Achieving meaningful community impact requires strategic philanthropy focused on building collaborative, high-impact partnerships with nonprofits. Say’s Mark Belter, this article provides guidance on forging productive relationships that drive systemic change.
Vet Organizations Thoroughly
Conduct due diligence to identify nonprofits aligned with focus areas that are ethically run, fiscally responsible, and achieve results. Review track records, financials, leadership, and third-party evaluations. Avoid hasty funding decisions.
Define Shared Goals and Expectations
Outline specific desired outcomes and timeline from the start so all parties understand objectives and measures of success. Establish clear communication channels, decision-making processes, and accountability mechanisms. Define a framework for working together.
Provide Multi-Year General Support Funding
Give unrestricted, multi-year grants so nonprofits have flexibility to innovate and strengthen infrastructure. Core operating support sustains their capacity for vital programs and services. Avoid overly restrictive project-based grants.
Offer Management Assistance
Supplement funding with skilled volunteering and pro bono expertise in areas like financial management, impact evaluation, marketing, and technology. Build nonprofits’ capabilities to amplify programming and organization resilience.
Collaborate with Other Funders
Co-fund and coordinate with other donors, foundations, corporations and government agencies supporting the issue. Pooled resources and shared strategies enhance collective impact. Leverage funding networks.
Stay Engaged as a Partner
Maintain open communication and site visits. Provide strategic guidance but avoid micromanaging day-to-day operations. Offer help connecting partners. Demonstrate long-term commitment to the issue. Act as an ally.
Strategic philanthropy requires trust-based partnerships, unrestricted support, capacity building, collaborative funding, ongoing engagement, and a commitment to systemic change. With effective partnerships, donors become force multipliers for community impact.