Scanning Tools/Practices

To get the best and most unvarnished answers to your questions, consider the following scanning techniques to supplement your individual interviews.

  • Surveys. Using a tool like Survey Monkey can be an efficient way to gather information from multiple sources. You can offer people the option of responding anonymously. You can also tabulate and share the survey results with people in your field.
  • Consultants. A consultant who is familiar with a field — and trusted by those working in it — may turn up information and perspectives that might not come as easily to a grantmaker. Moreover, some people may be more comfortable expressing controversial or challenging ideas to a consultant than to a potential funder.
  • Focus Groups. Sometimes funders arrange for targeted focus groups of grantees and others working in a field to provide input about a strategy or program idea. A focus group, as opposed to a one-on-one conversation, can encourage people to focus on issues rather than on whether or not they might receive a grant.
  • Convenings. It’s often helpful to host a convening of stakeholders in a particular field to think creatively about its future. This can be a useful method for learning about important issues, getting feedback about grantmaking ideas and strategies, and seeing how potential grantees interact with each other.
  • Social Media. You can learn a lot by keeping tabs on “likes,” comments, and other responses to items posted (by you or by others) on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Yammer. Blogs in your program area can also help you detect emerging concerns and trends.

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders 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.