Organizing for Good Relationships and Outcomes

  • Demonstrate trust and respect for the people you are working with. In a collaborative that explicitly wanted to bring new funders into a field, for example, a grantmaker whose foundation contributed the majority of the initial funding urged the group to equalize voting rights: “We were definitely not equal partners in terms of resources, but ‘one organization, one vote’ underscored our appreciation of the benefits of shared learning. It also recognized that, even though particular funders may not be able to put in a large amount of money, they have deep experience in the field and bring a lot of knowledge and insight to the table in reviewing the grant applications. So we were happy to share the decision-making power and, in essence, were demonstrating a commitment to partnership.”
  • Establish ground rules for handling business and resolving problems early on. “You have to be really clear about the process,” said one funder. “Without it, you can’t mitigate problems when they arise.” And problems do arise, grantmakers attested, even when a collaborative is going well: “We dedicate four hours a month just to untangling difficult issues and figuring out solutions,” said one.

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by GrantCraft using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Funder Collaboratives.

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