Collaborations were the cornerstone to flexible and responsive philanthropy in 2020; new partnerships were forged quickly among nonprofits and among funders to leverage impact and meet the unprecedented needs of the day. Many of these collaborations would’ve taken years to broker, navigate and coordinate. The proverb “Necessity is the motherhood of invention” comes to mind. Most donors hope these new partnerships stay intact and flourish in years to come as they've witnessed the positive outcomes.
Humility yielded an increase in responsive funding. Philanthropists found themselves listening to community voices in a way they might not have before. They trusted and invested in COVID relief funds led by community foundations and United Way agencies. Relief funds around the globe were set up quickly and deployed resources efficiently to trusted organizations serving those who needed it most. Individual funders found this to be faster and more effective than operating in a silo.
Cohesion among family members, foundation/family office staff and trustees set the stage for rapid, flexible giving. Likewise, philanthropists who were grounded in their values pre-pandemic were able to address urgent needs more quickly. I have heard countless stories from families and foundations who had immediate consensus around rapid response funding because motivational values had been identified pre-pandemic and there was trust among family members, staff, board members and nonprofits partners. Bottomline, values work done prior to 2020 paid dividends for communities in need during the pandemic year.