Widespread Empathy: 5 Steps to Achieving Greater Impact in Philanthropy

Widespread Empathy: 5 Steps to Achieving Greater Impact in Philanthropy

Foundations can maximize their effectiveness and impact by making empathy a core driver of their grantmaking, a new report from Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and Jump Associates argues. According to Widespread Empathy: 5 Steps to Achieving Greater Impact in Philanthropy (28 pages, PDF), employing empathy on an organization-wide scale enables grantmakers to base their decisions on a firsthand understanding of the perspectives of grantees, community members, and other stakeholders. With the more thorough understanding of community needs that results from such an approach, grantmakers are less likely to get bogged down in paperwork and lengthy grant review cycles and more likely to focus on the most urgent community needs, explore innovative solutions to those needs, and allocate more funds for capacity-building initiatives. The report describes five high-empathy practices likely to lead to greater impact: ask for feedback and prioritize grantees' needs and strategies; maintain close contact with grantees and spend time in their communities; bring in community expertise for board and grantmaking decisions; invest in community liaisons and staff; and commit at the leadership level to empathic practices.

Featured connections