Giving Compass’ Take:
• Kim Walker discusses how the social sector can be more effective when it’s aware of power dynamics.
• How can talking about power with others help your organization move the work forward?
• Learn about overcoming power dynamics in grantmaking.
Power dynamics underlie broader discussions on key topics like systems change, equity, and justice, but we typically don’t like talking about power. It can feel awkward or unpleasant and reveal hard truths that may feel unsurmountable. However, research tells us that just talking about power can help empower us. Whether we talk about it or not, it’s there – and increasing our awareness of how it shows up can make us more effective social change makers.
Based on my Upswell presentation, the remainder of this post identifies four of the ways power can show up in cross-sector and collaborative work and poses a variety of related questions for consideration. (If you have ideas to contribute or your own questions, I hope you’ll reach out using the link at the bottom of this page).
- The Power in Resources. One of the most obvious ways power shows up is in resources. Of course, when we talk about resources in philanthropic and nonprofit circles, the first type that comes to mind is often money and the influence and authority attached to it.
- The Power in Structures. Structural power shows up in rules and regulations, grant agreements, policies, and the design of decision-making processes. Structural power also includes the broader decision-making structures within our society. (Think of government institutions, for example.)
- The Power in Identity and Relationships. Who we are (identity) and who we know (relationships) provide another important source of power. Our identities may be marginalized, privileged, or oppressed, and may have hidden, visible, and invisible aspects.
- The Power in Framing. Finally, framing is a type of power that can control or direct the outcomes of our social change efforts. Frames are the stories we carry about why things are the way they are.
Read the full article about four of the ways power can show up in cross-sector and collaborative work by Kim Walker at PEAK Grantmaking.
Since you are interested in Impact Philanthropy, have you read these selections from Giving Compass related to impact giving and Impact Philanthropy?
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