Unlocking Lasting Change: Trust-Based Philanthropy for Maximum Impact in Asia
An Ongoing Initiative By
Why trust-based philanthropy?
In the face of increasingly complex and, sometimes rapidly, changing needs on the ground, it is crucial to take a step back and reconsider the status quo.
Trust-based philanthropy offers an alternative approach founded on the premise that funders and grantees have much to gain from increased transparency, collaboration and accountability.
Funders and grantees must reimagine their relationship. AVPN is both a grant recipient and a deployer of capital through our philanthropic funds. This puts us in a position to contribute to the knowledge around trust-based philanthropy in Asia, where the practice is still emergent.
Through this ongoing initiative we intend to share our learnings, develop insights with our partners and lead the conversation about this essential and evolving approach to giving.
What is trust-based philanthropy?
Trust-based philanthropy has a long history in the West, dating back to the mid-20th century with key milestones including the emergence of community foundations that engaged local residents in decision-making, social justice movements advocating for equitable and participatory approaches, and the rise of venture philanthropy. It is now gaining traction in Asia.
At its core, trust-based philanthropy recognises that those closest to the issues and communities being served are often in the best position to decide where resources are needed most. It encourages funders to listen to and learn from grantees, valuing their expertise and lived experiences.
It encompasses some key practices, including but not limited to:
Power of trust-based philanthropy
Frequently Asked Questions
- Trust-based philanthropy challenges traditional evaluation methods that may be rigid and top-down. Instead, it encourages more flexible and context-specific evaluation approaches such as qualitative methods, participatory approaches, and incorporating diverse perspectives to capture the complexities of measuring impact on the ground.
- Funders and grantees can work collaboratively to design and implement monitoring and evaluation processes. By involving grantees in the design and implementation of evaluation frameworks, the evaluation becomes more participatory, and leverages the knowledge grantees hold which helps to foster a sense of shared ownership and learning.
- Both funders and grantees have to undergo a process of unlearning. Funders must move past the concept of unilateral reporting and towards a two-way feedback mechanism. This requires openness and a willingness for shared learning, while acknowledging and utilising the grantee’s expertise of realities on the ground when designing programmes.
- Grantees who are accustomed to reporting outputs as outlined in the grant application process, need to become comfortable with voicing their needs and surfacing necessary programmatic shifts in a timely manner.
- Funders might face challenges in obtaining internal stakeholder buy-in as organisations are not typically equipped to move away from programmatic support. This might involve rethinking reporting structures and how to articulate impact.
Explore trust-based philanthropy further
Connect with fellow philanthropists who are placing trust at the centre of their practice.
Engage with learning opportunities and practical insights across markets.
Make impact and mobilise your capital.