Giving Compass' Take:

• Jovana Djordjevic and Ruby Johnson of FRIDA (the Young Feminist Fund) explain why letting grantees determine priorities through participatory grantmaking helps put power into the right hands.

• This practice also gives each side of the grantmaking relationship more accountability and builds trust. How can we shift our philanthropic mentality in this way?

• Read more about non-traditional ways funders can support grantees.

To some, participatory grantmaking may seem like the flavor of the month — an experimental, value-based model without proven impact or a strong cost/benefit argument. What we see is that it is not a new or temporary practice, but something many have successfully practiced for decades. Participatory grantmaking mirrors and is fueled by changes at the community and movement level. At the core of this practice is a commitment to transform power in relationships between those with resources and those without. It enables grantseekers to be actively involved in decisions about their realities rather than passive aid recipients. The changes and innovations in funding and philanthropy are often driven by communities that are demanding to be heard. Participatory grantmaking is driven by the need for representation, transparency, accountability to movements and risk-taking in a changing world.

In FRIDA’s experience, participatory processes enable clear connections between communities and movements, offering concrete opportunities for mutual learning for grantmakers and grantseekers. As groups are peer reviewing each others' applications, they share that they feel increased accountability between the groups — those who voted and those who receive the grant. After each cycle, we share with all the groups that were part of the voting process a short report on how the groups they voted are doing and their work. Groups do not only communicate with the funder but with the broader movement that supported their application, which supports to build horizontal accountability.

Read the full article about the power of participatory grantmaking by Jovana Djordjevic at GrantCraft.