Some really important conversations took place at the Both Sides of the Coin workshops we’ve just held in Auckland Wellington and Christchurch. Over 150 people working in grantmaking and grantseeking attended and we enjoyed great presentations from nine grantmakers and nine representatives from organisations they fund talking about their relationships and how they are going beyond the financial transaction to create productive and successful partnerships. There was a consensus that these conversations need to continue. My thanks to everyone who took part.
Three important questions that the Both Sides of the Coin workshops raised for me.
1. Can we be honest with each other?
We heard some great examples of grantseekers being open with their funders about things that weren’t working – including funder requirements that had made their lives harder, and of a funder being honest about improvements they wanted to see in the governance or operations of an organisation they were supporting. Our ability to have conversations like these without either party fearing negative consequences (especially loss of funding) is a hallmark of positive philanthropy.
2. How can we build relationships between grantseekers and grantmakers that take us beyond the money?
Good examples we heard included relationships that continued even after the funding ended, explicit conversations about power dynamics, and funders and organisations having “shared ownership” of the design and implementation social good projects.
3. How can we continue these conversations across a complicated, big, and diverse sector?
There was lots of agreement that we needed to continue these conversations, and to find ways of broadening them to include grantmakers and grantseekers who were not part of these events. PNZ is keen to be part of that process.
Your thoughts would be most welcome: Tony@philanthropy.org.nz
I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the presenters: Spark Foundation & Manaiakalani, Foundation North & Surf Life Saving Northern, JR McKenzie Trust & Lifewise & Ara Taiohi, Wellington Community Trust & Experience Wellington, Wellington City Council & Everybody Cool Lives Here, Wayne Francis Trust & Canterbury Youth Workers Collective, Dove Charitable Trust & Delta Community Trust, Red Cross & Pegasus Health. Thanks also to Strategic Grants who hosted the workshops with us.