27 June 2020 LESSONS Fashion

Partner Perception Report 2019 - C&A Foundation

A man carrying a basket of raw cotton above his head

In February and March of 2019, the Centre for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) undertook the second survey with C&A Foundation’s partners with a 74 percent response rate (86 partners). The Partner Perception Report (PPR) results were compared the previous PPR results from 2016 and to CEP’s broader dataset (CEP funder cohort) of more than 40,000 grantees built up over more than a decade of grantee surveys of more than 250 funders.


Improved relationships with opportunities to strengthen understanding are key to strong funder-partner cooperation

The foundation results improved in comparison to the PPR 2016 on a number of funder-partner [grantee] relationship measures such as: comfort approaching the foundation if a problem arises, responsiveness of foundation staff, clarity of communication of the foundation's goals and strategy and openness to ideas from partners about its strategy.

The foundation partners recognised funder-partner relationships as an area of real growth. Partners rated C&A Foundation at par with the CEP funder cohort for its transparency. According to CEP findings across funders, transparency is one of the two strongest drivers of the strength of funder-partner [grantee] relationships. 

Partner ratings suggested that the foundation has potential to further solidify and strengthen its relationship with partners. Partners perceived that they were treated less fairly than the CEP funder cohort. 

Partners ratings were lower than the CEP funder cohort for the foundation understanding of their local communities and their organizations’ strategies and goals. According to CEP, one of the two strongest predictors of the strength of funder‐partner relationships is the extent to which partners view their funders as understanding their organizations’ strategies and the context in which they are working.

Non-monetary assistance is valuable and the opportunity to provide trusted partners with general operating support is yet to be explored

The proportion of non-monetary assistance given by the foundation was larger in 2019 than the PPR 2016 cohort. A quarter of the partners, larger than the typical CEP funder cohort, reported receiving intensive patterns of non-monetary assistance.

Overall, very little unrestricted general operating support is given by the foundation - only seven percent of partners reported being given core support, compared to 29 percent of partners across the CEP funder cohort.

Opportunity to deepen impact on partners’ fields and organizations continues to exists

As in the PPR 2016, the foundation received lower than CEP funder cohort rating for its perceived impact on partners’ fields and organizations.

Over a third of C&A Foundation partners reported having collaborated with the C&A business through their grant – a smaller proportion than in PPR 2016. These partners rated the foundation significantly more positively for its impact on their fields and organizations. 

Partner ratings also reveal a sense of optimism about the foundation’s potential for impact. Nearly half of the partners strongly agreed that foundation activities across the signature programs will positively transform the global apparel system in the next five years.

Helpful grant making processes were reported alongside a constant sense of pressure

Overall, the helpfulness of C&A Foundation selection processes was rated to be at par with CEP funder cohort. However, the median number of hours spent by partners on foundation requirements over the grant lifecycle was nearly doubled since the PPR 2016. Further, the duration between submission of the grant proposal and a clear commitment of funding had also increased since 2016.

Partners reported high pressure to modify their organizational mandates to develop a grant proposal that is likely to receive funding. CEP’s data from across the funder cohort finds that perceptions of high pressure to modify organizations’ priorities are associated with lower ratings for the overall strength of funder-partner [grantee] relationships. 

Partners rated the reporting process similar to the CEP funder cohort funder for the extent to which it provided helpful opportunities to reflect and learn.

What did we learn?

C&A Foundation

Deepening the understanding of partners, their operating contexts such as local communities, and the strategies and mandates are key to bolster funder-partner [grantee] relationships and achieve meaningful impact

Opportunities to provide trusted and long-term partners with unrestricted support are vital for organisational effectiveness 

Additional opportunities to collaborate with other key actors in the field to orchestrate transformational change is vital to build a coalition of the willing needed for systems change. 

Streamlined grant making processes while maintaining their helpfulness and ensure their alignment to current strategy and goals are important ingredients for effective and efficient grant making.

For Partners & Others

Intensive patterns of non-monetary assistance are highly valued by partners alongside financial support.

Funder practices that value strong partnerships ensure fair and equitable treatment, regardless of gender and diversity.