If you were to ask leaders of funding organizations if they believe their relationship with grantees would be more impactful with open, transparent communication, deeper relationships and mutual accountability, they would most likely agree.

However, a recent study found that only 10 percent of funding organizations practice the principles of trust-based philanthropy, which emphasize the importance of organizational structure, culture and leadership described above.

Here at the Pincus Family Foundation, we are committed to advancing the principles of trust-based philanthropy, and serving as a leader not just in word but in action.

With more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, I’ve seen firsthand how the traditional power dynamics between nonprofits and funding organizations can wreak havoc on both organizations’ ability to thrive. Nonprofits feel the pressure to spotlight their successes while minimizing their challenges out of fear that they may compromise their funding opportunities. On the other side, grantmakers enter into financial support agreements without realizing the full scope of the needs and challenges before them.

When grantmaking organizations hold all the power, the mission of the nonprofit can become secondary to the funder’s demands. As a result, grantees often feel trapped, not knowing if the funding provided today will continue in the future. There’s nothing like finding out that your organization’s renewal funding will be terminated — drastically impacting your operating budget. When I walk into a meeting with a potential grantee, I am quick to share that we are here to listen. We are not coming in with a list of demands and expectations, but rather, as a partner ready to learn about their aspirations, struggles and concerns in our shared area of interest.

We operate our foundation under the tenet of trust-based philanthropy — an effort to redistribute the power systemically, organizationally and interpersonally with the aim of creating a more equitable nonprofit sector.

Read the full article about trust-based philanthropy by Danielle Y. Scott at Forbes.