In recent years, leaders across the philanthropic sector have recognized and worked to shift power imbalances that exist between funders, nonprofits, and the communities that they serve. This work - called trust-based philanthropy - requires addressing deep-seated inequities at their root and implementing real changes to the structures, organizations, cultures, and norms within which so many philanthropic organizations operate.


At its core, trust-based philanthropy is about redistributing power in service of a healthier and more equitable nonprofit sector. On a practical level, this includes multi-year unrestricted funding, streamlined applications and reporting, and a commitment to building relationships based on transparency, dialogue, collaboration, and mutual learning.


Technology and data, when used correctly, can be an invaluable tool in furthering trust-based philanthropy by simplifying reporting, making data available in real-time, and enabling transparent dialog, collaboration, and learning around shared outcomes. However, if used incorrectly, top-down technology and reporting requirements can inadvertently have the opposite effect than intended - pulling grantee staff time and energy away from delivering services. In other words, time grantees spend writing grant reports about the work they’re doing can unintentionally take away from the time grantees have to do the actual work. 


How can the sector better leverage technology and data as a tool to help, rather than hinder, trust-based philanthropy while still ensuring funders have the information they need to make decisions and allocate resources effectively?


A Data-Driven Approach to Trust-based Philanthropy


The use of impact analytics software is one way for the philanthropic sector to further trust-based philanthropy by supporting transparency and collaboration, empowering nonprofits to tell their own stories, and allowing funders and nonprofits alike to access information that helps them learn together towards greater impact. Access to actionable data has the potential to:


  1. Simplify reporting requirements

  2. Streamline information sharing

  3. Strengthen storytelling

  4. Create alignment, transparency and accountability between nonprofits, funders, and donors

With data, the entire philanthropic sector can work together more effectively to meet the needs of our communities and drive impact.


Purposeful Collaboration


In a survey on the importance of Purposeful Collaboration, we found that foundations and nonprofits both agreed that trust-based, collaborative relationships that encourage knowledge sharing and transparency are the key to tackling today's complex challenges in our local communities and worldwide. More specifically, funders and grantees see data and technology as an under-utilized tool to work better together towards common goals and missions, maximizing their impact in communities and fortifying external relationships at the same time. So how do we go about starting this process?


The UpMetrics Cohort Program


Fortunately, UpMetrics has established an innovative approach to help the philanthropic sector use data to collaborate more effectively, simplify reporting, and measure both qualitative and quantitative data. In an effort to build capacity for grantees, foundation partners can empower a cohort of organizations with access to the UpMetrics platform & services. Access to tools designed specifically for impact organizations allows grantees to more effectively leverage data for internal decision-making and program design, while also streamlining reporting for future funding cycles. 


The 3-year Cohort Program combines organizational development, planned services, and community-building programs that are designed to equip each cohort with the following:

  • Organizational development: UpAcademy sessions, data readiness & best practices 

  • Planned services: Custom KPI development, dashboard building & maintenance, and impact tracking

  • Community-building: 1:1 team sessions, engagement opportunities with cohort and UpMetrics community

At the end of their journey with us, grantees will be able to leverage a strategically-designed and fully functional system that requires far less to maintain and evolve moving forwards - all at a fraction of the cost, and with fewer resources than doing it on their own. They’ll also find themselves in a cohort of like-minded organizations, buoyed by a funder (or funders) who can support them while not over-burdening them with complicated reporting requirements. 


The gap of understanding between the funder and the grantee may often feel unbridgeable, but there are ways to streamline the process and espouse a future of philanthropy built on mutual understanding. Driving maximum impact data management is the key to achieving trust-based philanthropy, and we’re here to help you get started. 


Reach out to learn more about our Cohort Program today.

Post by UpMetrics Staff
February 14, 2023