Short description: A tool to gain a better and more empathetic understanding of your target grantees
Duration: ± 20 - 30 minutes
People: 1 facilitator, ±2-4 participants
Materials: Papers, pens (if done virtually, use any whiteboard platform)



  • When you need to gain more insight and a deeper understanding of your target grantees, such as their mindsets, expectations, and experiences of applying to your program, et cetera.
  • At the end of the research process and the beginning of the design of a funding program, process, or application platform.


  • Each participant fills in each section by answering the prompts with their knowledge of the user and the data gathered through research.
  • Once everyone finishes, gather to discuss and identify key themes.

Why Choose "Empathy Map Canvas"

Gaining a deeper understanding and empathy for your target audiences will enable you to improve your services and in turn, create a greater experience for your users. This is particularly important when funding a community (such as open-source projects) with their own governance and cultures that might be resistant to traditional a typical funding dynamic.

Facilitator’s notes

Encourage participants to think of stress cases (extreme situations that cause unintended consequences) for their ideal grantees. This enables the team to prepare for real grantees' application experiences that might fall out of conventional processes. For example, a good application is submitted by a grantee with a high-risk background.

Category: Funding Approach & Process, Community Engagement