During my time on the Grand Rapids Youth Grant Committee in Michigan, I was able to participate in a few site visits and I learned why they are so important to the grantmaking process! Site visits can help you determine beforehand which organizations or programs to fund or they can help you see how effectively your funding is being put to use after a grant is given. It is important to be prepared when going on a site visit.
Here are a few tips to help with the site visit process:
1) Before going out on a site visit, it is important to determine what the site visit will help you accomplish. Make sure you and your committee understand why you chose to visit this specific organization or program. It would also be a good idea to communicate those same reasons to the organization you are visiting so they understand the purpose of the visit as well.
2) Don’t forget to re-read the organization’s grant application and write down all of the questions you have. These will come in handy when actually doing the site visit so you can make sure to get all of your important questions answered.
3) Remember to engage and interact with participants benefiting from the organization’s programs if possible on your visit. They will be able to give you important insights into the program since they are the ones directly participating in it.
4) Allow the organization or program you are visiting to ask questions of you too! It is always great to make time for dialogue so that the site visit feels more like a conversation and less like an interview.
5) If you aren’t able to do a site visit due to distance or other factors, another great idea is to have a “virtual site visit” through video chat. Using Google Hangouts or Skype, you can sit and talk with program directors and program participants to get a better feel for the program without traveling. It is also a good idea to create a loose agenda for everyone before your virtual site visit of the topics you want to address.
May 1, 2016
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