Learning Out Loud: What Nonprofits Are Saying About Trust-Based Philanthropy

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Trust-Based Philanthropy Project
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In July and August 2022, the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project conducted three focus groups among nonprofit executive directors to understand how and whether they were experiencing shifts in power dynamics in their funder relationships. The participants – which represented a mix of community-based organizations, service providers, and advocacy groups from around the United States – shared a number of key insights about their experiences with funders since 2020, when many funders began to reexamine their practices in light of the global pandemic and the racial reckoning. The discussion revealed a number of key trends:

  1. Nonprofit leaders describe their partnership with trust-based funders as “liberating.”

  2. Unrestricted and multiyear grants still make up only a small percentage of nonprofits’ funding.

  3. Nonprofits have experienced positive shifts in funders’ practices since 2020, but they hold concerns that this trend toward trust-based philanthropy may just be the “wave of the moment.”

  4. Philanthropy’s increased interest in supporting BIPOC-led and community-based organizations is bringing about new needs and challenges for many of these nonprofits.

  5. Despite the growth of interest in trust-based practices among funders, there is still significant room for improvement.

 

The report outlines more details about these focus group findings, including the methodology, participant mix, summary of insights – as well as the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project’s recommendations for the field. 

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