Opening Up: Demystifying Funder Transparency

This morning, I'm pleased to share with you our latest GrantCraft guide: Opening Up: Demystifying Funder Transparency.

Transparency has been a buzzword for several years, but we wanted to specifically draw the connection between funder transparency and good grantmaking. Through in-depth interviews with more than 25 funders from around the world and input from more than 700 of you in a survey last summer, we boiled transparency down to a mindset in which funders default to saying, “let’s publicly share this.” The guide explores how transparency can strengthen credibility, improve grantee relationships, facilitate greater collaboration, increase public trust, reduce duplication of effort, and build communities of shared learning. We organized the content into five topical chapters so that you can focus on exploring one approach to transparency at a time. Like all of our other materials, it is free to download.

GrantCraft aims to not simply produce guides that become static documents on your bookshelf; rather, we aim to produce content that is a dynamic launching point for conversation and action. In this vein, we invite you to use the discussion questions at the end of each chapter to review the topics and examples with your organizations and peer groups, and if you feel emboldened, to share your own wisdom and experiences with us through a guest blog post. We also have online-only content accessible through the guide, including survey results and podcasts, that connects with and expands on themes explored in the guide. Our sister site Glasspockets, which focuses exclusively on foundation transparency, also provides several online resources related to action steps suggested in the guide. Together with Glasspockets, we will further unpack topics in the guide through webinars, the first of which is slated for March. (Stay tuned in to our blog and Twitter for details.)

On a personal note, this is the first GrantCraft guide that I have worked on beginning to end since becoming a director of GrantCraft last May. I was humbled by the generosity of the interviewed funders with their time, and beyond excited by the wealth of wisdom that we gathered.  Our core team - Susan Parker, Janet Camarena, Lisa Philp, and I - spent significant time iterating on important themes and ideas shared in the interviews and survey responses. During this process, I kept reflecting on transparency efforts that we undertook in my previous position at the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, including sharing impact and learning and communicating more openly through blogs. Even as a small foundation, we were able to do quite a bit to be more transparent, which resulted in strengthening our relationships with grantees, peer funders, city government, and the broader community. Those small steps really did make a difference; from that realization, we designed the guide to include several bite-sized steps that you, too, can take to help your foundation holistically improve its work.

Enjoy reading the guide, and looking forward to hearing your comments!


About the author(s)

Director of Stakeholder Engagement