Transformation: No digital silver bullet

Nikki Barrett

The magic lies with your changemakers, not your technology

Foundations around the world are abandoning stagnant legacy systems in favour of trust-based approaches. What’s more, many are foregrounding the experience of changemakers (the grantees actually executing the impact goals) when making concrete operational choices – going beyond lofty vision statements. Whether they are leading with trust or leaning into Changemaker Experience (CX), these are shifts to truly transformational philanthropy: an approach aimed at dismantling the very systems that gave rise to many wicked global problems (including the system in which philanthropy exists) which is heartening to say the least.

So often change gets stuck in bold vision and strategy statements. The hard, painstaking work of drawing that strategy down through the myriad people, process and technology choices is where intention comes fully to life, and where real transformation begins.

Over our decade serving foundations, Grantbook has witnessed grantmakers of all sizes move through the somewhat predictable phases of grantmaking maturity – emergent, efficient, effective, empathic – and ultimately into truly transformational work that is empowering and equitable, rooted in a model of partnership as opposed to patronage.

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Erin Ganju and Michael Alberg-Seberich