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Take-Aways from the 2022 Member Pulse Survey

Monday, May 16, 2022

Earlier this year, Philanthropy Network conducted its second Member Pulse Survey to learn more about how regional funders are continuing to adapt and evolve their grantmaking practices and priorities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic downturn and the ongoing impact of systemic racism. 

New in this year’s survey were questions relating to members’ internal operations, including policies, benefits and compensation. Open between January 27 and March 4, 2022, we received 49 responses as compared to 74 received for the 2021 pulse survey. (An executive summary of the 2021 Member Pulse Survey results is available here.)

Top Take-Aways

The 2022 results pointed to some high-level trends, including:

  • Most expect the changes they made over the course of the pandemic to be long-term or permanent
  • While some have participated in funding collaboratives, many express uncertainty about pursuing similar activities in the future
  • Project grants are still common, but General Operating Support has emerged as the most frequently provided type of support
  • The majority report grantmaking assets and budgets have increased or held steady over the past two years
  • Benefits and compensation practices vary significantly between part- and full- time staff, with few reporting having a formal compensation policy
  • While Racial/Social Justice is a top priority, momentum for making changes in practice that support racial equity seems to have stalled
  • A low number view Public Policy/Advocacy as a priority

Further details on the survey results are summarized below.

Grantee/Community Concerns

In addition to asking members about their own priorities and practices, we invited them to share any specific feedback or concerns they’ve heard from their grantees and community partners. Among those mentioned were:

  • Nonprofit staff experiencing fatigue, burnout, mental health issues and the need for wellness support
  • The impact of the “Great Resignation” and challenges of employee recruitment/retention
  • The need for more flexible funding, including general operating and multi-year support
  • Calls to simplify reporting requirements
  • Identifying sustainable, post-pandemic funding streams for nonprofits (especially arts & culture organizations) as government relief and recovery funds dry up

Summary of Survey Results

Grantmaking Practices
  • The top funding practice implemented in response to the pandemic was to expand/modify funding criteria to address emerging needs (33%), while 50% of respondents reported making no changes to their criteria.
  • In most categories, approximately twice the number of respondents reported making changes in 2020 as compared to 2021. 
  • A majority (65%) said they expected to continue newly-adopted practices in the long term.
Philanthropic Approaches
  • Comparing pre-2020 to 2021, the only practice that saw an increase in reported participation was Mission-Aligned Investing, up from 31 to 46 percent.
  • During the same period, other categories remained the same (trust-based philanthropy, 47%) or decreased (collaborative/collective funding, 61% to 56%) and participatory/community driven grantmaking, 53% to 33%)
  • The most frequently cited collaborative/collective fund that participants were part of was the COVID-19 Prevention & Response Fund
  • The majority (65%) said they were unsure if they would pursue a collaborative funding opportunity moving forward. 
Racial Equity
  • Nearly all practices/activities identified saw a significant increase in period from pre-2020 to 2021, and some increase from 2020 to 2021. 
  • The practice of gathering grantee demographic data related to racial equity remained steady at 55% over the time period covered by the survey.
  • About 80% of respondents reported taking steps to increase board diversity pre-2020, but only 42% reported undertaking that action in 2020 or 2021.
  • Over three-quarters of respondents (77%) expect the racial equity practices they have adopted to be long-term or permanent.
Grantmaking Assets and Budget
  • Twenty out of 24 (83%) respondents said that their charitable assets increased in 2021, and 17 out of 25 (68%) reported an increase in their grantmaking budget.
  • Nearly all respondents expect their grantmaking budget to either increase (44%) or remain the same (52%) in 2022.
  • In 2021, a higher percent of respondents reported both an increase (68%) and decrease (20%) in their grants budget, as compared to 2022 rates of increase (44%) and decrease (4%).
Grants Profile
  • In 2021, nearly all respondents reported the number of grant applications either increased or remained about the same; only 1 in 23 said the number of applications had decreased. 
  • Similarly, most respondents reported the number of grants they made either increased or remained about the same in 2021; only 3 of 23 said the number of grants made had decreased. 
  • Just over half of respondents (12 of 23) said the size of their grants had increased.
Types of Support
  • The highest number of respondents (82%) reported providing grants for General Operating Support; followed by Project (74%), One-time COVID-19 relief (70%) and Multi-year (65%)
  • The most frequently-provided types of support for racial equity were Capacity-building grants to BIPOC-led organizations (60%) and Leadership development for BIPOC individuals and Advocacy for racial/gender/social justice or anti-oppression (40% each)


  • Over 60% of respondents reported offering these traditional benefits to full-time employees including: Health, Dental/Vision, Retirement Plan, PTO, Workers’ Compensation, Sick Days and Parental Leave. 
  • A higher number reported offering Work from Home (76%) and Office Closures/Holidays (73%) for full-time employees, while just over half (58%) said they offer Professional Development Allowance and Flex-time.
  • Across all categories, a significantly lower number of respondents offered benefits to part-time employees, and were more likely to offer non-financial supports such as holidays, work from home, and flextime.


  • Full-time employees were more likely to get an increase based on Performance (57%) versus Cost of Living (45%), while the opposite was true for part-time employees, with slightly more receiving an increase based on Cost of Living (30%) over Performance (28%)


  • Most respondents (83%) report having a Conflict of Interest Policy, and more than half say they have policies for Investments (70%), Document Retention/Destruction (70%), Code of Ethics/Whistleblower (64%), Confidentiality (59%), and Personnel (52%).
  • Less than one-third have policies covering Remote Work (29%), Compensation (24%) or Diversity (14%)

*new in 2022

Outlook: Priorities for 2022
  • At 27%, Racial/Social Justice was the highest ranked Top Priority Issue, with nearly two-thirds of respondents (74%) selecting Racial/Social Justice as a Top or High Priority.
  • At 46%, Ongoing COVID-19 response was the next issue most frequently cited as High priority.
  • While 25% of respondents listed Public policy / Advocacy as a High Priority, half deemed it an Average or Low Priority. 
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