Giving Compass’ Take:
• Bill Hoffman, writing for GuideStar, describes how funder partnerships with nonprofits should be built on mutual trust, rather than transactional and one-sided.
• How can philanthropists create meaningful partnerships with nonprofits? What are the outcomes when this happens?
Funders are used to hearing different versions of the meaning of “partnership” from nonprofits wanting to work with them (aka receive funding). All too often the proposed “partnership” involves the funder supporting the initiatives or priorities the applicant brings forward with minimal input from the funder.
On the other hand, the applicant sees that the funder 1) has “a lot of money” and 2) supports [insert general category the nonprofit works in]. Therefore the funder is fair game to “partner.”
Partnerships come in many varieties. But generally, partnerships involve equal partners serving as collaborative thought leaders, working toward a solution to a common challenge. Partnerships are based on trust, common interest, and mutual respect for what each player brings to the process. Each partner recognizes that it doesn’t have all the answers and relies on the perspectives of the other partners to enhance the approach that all partners work on implementing. Strong partnerships do not develop quickly, nor do they dissolve quickly under pressure.
What partnerships are not are simple funding relationships. Those are more accurately called transactional relationships.
Since you are interested in Impact Philanthropy, have you read these selections from Giving Compass related to impact giving and Impact Philanthropy?
Funder-nonprofit partnering involves incorporating different perspectives, giving up a level of control, and making compromises...Funders usually focus on outcomes, not processes.
The different perspectives partners bring to an issue can lead to new or more effective solutions…the beauty of partnering for long-term solutions is that it is more likely to lead to funding being renewed, allowing the partnership to continue to work toward those long-term solutions.
A level of trust develops. Failing in order to learn better approaches is much more acceptable when partnering instead of simply funding a program. And the beauty of partnering for long-term solutions is that it is more likely to lead to funding being renewed, allowing the partnership to continue to work toward those long-term solutions.
Partnerships with funders take a commitment of time to establish and may not be easy, but they can lead to amazing long-term results.
Read the full article about transparency by Bill Hoffman at GuideStar Blog
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