An important philanthropic project was just announced. It’s an extension of a movement that’s been discussed for years, bandied about with varying degrees of success, and is now implemented by some foundations, including the Day One Families Fund – Jeff Bezos official entry into philanthropy. This movement plays a key part in the Fluxx mission, and we hope to see this employed more often. We’re talking of course about the recently announced Trust-Based Philanthropy Project.
The Trust-Based Philanthropy Project aims to reimagine traditional funder-grantee relationships and they “work with foundations to create a philanthropic ecosystem that is trust-based.” The founders of this movement – The Headwaters Foundation, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and Whitman Institute – aim to do this by providing tools and resources to grantmakers that help them approach their work with transparency and humility. This is the kind of work that will help build a thriving philanthropic network, so we can all better serve grantees, our impact, and missions!
The Network is Growing
Yes, the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project isn’t the only project of its kind. For years funders have researched and examined their own entrenched power imbalances, partnered with grantees in the hopes of better serving their beneficiaries, and developed internal plans to allow for more transparent philanthropy. Rather, this project is a continuation of concerted efforts – a coalescing of years-long attempts to solve long-standing problems.
What’s different about this project is that at the end of its five years, Trust-Based Philanthropy plans to offer their network concrete steps that would allow for a better relationship with grantees – a relationship built on partnership. This is the network that Fluxx aims to support. We believe that a coordinated network of philanthropists and grantees, a network built on communication and supported by tools that provide transparency and lead to quick action and measurable impact, is the future of philanthropy. But much like this project, this work won’t be accomplished without help.
Applied Technology Will Improve Funder Transparency and Accountability
The Trust-Based Philanthropy Project encourages funders to adjust their process in six ways including: giving multi-year unrestricted funding, simplifying and streamlining paperwork, offering responsive transparency, soliciting and acting upon grantee feedback, providing support beyond the check, and encouraging grantmakers to do their own homework. This is where technology can really help facilitate change. The right technology acts as a partner to your organization will make these efforts easier for any team.
Technology Will Help You Streamline
The best way to streamline your granting processes and eliminate excessive paperwork is to digitize them by employing a grants management solution. A grants management platform not only eliminates the need for paper mailers – for example Fluxx Grantmaker integrates with DocuSign so all your important documents can be tracked, signed, sealed, and delivered digitally – but makes it easy for you to assess your work and determine what’s really required by law and for an initiative, and what paperwork just clogs grantee inboxes. A true grants management partner will also help you assess your processes, documents and requirements, so you can make the best choice for yourself and your grantees.
Technology Will Improve Transparency
Say your grantees want to know where they stand in your evaluation process, or be notified instantly when they need to provide additional information, or maybe they just want to know exactly when their check is expected to clear. Or you want to understand where an application is stuck in the review process to kick it back in motion. A modern grants management system will provide you with visibility on your grants pipeline. With automated alerts and email notifications it will help keep your team and grantees meet their deadlines.
Transparency builds trust, so you, in turn, can deepen your relationships with your grantees and work together towards the impact you’re both hoping to achieve.
We believe technology is an essential enabler that allows both funders and grantees to collaborate more deeply and further evaluate their work. As the principals of trust-based philanthropy become further ingrained in the giving process, we expect to see technology rose up to meet the funders and doers where they are, and we, at Fluxx, are ready for that.