At the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, we strive to work with grantees in ways that align with our Guiding Principles and Philosophy of Grant Practice. Among the most important of these principles is that grantees are our partners. We embrace this principle not only because it is right and appropriate, but because we strongly believe it makes us more effective in achieving our and their goals.
To provide staff with better guidance as to what this partnership model entails in practice, we present Seven Habits of Excellent Work with Grantees. While these cover different facets of our work, they are animated by an underlying, common-sense principle reflected in the proverbial golden rule: Treat grantees and potential grantees as you would wish to be treated in their place.
Our guide fleshes this out to clarify the foundation’s key expectations when it comes to working with grantees. These apply across all programs and initiatives. Yet they are not a simple list of rules, for another of our Guiding Principles is to give staff flexibility and autonomy. Plus, we know that individual program staff do more good things in their work with grantees than are covered in these Seven Habits — good things we mean to encourage. Our goal is to specify a few key behaviors and actions while providing useful guidance on what it means to work in an “excellent” fashion with grantees more generally. We want and expect staff to use discretion and take initiative in applying these principles in the myriad contexts they face in their daily work.
The Seven Habits join a suite of similar guides the foundation has provided for program staff, including how to approach strategy, evaluation, and tracking progress. The primary audience for this guidance is the Hewlett Foundation’s own staff (and we have written in the second person for this reason). As with our other guides, however, we hope these materials may contribute to others’ work, and we welcome their feedback to continue improving our own.
In addition to the full guide, two versions of one-pagers with the seven habits and a worksheet with checklists, questions, reminders, and a monthly tracker to help implement the habits are available for download below. Learn more about our work on the seven habits in this blog post by Lindsay Austin Louie and Fay Twersky.