Last year, we commissioned The Center for Effective Philanthropy to conduct an Assessment Report of our stakeholders and we’re happy to share with you the key findings from this report.
The STAR provides comprehensive analysis and comparative data that helps us understand how our performance in several key areas is perceived by audiences such as non-profit organizations, other funders, government officials and community leaders.
This is the second time we’ve commissioned a Stakeholder Assessment Report; the first survey was completed in 2010.
Back in 2010, though stakeholders overall rated the Foundation positively, they were less positive about the Foundation’s impact, and particularly about the Foundation’s effect on public policy. Stakeholder perceptions also varied significantly by region, with stakeholders in central New York having a much less favorable view of the Foundation than stakeholders in western New York or outside of either region.
We took the results of that survey seriously and developed an action plan to address any areas where we saw that we needed to improve.
Staff set out to improve our communication of the foundation’s role and impact in the communities we serve; improve the effect of the Foundation’s work on public policy; and increase the Foundation’s visibility and presence, particularly in central New York.
Steps included bringing on additional staff, expanding the presence of the Foundation in central New York, increasing our outreach into the community and increasing our focus on public policy where relevant.
To find out what progress we’ve made in achieving those objectives, CEP surveyed more than 1,000 stakeholders in June 2015, receiving 365 completed responses for a 34 percent response rate.
What we found was that overall, our 2015 stakeholder ratings have improved since 2010, and are now similar to, or even more positive than other similar funders’ stakeholder feedback.
In particular, we learned that stakeholders have significantly improved impressions of the Health Foundation and have increasingly positive perceptions about our impact. Our stakeholders strongly agree that the Foundation has upheld its commitment to keep people at the center of its work and rate their impressions of the Foundation’s understanding of key issues significantly more positively than in the past (an average of 5.93 on a 1 to 7 scale compared to 5.69 in 2010.).
Our stakeholders also have a much stronger understanding of the foundation’s goals and strategies and nearly all (96%) agree we’ve chosen the right goals
For the extent of the Foundation’s effect on public policy, stakeholders rate the Health Foundation significantly more positively than in 2010, with ratings jumping from 4.32 in 2010 to 4.85 in 2015.
When asked to describe the Foundation in one word, the most frequently used words are “innovative,” “community” and “collaborative.”
In addition, we heard from our stakeholders that our staff is a valuable resource. Stakeholders told us that they have had increasingly positive interactions with the Health Foundation and frequently consult with our staff, rating it as the most helpful of the Foundation’s resources in supporting their own organization’s work.
Of those that have worked with the Foundation in the past, (e.g., received funding from or partnered with the Health Foundation) they agree most strongly that “There was significant value in my collaborations with the Foundation” and “HFWCNY is easy to work with.”
When asked about our overall strengths and weaknesses, our most frequently mentioned strength is leadership/staff, while the second most frequently mentioned strength is our mission and strategic focus. Stakeholders describe the Foundation’s “focused approach,” “commitment to important issues,” and as being “oriented to long-range goals.” They also mention our “ability to convene” and “collaborate” and reference specific programs, particularly The Fellows Action Network.
At the same time, though, the Foundation’s mission and strategic focus is also the most frequently mentioned weakness and the most commonly mentioned suggestion for improvement. Stakeholders describing this aspect of the foundation as a weakness frequently reference the Foundation’s “narrow focus” and “limited geographic scope of work.”
Assessing a foundation’s performance can be challenging at times, but feedback from our stakeholders is essential if we want to learn, grow and improve. Five years ago, we identified some challenges and took action, and we’re happy to see that action has resulted in positive changes.
To read the executive summary of the Stakeholder Assessment Report, click here.
Want even more? Check out the full report here.