SITE VISIT POLICY

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The Renton Community Foundation (RCF) is committed to investing donor’s contributions wisely.  To do this, RCF must have a deeper understanding of how a potential grantee/non-profit organization (NPO) will manage and use grant funds.  As a result, RCF can provide donors with information to help them make informed decisions and provide confidence that their donations will do the work they intended.

 

POLICY

 

It shall be the policy of the Renton Community Foundation to conduct a site visit on all NPOs before a financial grant is made and to evaluate the need to do follow-up visits before additional grants are made. 

 

Site visits give RCF an opportunity to meet with organizations face-to-face, learning firsthand details related to how efficiently they will use grant money: staffing, budgeting, programs, financial viability, strategic planning and composition of the board.  It is also an opportunity for the organization to bring their programs “to life” in a way that does not appear on paper. 

 

Site visits can take several forms:

  • Pre-grant assessments

  • Grant monitoring assessments

  • Post grant evaluations

 

PURPOSE OF THE SITE VISIT

 

Site visits do not guarantee funding by the Foundation, but rather help the Foundation to build relationships and determine the advisability of investing in a particular organization or program, or in the case of multi-year grants, determine if the second-half of the grant money will be forthcoming. 

 

Sites visits allow RCF to:

 

  • Gather concrete information that will aide in the decision-making process

  • Verify accuracy of information contained in grant proposals

  • Identify similarities and differences between organizations

  • Experience first-hand what the people and program(s) have to offer

 

Information obtained through a site visit will be stored and/or entered into a data bank for use during the grant review process and/or when donors are evaluating their options when establishing funds or recommending grants.  Results will not be made public, but will be made available to the evaluated organization upon request.

 

SITE VISIT PROCESS

 

  1. In advance of a site visit, RCF will verify an organization’s tax exempt status by requesting the IRS Determination/Ruling Letter and any information relating to name changes and stand-alone status (if the organization falls under another charity’s umbrella).

  2. Once it has been established the organization meets the required tax-exempt status, a team of volunteers and/or staff will contact the organization to establish a mutually agreeable date and time for the site visit. 

  3. Once the date has been set, RCF will help the organization prepare for the visit by forwarding an outline that includes what materials and personnel should be made available for the interview. 

  4. If the organization has formally applied for a grant, the grant request will be made available to the site visit committee in advance so they are aware of specific program details to be evaluated.

  5. While much of the evaluation is subjective, the site visit team will utilize the Site Visit Evaluation Form in order to gather information in a similar fashion and ensure consistency to the process.  All site visit teams will be trained on this material and share a common purpose and approach to the evaluation.

  6. Results of the site visit will be provided to the grant committee and/or donor for use in their review process.

  7. Any recommendations for improvement may be shared with the organization in an effort to help strengthen their ability to achieve future grants.