Tutorial 6: Trust-based Philanthropy is a Growing Trend
Trust-based philanthropy’s (TBP) origins can be traced entirely or mainly to the Whitman Institute (WI). As quoted on the WI website: “The seeds of trust-based philanthropy were planted in 2013.” Today, the work started by WI staffers has permeated the philanthropic sector. Many large and small philanthropic support organizations worldwide hold webinars or discussions about this practice with their members. As mentioned previously, the Council on Foundations and its partners got over 700 committed pledges around grant making practices more favorable to nonprofits, which include some of the TBP tenets. Many of us hope that funders will continue these practices even when the COVID-19 crisis ends.
Four Key Recommendations From Trust-Based Philanthropy Project
- Give Multi-Year Unrestricted Funding: This is the strong wish among leaders of countless NGOs across the globe. In an attempt to represent the voice of many in this sector, nonprofits cannot make plans without knowing how much money they can count on having. Simply guessing is experienced as being futile. Unrestricted funding enables NGOs to use cash as needed to cover expenses and grow their work. Most nonprofit leaders will agree that not having the funding needed when needed it is a major hindrance to achieving progress. Phil Buchanan, President of Center for Effective Philanthropy and Author of Giving Done Right, mentioned a rare but potentially very potent combination: Large, multi-year unrestricted giving.
- Simplify and Streamline Paperwork: Typically, the amount of time nonprofits spend doing paperwork to acquire grants and report afterward is enormous. For this reason, part of the Council on Foundation’s pledge involved reducing the amount of work grantors require from grantees.
- Do the Homework: TBP advocates do not suggest that funders abandon due diligence practices. However, they do ask funders to do their homework. As found on the TBP website: “Trust-based philanthropy makes it the funder’s responsibility to get to know grantees, saving nonprofits time in the vetting process.”
- Be Transparent and Responsive: As stated on the TBP website: “Open communication helps build relationships rooted in trust and mutual accountability. When funders model transparency, power awareness, and vulnerability, it signals to grantees that they can show up more fully.”