Power dynamics are the most significant source of tension in building trust and healthy relationships for better place-based funding by national funders. It’s touchy and no one really wants to name it, but it’s true: It’s very difficult for funders and grantees to be honest and lean into tough conversations about solving complex problems when a pronounced power dynamic exists between them. And it really gets in the way of good work.

At National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, we recommend national funders go even further to ensure that their strategies are relevant in the local landscape:

  1. Utilize an equity lens on how we define “readiness” and “experts” and who we choose to invite to the table in high-stakes, decision-making conversations.
  2. Remember that this requires courage. Lean into discomfort.

Often funders can get presumptive or even lazy about sending invitations beyond the usual suspects and those outside of their comfort zones in community collaborative conversations. It’s critical to continue to interrogate how and why they make the decisions that they do when they identify partners in their work.

Read the full article about nonprofit power dynamics by Jennifer Choi at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.