What is Scanning?

A way to see more broadly. Scanning can help you learn about a new field or stay on top of new developments in an ongoing program area. As one funder put it, “Every foundation has its own culture with preconceived notions of what the immediate needs are. It’s essential to get a broader perspective.” A U.S.-based program officer who supports workforce development reported that a scan turned up a completely new, unexpected direction. “Until we had our focus groups, I hadn’t realized how important organized labor would be in my work. That was not something I came to the grantmaker role with.” 

A way to listen and respond. Foundations are sometimes seen, rightly or not, as unaccountable to the communities they work in. The process of consulting people about needs and opportunities can also be a way to make your efforts more responsive to community needs — and can demonstrate that you are really listening. After hearing “over and over about the need for dental care” in community forums, for example, a newly creaated statewide health care foundation decided to do some strategic grantmaking in that area. 

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by GrantCraft using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Scanning the Landscape 2.0.