Seven Ethical Principles to Collaboration in the Philanthropic Sector:
- Each collaboration should aim to achieve a clear social good. Collaboration is not self-justifying.
- How we collaborate is as important as the goals we seek to accomplish. While it is important to have a goal, considerate and values-driven process matters in collaboration. The ends do not justify the means.
- The social currency, trust and relationships that evolve as part of a collaboration are just as important as — and play a critical role in contributing to — the programmatic outcomes a collaboration seeks to achieve.
- Collaborations should seek to elevate voices from the affected individuals/communities and provide space for their leadership.
- Participants in collaborations should acknowledge power differentials and prioritize an active approach to dealing with them.
- Collaboration carries explicit and implicit costs. The principle of equity should guide resource allocations, including, where appropriate, compensating for participation.
- Reflection and learning are deliberate acts to ensure that a collaborative is living its values and best serving the membership, the community, and the stated goal.
We hope these principles will be helpful in a range of ways, from checking for values alignment with potential partners to providing considerations for the design of a collaboration. We ask grantmakers to consider these principles as a guide to how they approach collaboration, and we invite other practitioners in collaboration to sign on with us to help ensure that value-driven collaboration is not subordinated to, but is held jointly with, outcomes-driven collaboration.
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