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PEAK Grantmaking

Tie Practices to Values: Three recommendations to put this Principle into practice

Earlier this year, PEAK Grantmaking launched an initiative, presented in our white paper Courage in Practice: 5 Principles for Peak Grantmaking––to help transform the practice of philanthropy into the practice of principled grantmaking. This week, we’ve released a suite of recommendations, tools, and resources to help grantmakers put principles into practice, starting with our first: Tie Practices to Values.

Over the past two years, we’ve worked with our members to explore how grantmaking practices are linked with values and how values are integrated throughout every aspect of grantmaking. This field work has shown us that the most effective grantmaking organizations deliberately connect the “how” of grantmaking to values, strategy, and impact; and, by “walking the talk,” they propel their missions.

Starting in this place—of first, examining and explicitly stating organization values; then, examining your own practices for the demonstration of these values—will lay the groundwork for our coming releases of resources to support your adoption of the other four Principles. (Read about them all here.)

Start with these three key recommended practices to link your grantmaking practices with grantmaker values, to “walk the talk” and propel the mission.

Develop strategic goals related to improving your grantmaking practice.

Strategic planning is a key component of every foundation culture. However, too often, the day-to-day processes, policies, and structures that govern grantmaking practice are left out of this strategic thinking. Effective organizations make sure that conversations about practice are part of staff and board meetings, that strategic plans reference equitable, effective, and efficient practice, and that grantmaking processes are evaluated and strengthened using data.

Key question: If you were to create a strategic goal related to improving your grantmaking practice, what would you suggest?

Recognize that grantmaking staff are integral to the realization of your organization’s values and strategy.

Grants managers, when they are positioned upstream in the decision-making process around strategy and implementation, can help their organizations develop practices that embody values like equity, power-sharing, learning, and entrepreneurship. PEAK Grantmaking members are being equipped with the tools and resources they need to help their organizations do the hard work to examine and align practices and values.

Key question: How should your grants management staff be positioned internally to encourage equitable and effective grantmaking practices?

Provide grantmaking staff with training and development opportunities that will aid them in tying practices to values.

Equitable and effective grantmaking practices don’t just happen. To advance changes, grants managers need to gather data, make a compelling case, navigate organizational culture, rework entrenched business processes, communicate with internal and external stakeholders, and test new processes—all while making grants. Finding and keeping grants managers with the right skill sets—hard and soft—may mean additional professional development opportunities, adjustments in salary scale, management levels, or other disruptions to  the traditional “org chart.”

Key question: What skills and knowledge does your team need to tie your grantmaking practices to your organization’s values?

How you can lead the way

To help answer these key questions and embrace these recommendations for your organization, explore our new suite of Tie Practices to Values resources.

Start with our On-demand Webinar: Tying Practices to Values, where we explore what it means to Tie Practices to Values and how PEAK Grantmaking can help you make the case to fully adapt this Principle in your grantmaking practices. Download our Action Planner: Strategies for Aligning Practices and Values.

PEAK Grantmaking members: Read two new case stories of organizations who are doing this work well; and, exclusive to our Organization Members, download three how-to guides providing roadmaps to put this principle into practice—in your strategic planning, in improving alignment, and in building coalitions for change. (Not a member? Join us!)