Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Listening to You

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Feb. 1 Director’s Notes covered results of our recent Customer Service Survey. Some 128 grantees, former grantees and organizations declined funding participated in the anonymous survey.

The Journalism Program first asked for our customer opinions in 2008 and in response made a number of procedural changes. (Incidentally, we showed incremental improvement in nearly all customer service categories in 2011 when compared with the 2008 results.)

Last month, we shared the findings with other McCormick Foundation programs. After reviewing the results, some of our colleagues plan to launch similar customer service surveys later this year.

We take this “pulse of the customer” stuff very seriously and now will undertake surveys every other year.  The data will become a permanent part of our learning agenda.

Here are some other changes we are making in response to the 2011 survey results:
  • We are issuing regular e-newsletters that will include information about the Journalism Program and its grantees. Also, you may have noticed an updated layout for our blog, including the punchier nickname M3 (McCormick Media Matters).
  • We will publish our evaluation logic model later this month.
  • We are actively soliciting grantees for quotes, interviews, photos, videos and ideas for postings.  Check out our Best of, Brainstorm, Blueprint and Backto You features.
  • A year-end recap to explain the realities of funding and chances of success. 
  • We will attempt to customize decline letters to better explain why proposals were declined. Some proposals are bad fits. Many others are declined because of limited funds during a highly selective process.  
  • We will continue to accept letters of inquiry year-round for grant requests of less than $50,000.  They will be reviewed by staff in February, July and November. Top McCormick management approval is   required before grants can be paid out. We will attempt to release grant checks of $50,000 or less in March, August and December.
  • Letters of inquiry for grants of more than $50,000 must be submitted by May 1, 2012. These proposals will be reviewed by our Board of Directors in September and paid out in January of 2013.
The Feb. 15 Director’s Notes will provide details of a new online letter of inquiry and proposal process tied to our grant management process.

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