. The foundation program officers introduce us to the grantees that need support by email (or the grantee may access the platform on their own initiative).
  2. We reach out to the grantee for a Zoom call of about 45 minutes. We ask them about their aspirations, about what capacity factors are holding them back, and what they would like to focus in the next 6 to 12 months. After the call we send them an email with a recap of their needs and our suggestions as to the most suitable consultants or coaches for them.
  3. The grantee then books calls with the consultant or coach of their choice (the initiative must come from them). If there is a mutual desire to work together, the consultant draws up a statement of work together with the grantee, we review it and send it to the foundation for (rapid) approval.
  4. The consultant or coach and grantee work together to complete the project. We check in regularly to make sure they are making progress and the relationship is good.
  5. After the project is finished, we pay the consultant, and collect feedback from both the grantee and the consultant.  


How much does it cost? How does our fee model work?


We offer a fee model which is mostly consumption-based. This means that apart from the 15% overhead for indirect costs, the foundation only pays if its grantees are active and using the services. 


Foundations usually issue yearly grants of between 100'000 USD and 250'000 USD, benefitting between 15 and 35 grantees actively using the service (a good heuristic is 5000 USD per active grantee, some will consume more, and some less). Reach out to discuss what would be best for you, based on the needs and numbers of your grantees and what you can invest.


Our overhead is 30% of the total grant value. Half of it covers the direct support we give to your grantees: needs assessment and matching, project coodination, quality assurance. So we consider it to be a direct cost. The other half is invested back into improving the platform: finding more consultants, coaches & trainers, developing new services, building and perfecting our CRM, managment and administration. This work benefits the whole community of users.





Trial: foundations may test the service on a no-contract basis, for one or two consultant engagements, meaning Nonprofit Builder will send a Statement of Work for approval to the foundation, and will invoice the foundation once the work is completed. This no-contract option also enables the foundation to to deal with urgent grantee needs while the grant is being processed. 

Directory-only access: access to all the consultants in our directory for all your Foundation’s staff and grantees. Cost: 15’000 USD per year for access for all your foundation'a staff and unlimited grantees.


Do grantees and consultants have to pay to join?

  • Grantees: Its of course free for grantees because their foundations cover their participation and activities (if several foundations cover the same grantee, the costs can be shared, we are in a position to offer this fine-tuned follow-up)
  • Consultants: we do not charge consultants anything, because of the conflict of interest: it may bias us against unpublishing consultants who do not perform well.


What contracts formats do you use?

Most foundations give us a contract in the form of a grant. Some prefer a standard service provider contract. We are happy to adapt to what works best for your foundation and can supply templates as needed.


What about the reporting to foundations? 

  • In our CRM we maintain a list of all grantee projects, including a budget versus actuals report, so the foundation can see at any time who is consuming what services.
  • Once a year, at the end of the contract, we provide a narrative and financial report. We can also create intermediate reports if required by the grant rules.
  • We keep the foundations funds on a dedicated bank account and the foundation may receive the bank statements at any time, with all transactions.
  • As of 2022, our annual accounts will be audited externally and the auditor's reports will be published here.


Where are we based and what is our status?

We are headquartered 57 GrandRue, in Coppet, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland (see map). We are registered in Switzerland as a limited liability company since May 2018, our incorporation can be found here in the Swiss federal company register


What about VAT and GST?

As we are based in Switzerland, most consultants do not charge VAT (Value Added Tax) or GST (Goods and Services Tax) to as they are in other countries. So this means an additional saving for foundations working through us, as VAT rates are typically between 20% and 25%.



How do we vet consultants?


Recommendations: most of our consultants are recommended by member foundations, grantees, or other consultants. In some cases we pro-actively search for consultants to fill gaps, in this case we ask for references. 


Interviews: We interview all new consultants, as part of our vetting process, but also to learn about their expertise and methodologies and working style. This allow us to make matches that really work.


Close accompaniment during the first engagement: we watch closely how the consultant performs during the first engagement. If they are not responsive enough, or if their statements of work show a lack of effort, we stop the engagement and orient the grantee towards another consultant.


Satisfaction surveys: we ask the grantee if they would recommend their consulant to others, how they benefited, and how the consultant may improve their service. If needed we will call the grantee for a candid discussion.


How can a foundation get the most out of the Nonprofit Builder?


Offer it to all or most grantees: It works best if the foundation offers the Nonprofit Builder service to all of its grantees, so as not to deprive those who urgently need support. Practice shows that, we will not be overwhelmed, as not all grantees will make same use of the service. Some will want to make an immediate use, perhaps 20%, while the others will join gradually. If the foundation is large, say over 120 grantees, we may pilot it with one programme to start, or send a questionnaire to all grantees to gauge the interest and prepare for the demand.


Involve the foundation's programme officers: they play an important role they will know the grantees well, are aware of their organisational issues, and are in the best position to refer them to the Nonprofit Builder. So it's very important for the programme officers to know us and for us to know them. For this reason, we strongly recommend to organise induction sessions with the program officers so we get to know each other and they understand how the service works.


Allow the grantees consume according to their needs: a minority of grantees are much more ambitious and hungry to work on their capacity, and may have the bandwith for several projects per year. These are the most active learners and perhaps the grantees with most impact. Most will only complete one project to address a burning issue, or attend a couple of courses. Others still may never use the service. These are normal consumption patterns.


How do we measure results and impact?


Satisfaction surveys: Immediately after the a consulting project, we send a questionnaire asking the grantees about their satisfaction with the grantee. In some cases we do a follow-up call to be sure the grantee can express themselves candidly. Likewise, we also evaluate our training programs very extensively, so we can continuously adapt and improve the quality and relevance of the offering.


Long term impact: We also do longitudinal impact interviews, usually 6 months after the last consulting project has finished, so see what impact it really had for the grantee, what progress they have made. We also discuss where they are now in their organisational development journey, and what they would like to accomplish next, so we can continue to support them.


External evaluations by funders: several of our funders are evaluating our work: Laudes Foundation just completed an evaluation, and Segal Family Foundation and Choose Love will evaluate us later this year. External evaluations give us the most valuable insights on how to improve our services because they include anonymised feedback grantees who can speak candidly.


Want to learn more? Please reach out!


>> Book a meeting with Nonprofit Builder CEO Anna Kondratyuk

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