Tactical Philanthropy is currently covering the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations conference with the help of a blog team. This is a guest post by Carrie Avery of the Durfee Foundation.
By Carrie Avery
The two exemplary nonprofit leaders who spoke at the breakfast plenary reminded us of the importance of being patient as funders. Speaking about his ambitious plans to replicate Manchester Bidwell Corporation’s model in dozens of cities internationally, Bill Strickland reminded us, “We’re not in the miracle business, we’re in the hard work business.” If we want to see the results of that hard work, we need to stick with our grantees and not expect them to deliver miracles.
Similarly, Angelica Salas of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles observed that if funders asked for a budget of her organization’s time that used line items such as Collaboration, Coalition Building and Networking, CHIRLA would have a healthy balance sheet. Of course, all of those strategies require large investments of time and relationship building that don’t always show results immediately.
What’s your timeline? When do you expect to see results? The longer I remain in this field, the more I know grantees for three, five, ten years, the more often I see how what we do as funders (which are not always grants) can produce long-term, often unexpected results. At the Durfee Foundation, we have been bringing together our Sabbatical grantees (outstanding Los Angeles leaders) together for lunches and retreats for ten years. Over those years, relationships between these nonprofits leaders have developed at deepened. They have created partnerships, joined one another’s boards, and found colleagues outside of their organizations to call to bounce ideas off of. The longer we host these gatherings, the more the relationships deepen. Patience pays off.