Trust = Bedrock of Good Giving

Congratulations to Janet Camarena, Director of the San Francisco Foundation Center Library, for her work in launching Glasspockets (www.glasspockets.org).  Will transparency lead to change?

Professional philanthropy – foundations – are slow to change.  Despite all the talk, foundations are still drowning in paper.  At a time when we have instant communication – email, blogs, and other social media – we don’t have innovation in grantmaking.  For most foundations, the following is the rule:

  • 20 hours average required to apply for a grant
  • Months to wait for a response
  • And yet, most foundation grants are $10,000 or less

Philanthropic Ventures Foundation grants in 48 hours.  Much of our giving is “paperless.”  There is a mistaken assumption that paperwork is due diligence.  Due diligence is relationships and trust.  If there is a relationship, then endless paperwork is unacceptable.  The grantor and applicant already know each other, the grantor agrees that the applicant is doing good work, their program is dynamic, meeting challenges when they occur.

With trust, a foundation can make grants that are immediately responsive, paperless, and used at the discretion of the nonprofit program director.  This is grantmaking that is nimble, responsive and exciting.

Trust is seen by some grantmakers as naïve, when, in fact, it should be the bedrock of all philanthropic giving.

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