What We Care About
When we build trust and tap the knowledge and perspective of nonprofits and the communities we serve, we create better solutions.
of funders say they are willing to engage with their grantees in open dialogue about general operating support, but only 32% of nonprofits believe they actually are
When we build trust and tap the knowledge and perspective of nonprofits and the communities we serve, we create better solutions. And investing in building and sustaining these long-term relationships allows us to continue making meaningful progress in our work. We can bridge our knowledge gaps about the communities we serve. We can ensure greater humility by recruiting and retaining staff from nonprofits. And we can improve our own practices by being inclusive of nonprofit and community feedback and insight. Our success as grantmakers is inextricably linked to the strength of our connections with these partners.
Building these relationships requires an investment of time and resources — but they have the ability to shape not just what solutions we pursue but how we support our grantees. GEO’s research shows that grantmakers who are more connected to their grantees are more likely to provide the support that nonprofits need to be successful, such as capacity building and multi-year support. If we’re going to make progress on some of the most deeply entrenched problems in our society, we must directly address existing power dynamics and create strong, trusting relationships with nonprofits.
Strong relationships are never built on transactional engagements; both parties must engage with honesty and integrity, acknowledge the other as a vital part of their success, be willing to have courageous conversations, and have compassion for each other’s humanity.
Kierra Johnson, Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity
Helpful Tools and Resources
Stay informed of the emerging trends and promising practices from the field of philanthropy through GEO’s publications and research.
Perspectives on Philanthropy
Interesting thoughts and ideas circulating in the GEO community.
Addressing the Power Dynamic Through ‘Little Leaps of Logic’
When facing the challenge of tackling the power dynamic, it was easy to lean toward overarching solutions that held the promise of making significant change across an entire field.
Based on a decade of practice and feedback, The Whitman Institute has learned that the following approaches create deep trust and authentic partnership with nonprofits.
Building Movement Project
Building Movement Project’s guide, Nonprofits Integrating Community Engagement (NICE), argues that we need to not only hear feedback from clients but we should build the voice of service beneficiaries into all aspects of our work.
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