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PEAK Grantmaking

9 Ways of Living Your Core Values

In our research on the values that grantmakers have (or in some cases don’t have) for our work on values-based grantmaking, we developed a list of the top 10 core values held by our organization members. Some of them show up in different ways, so we put like items together and developed this non-scientific list of the Top 10 Values of Grantmakers.

  1. Collaboration, Partnership, Teamwork, Working Together
  2. Respect
  3. Integrity, Honesty, Ethical Behavior
  4. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
  5. Accountability, Responsibility
  6. Transparency, Openness
  7. Risk-taking, Innovation, Entrepreneurial Spirit, Creativity
  8. Stewardship
  9. Learning, Continuous Improvement
  10. Leadership

Of course, this review represents a snapshot, and we expect that things might’ve looked different five or even two years ago: would diversity, equity, and inclusion have shown up then? It’s hard to say. And in two or five years into the future, what will be the next topic that we realize we’ve given too little attention to, and gets added to this list? We’ll see.

As part of our workshop on Walking the Talk, we focus on how grantmaker values show up in their practices. For this to happen, those values have to show up in the day-to-day work of the organization, by the people who create and implement and execute practices. We even ask outright: “How can each of you live your values so they show up in your practices?”

In an article in Inc. online, author Melissa Levin, CEO of Successful Culture, (@marissalevin) puts forth nine ways that CEOs and others can live their core values. These are ripe for review for grantmakers looking at their values and trying to identify ways to put them into practice.

  1. Live and lead by example.
  2. Teach the values through orientation/training.
  3. Reinforce the values in all communication, including all-hands meetings, newsletters, etc.
  4. Recognize and reward values-centric behaviors.
  5. Incorporate the values into your sales process.
  6. Incorporate the values into your hiring process..
  7. Incorporate the values into your performance review process.
  8. Terminate people who violate the core values.
  9. Ensure alignment between internal and external messaging.

What do you think? Do these nine methods have applicability in philanthropy? Are there tips in here to help you put your grantmaking values into your grantmaking practices? Tell us what you think.