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The Trilogy of Philanthropy: A new methodology for giving

A photo of two people staring down at a sidewalk, which bears the message "Passion led us here."

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What if a collective base of philanthropic practices were united to create a methodology for giving? Introducing the Trilogy of Philanthropy. Based on trust, evidence, and collaboration, this process could influence philanthropic giving practices and the way funders and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) work with each other and be a natural conduit for equitable giving.

Trust-based philanthropy is the first phase of the trilogy. Trust is when funders rescind the oversight of NGOs. Eliminate or reduce the number of scheduled grantee reports and required site visits. Transition from project-based funding to unrestricted funding. Commit to an “open-door” practice and support the asks of NGOs. Leverage resources by volunteering introductions to other funders or support for critically needed public policies. Lend a voice to uplift the work of NGOs.

Evidence-based philanthropy is the second phase of the trilogy. Let the real-time statistics of NGO programs guide giving strategies. Why wait for the outcomes of two- and three-year funder project initiatives when NGOs can share the effectiveness of programs based on what’s happening now? Utilize the data collection of NGOs that includes real-life storytelling of the journeys of people and communities. Funders and NGOs can partner better when using the same baseline statistical evidence to strategize solutions to issues and needs assessment, and, through this partnership, reduce the misalignment of funding.

Place-based philanthropy is the last phase of the trilogy. The impact of community collaboration to contribute to the overall improvement of program outcomes. Rename this participatory engagement as a “resources-to-table” social movement. We all have a voice. We all have expertise. We all leverage our expertise to the art of the possible.

The beauty of the Trilogy of Philanthropy? Diversity, equity, and inclusion are naturally addressed and minimize the interference of unconscious bias.

We’ve heard from grantmakers that the events of the past two years have emphasized the importance of collaboration among funders and NGOs to start to drive equitable philanthropy. If grantmakers and NGOs are going to truly collaborate together and operationalize the Trilogy of Philanthropy, then they are going to need the right technology. is a “social impact center” of Salesforce. We partner with the community to tackle both local and global social problems. Our Grants Management solution is intentionally built to drive higher impact through better workspace collaboration by providing a centralized workspace where everyone can seamlessly communicate and work together—from anywhere. We take advantage of our core platform features to create purpose-built solutions across fundraising, marketing and engagement, program management and grants management. With this integrated platform, information is more centralized and easier to access which in turn increases both transparency and the ability to collaborate more effectively.

And we are proud that our Grants Management solution is being adopted throughout the entire ecosystem of Salesforce customers: grantmakers—including private and community foundations; nonprofits; corporations; and the public sector. By using’s Grants Management solution, we’re all working together to live by the trilogy of philanthropy and make a greater impact toward social good today—and into the future.

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash