charity board meeting

Open Philanthropy

What if philanthropy were more… open?

Power and decision-making so often sits with Boards and staff, with little to no consultation or contribution from the communities most affected.

Across the philanthropy sector, we are all wrestling with how to be more inclusive, more equitable; less restrictive, less entrenched. It’s a challenge that’s more urgent than ever.

The Open Philanthropy programme provides a way for funders and philanthropists to come on this journey, with us: exploring, experimenting and envisioning new and better approaches.

NPC does the work… you get the benefit!

We have piloted this approach in the area of financial hardship. We are launching a second stage which will have global reach.

Why is this programme needed?

Across the world, philanthropy is historically opaque and riven with troubling power dynamics.

The inherent power imbalance of those with wealth and those who are in social or environmental need means that charities inevitably respond to the interests of philanthropists, rather than the needs of their service users.

Reticence about discussing finances publicly can lead to a lack of knowledge about who is funding what, and therefore whether some causes are over-subscribed and others overlooked completely.

To be more equitable and effective, philanthropy should be powered by a multiplicity of perspectives and an openness to challenge.

We believe this is possible and necessary, if philanthropy is to be more collective and less individualistic.

Now we’re laying the groundwork for bigger, as well as better.

Through the Open Philanthropy programme, we are exploring, experimenting with and evaluating new and different approaches to philanthropy, to provide a practical blueprint for action by people who engage in philanthropy: from individual philanthropists, to staff at grant-making organisations, to philanthropy advisors.

We are all part of a better future.

How does the programme work?

NPC has already delivered a pilot stage, which took an open approach to designing and delivering a funding cycle to support financial hardship in the UK. We have published a toolkit for people to learn more about these initial approaches that were tested and how they performed.

This second stage will have global reach.

As a funding partner, your contribution will ultimately be distributed as part of our funding cycle, helping to deliver much needed social impact.

A proportion of this contribution will pay for the Open Philanthropy team, and remuneration of participants, to research, design, implement and evaluate open approaches.

You will be guaranteed access to the whole process – from updates on progress, to invitations to attend or be part of key activities throughout the funding cycle, where appropriate. You will gain early insight into programme learnings, and be encouraged to share your experiences with others across the world of philanthropy.

Your contribution will be a catalyst for change.

Do you want to be a funding partner on this journey?

Get in touch

Open Philanthropy: Financial hardship in the UK

In winter 2022 we delivered a grant cycle to address financial hardship, drawing on emerging practice, to see what we could learn. We involved experts by experience, professionals, funders, researchers and policy makers. This group designed the fund, considered a range of evidence, developed a strategy and set the criteria. They decided who received a grant, working in the open and will publish the results imminently.

Working in the open, we shared our learning along the way.