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Benchmarking Program Officer Roles and Responsibilities

The role of program officer at foundations is an important one — especially to the grantees whose experiences with funders are greatly shaped by their interactions and relationships with their program officers.

Yet, relatively little is known about the intricacies of the program officer role. What are program officers’ backgrounds? On which responsibilities do they spend most of their time? How do they think of their relationships with their grantees?

To learn more about the role that program officers play at foundations and with nonprofits, the Center for Effective Philanthropy surveyed 150 randomly selected program officers at foundations that give at least $5 million annually about their views and experiences.

Based on survey responses, Benchmarking Program Officer Roles and Responsibilities provides a comprehensive collection of benchmarking data on topics ranging from the professional and educational backgrounds of program officers, to technical information about the structure of the program officer role, to program officers’ perspectives on certain aspects of their work, such as the funder-grantee dynamic. 

The survey used to gather information for this report is available here.

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