Site visits are important for both the donor and the nonprofit organizations. Bill Somerville, head of Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, has said, “We’re investing in people who are worthy of that investment. You are all investment managers.” So get out there and meet people!
As a donor, you’ll want to investigate four areas:
The Need: Question the nonprofit about the issue at hand in order to give proper context to the discussion. You want to find out about the scope and breadth of the issue and who or what is affected.
The Organization: Question the nonprofit about the organization as a whole, staff, leadership, partners, etc. Its also important to determine whether a strategic plan exists and whether there are contingency and succession plans in place.
The Project: Question the nonprofit about the goals and objectives of the project. How will the money be used and what is the expected impact.
The Future: Question the nonprofit leaders about their ideas, trends and different programs. You want to get their perspective on what’s working and who is also supporting the space.