Giving Compass' Take:

• Exponent Philanthropy and Fund for Shared Insight highlight multiple funders' thoughts on acknowledging and evaluating the power dynamics in philanthropic relationships.

• Many donors talk about building trust as the primary path toward better relations and successful programs. What are the main barriers to achieving trust? 

• Here are some tips on how to strengthen funder-grantee relationships. 

Funders must be aware of the power dynamic that exists between those who give away money and those who rely on philanthropic gifts, be empathetic to it, and be supportive. When we acknowledge this dynamic, bring grantees into the conversation, and build authentic, trusting relationships, we increase the opportunity to create meaningful impact together.

"I don't think it's odd that we have the power differential. It's just one of those things--it's there. What matters is how you manage it. I think awareness is the first step, knowing that it's there and consciously making the effort or taking the steps necessary to minimize what could be the adverse effects of such a difference," says Mary Sobecki, Associate Director of the Needmor Fund.

Sylia Obagi, Executive Director of the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Foundation says, "First and foremost, the empathy is critical. You know, can we as funders put ourselves in the shoes of these nonprofit leaders? For most of us, the answer would probably be no...the idea of building trust, you can't do that if there is that power dynamic is coming into play."

Read the full article about power dynamics in philanthropy at Exponent Philanthropy.