Philanthropy is changing. Compounding global crises have forced many funders to toss aside standard operating procedures and rethink not only how philanthropy should respond in a crisis but also how to more urgently and effectively tackle the longstanding challenges and inequities many were already working to address. What we hope to accomplish, the timeline on which to do so, who is at the table, how we listen and learn, and what it means to maximize impact are all continuing to be rethought and reworked at a much greater scale than we have seen before in our field.

As TPI engages with partners and clients to re-examine giving norms and expectations, we find ourselves coming back to five high-level yet personal questions that prompt some of the most useful reflections to guide action. Whether you are an institutional funder, donor, or board member, we hope you find these questions useful as well for starting conversations and informing change.

  1. What do you feel is the most important role your philanthropy has played in uncertain times?
  2. How did the experiences of this past year change your relationships with grantee partners?
  3. How might your philanthropic strategies shift as a result of what we’ve collectively learned?
  4. What are some risks – no matter how big or small – you’re willing to take in 2021?
  5. Imagine it’s December 31st, 2021 and you’re looking back on the roles you’ve played in philanthropy this year. What would you be proud of? What would you regret? 

Read the full article about philanthropy in 2021 by Lisa Spalding at The Philanthropic Initiative.