Good things happen when funders shift power to communities. It’s “regenerative.” We “actually get outcomes that work” and “build a groundswell for change.”

But it’s hard to “give up power and build trust,” to “learn about the things you got wrong,” to “never have enough time to do it right.”

During our recent session “Learning to Let Communities Lead” at Independent Sector’s Upswell conference, we heard these and other things that make community leadership both exciting and challenging.

Coming out of that session, several questions are making us rethink the ways we work and how we support the foundations we work with.

  1. What is the risk of not shifting power to communities? Many funders think it’s risky to give communities power to make decisions and lead change efforts.
  2. What power are you willing to give up? As an organization, be brutally honest with yourselves about what level of power you’re willing to share with the community.
  3. How might you better understand the strengths of communities? The more you understand where a community shines brightest, the better partner you can be to that community.
  4. How can we work together across our sector to reduce burdens on communities? As Lysa Ratliff of KaBOOM! pointed out to us, a community-centered approach also requires us to align better as a sector.

Read the full article about letting communities lead by Walter Howell and Lauri Valerio at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.