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How Can We Be Better Funders? Let’s Do the Homework

I’ve spent most of my life as a bridge-builder and translator. As a nine-year-old, I translated for my immigrant Mom. Later I learned to speak the language of philanthropy. Now at TCC Group, I use my translation skills to help foundations see and appreciate work happening on the ground, often in communities of color.

Recently I took a deep dive into yet another language. I spent several sessions immersed in Philanthropy New York’s Financial Series, examining nonprofit financial statements, audits, and 990s. As philanthropic professionals, we regularly review publicly available information to better understand the context for a nonprofit organization and its work. That has become even more important during the pandemic, as nonprofit organizations have been pivoting quickly and creatively to meet the needs of the communities they serve.

Recognizing that these organizations are working under extraordinary circumstances, funders have done their part by reducing proposal and reporting requirements to minimize the burden on nonprofit organizations. It is my fervent hope that this streamlined approach continues as we  prepare to face the “new normal.” Often the questions funders ask in bespoke applications are answered in the organization’s public documents. We just have to know where to look.

Click here to learn more about the ways funders can minimize the burden on nonprofits at Philanthropy New York.

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