2020 has felt like one big “pivot.” We’ve shifted how we get groceries, teach students, onboard new team members, and even how we make an impact on our communities. In times of constant change and uncertainty, it is necessary and natural to shift and change. But, these quick pivots are often reactionary and can have unintended consequences. How can you proactively adjust and reimagine the work you’re doing to be better prepared for the next crisis?

Over the past couple of years, Foundant has created tools like our Funder Styles Guide and Agile blog content discussing pivoting and transparency—both of which are vital components to successfully adjusting the work your family foundation does in order to be more responsive to a challenging and unstable environment. We work with nearly 1500 grantmakers who’ve shared stories about how they’ve pivoted when necessary but then stopped… took a closer look… and moved forward by adapting and reimagining their work to respond with less reactiveness, less frustration, and more impact. Below are some common elements of family philanthropy to consider while adapting and reimaging your foundation during challenging times.

  • Onboarding
    Time and time again, we hear the value of onboarding the next generation, new staff, and new family members through place and connection. Many family foundations have yearly retreats and participate in physical site visits to help family members engage and learn. In the past few months, we have heard families express deep sadness by the loss of site visits and other means of fostering family engagement.
  • Funding or Geographical Area
    Global unrest, as well as health and economic uncertainty have pushed many organizations to a point of inflection around the future of their foundation. Some have found their values and family histories connect multiple generations in this moment, others have made the decision to sunset, and others are even revisiting their foundational mission statements.
  • Timing of Giving
    Through 2020 we have worked with clients who created new grant cycles, moved up grant cycles, or extended deadlines to support grantees. These changes may seem like necessary commitments in times of disaster and immense struggle in communities.

Read the full article about adapting philanthropy in 2020 by Sammie Holzwarth at National Center for Family Philanthropy.