Funders of all sizes – working locally or across broad geographies – can benefit from real progress among donors and organizations when it comes to addressing fundamental questions:

  • How can we give effectively and responsibly in cultures and geographies not our own?
  • How can our philanthropy or foundation make a difference on some of the most pressing issues facing the world?
  • What are some promising entry points and strategies to tackle complex issues?
  • How are other funders approaching such issues and what are the opportunities to collaborate?
  • What are the most effective and authentic ways to partner with grantees to reduce the power imbalance and be as successful as possible in achieving our shared goals?
  • How can we leverage our philanthropic resources to catalyze significant and sustainable change?

These questions were uppermost in our minds as we set out to create TPI’s resource for global philanthropy: The Thoughtful Funder’s Guide to Global Giving. While other blog posts address specifics of what was distilled from quantitative data and qualitative interviews with inspiring leaders, a key takeaway is that urgent challenges – basic human rights, climate change, peace and security, to name a few – are complex, multifaceted, and require taking the long view.

While the best approach for any situation tends to be more art than science, we have identified what we call Powerful Practices cutting across issues, geographies, and populations. Within them, the Guide underscores deeper possibilities when a funder strives to listen and learn first, ask good questions, identify key stakeholders, and truly engage intended beneficiaries, all to better define the scope and nature of the challenge. The 6 Powerful Practices of Thoughtful Funders include:

  1. Build Authentic Funder-Grantee Relations.
  2. Fund Grassroots Organizations and Social Movements.
  3. Provide Flexibility in Funding and Reporting.
  4. Foster Collaboration. 
  5. Balance Scale, Sustainability, and Impact. 
  6. Deploy Every Available Asset. 

Read the full article about global funders by Maggi Alexander at The Philanthropic Initiative.