Benchmarking Program Officer Roles and Responsibilities

Jun 1, 2017

The role of the program officer at foundations is one of great importance. This is not news to the thousands of nonprofit organizations relying on program officers for crucial information, guidance, and funding. Yet, we know relatively little about the role that program officers play at foundations and with nonprofits. What are the backgrounds and experiences of program officers? What are the job responsibilities on which they spend the most time? How do they view their relationships with grantees? In the following pages, we share the results of a survey we conducted, in mid-2016, to gain a better understanding of the role of the program officer. We sent surveys to over 300 program officers who we randomly selected from foundations that give at least $5 million annually. We received responses from 150 individuals for a response rate of 48 percent.