Consider this: Have grantmakers become too rigorous in their expectations of impact and evaluation that they’re starting to miss the point entirely? What would it be like if we created a trust-based giving rather than obsessing over ROI? 

Below are some key takeaways from today’s clubhouse chat about power plays in relation to nonprofits — how we may be able to leverage that power to cut out unnecessary obstacles while creating more good across the board.

For more information about power dynamics and the social study of intrinsic versus assumed power, tune into this conversation with Leti Light on Lindsay’s podcast: Creating Community for Good. …

1.  We talked a lot about Mackenzie Scott’s recent decision to give $2.7+ billion away to 286 high-impact organizations in categories and communities that have been historically overlooked and underfunded. Scott’s choice to trust these organizations with unrestricted gifts is very different than the typical approach of a major gift donor.  Several of her chosen organizations reported that her trust increased the impact of the gift tremendously. Empowering nonprofits to “do more good work with less financial stress” may seem simple, but certainly qualifies as a power play by challenging the typical donor/organization relationship — relinquishing control from the donor to those on the frontlines.

2. Another complex power play becomes obvious when the conversation shifts to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the nonprofit sector. If we as fundraising professionals are committed to allyship, we need to have conversations about who is missing from the table and how to get them there. At a time when media should result in increased exposure for *all* mission-drive organizations, how can we ensure that white-washed institutions aren’t the only ones receiving coverage? How can we expand exisiting networks to result in more inclusive relationships for BIPOC-led organizations? Cultivating an awareness about the racial power inequities that have always existed in our space is the first step. A great place to start is Becky Endicott and Jonathon McCoy’s podcast We Are For Good episode #119: “The Urgent Case for LatinX Philanthropy + Unlocking the Power of Unrestricted Giving – Ana Marie Argilagos.”

3. Donors can often get caught up in supporting a single cause or organization religiously. As new organizations pop up, it’s important to do our due diligence by continuing to search for and promote organizations worth funding. The power to elevate good work is in the donor’s hand. Don’t get lazy… get excited!

4. For nonprofits in the early stages, Lisa Greer suggested looking into the Executive Service Corps  — a national network of organizations and professional that provide consulting, coaching, facilitation, and many other services to strengthen nonprofits. Looking into community foundation databases and Giving Days are great ideas for gaining power, too! 

This conversation was a fantastic warm up for a highly anticipated conversation coming soon on my podcast with Frederic “Rick” Happy. Tune in to Creating Community for Good Podcast for conversations about contributing, philosophy, approaches, data and more. And we’ll see you on Clubhouse for another 9AM PT/11AM ET Wednesday Nonprofit Fundraisers Chat again soon. 

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