Giving Compass’ Take:
• Kris Putnam-Walkerly argues that philanthropists must work to earn respect, and do not inherently deserve it by virtue of their wealth. She outlines ways that donors can best serve those they aim to help and earn respect.
• How else can philanthropists earn respect? What philanthropic practices are harming the sector and losing organizations respect?
• Read the best practices of extraordinary grantmakers.
In our culture, we’ve been trained that those with money are those who deserve our respect. Of course, we all know that this is not true in practice. There are many wealthy people for whom many of us have little or no respect, because they demonstrate little or no respect for others. Unfortunately, the same is true for philanthropy.
Creating a legacy of respect starts with a donor, and it grows throughout his or her entire philanthropic operation. Here are six simple strategies to cultivate from day one.
1. Always return phone calls and reply to emails promptly. It seems simple, but responsiveness is an area of respect in which many funders frequently fail.
2. Go where the grantees are. No matter how nice your offices, it takes time and at least some expense for nonprofits to travel to you for meetings
3. Simplify your grantmaking process. Nothing says “disrespect” more than a needlessly cumbersome grantmaking process.
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4. Speed up. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen funders take months to develop a request for proposals, only to give grantees mere weeks in which to respond.
5. Seek and value the input of those you serve. You may have the capital, but those on the ground have the knowledge and insight about needs and solutions that will ultimately make your philanthropic investments more successful.
6. Communicate openly and often. Respectful funders treat grantees as partners, and good partnerships require ongoing, honest communication.
Incorporate these six strategies starting today, and you’ll develop a culture of respect that will grow into a hallmark of everything you do.
Read the full article about how to earn more respect in philanthropy by Kris Putnam-Walkerly at Putnam Consulting.
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