Open source final reports on grant funded projects?

Sitting in the file cabinets of most foundations are hundreds of thousands of final reports from grantees on projects funded by those foundations.

For some time I’ve been thinking that it is a shame that all that great learning is locked away, inaccessible from others who might put those lessons to good use.

Call it Open Source grant reporting.

My dream is to see all those reports made available on the web. Imagine that you’re sitting in Iowa and thinking about launching an arts mentoring program for high school students. Wouldn’t it be great if your initial googling would not only surface the names of other nonprofits that run arts mentoring programs for you to call, but also produced links to the dozens of reports reflecting on arts mentoring programming from start up to roll out?

I can picture researchers mining these reports and preparing national “lessons learned” papers that can be shared across the industry. Or program officers skipping right away to implement “what worked” rather than rehashing the same missteps and dead ends.

Kudos to those foundations and others who make their final reports available to their colleagues throughout the US. But why wait for the foundations. What if nonprofits posted their own grant project reports on the web to share with their colleagues?

Insanity you say? Who would want to expose themselves in this way?

Even just having short summaries on the web to tempt us would be a great start. Then we could “call for a copy of the full report.”

What do you think? Doable?

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