Invest in impact built on trust

If you’ve supported a particular charitable organization for many years, and perhaps even served on its board of directors, you are likely familiar with some basic concepts of “trust-based philanthropy,” even if you didn’t know that’s what it is called. 

As a devoted supporter of the nonprofit organizations you love, you know that an organization’s chances of success are greatest when its leadership and talented staff can deploy the organization’s resources in the ways they believe will best fulfill the mission. This, in turn, sometimes translates into the organization placing a high value on what are called “unrestricted” donations, meaning the organization can use the dollars in whatever way it sees fit.  

This oversimplified example illustrates the importance of giving unrestricted funds: a donor writes a check to a food pantry, instructing that the money be used to purchase canned goods.  The food pantry’s leadership knows that before the pantry can accept more canned goods, they really need to fix the roof or hire a staff member to help sort food. A gift without restriction would enable the food pantry to address these immediate needs to better serve the community. 

Unrestricted gifts are only one component of the overall trust-based philanthropy concept. The broader model is designed to increase the impact of philanthropy by encouraging collaboration, communication, and information-sharing among all stakeholders, including not only donors and the nonprofits they support, but also the community as a whole. It is also designed to lift some of the administrative burdens off of nonprofit organizations who receive funding. 

In many ways, NCCF’s mission already embodies these principles: Deeply understanding the needs of the community, building strong relationships across all stakeholders, helping donors maximize the value and impact of their charitable giving, establishing permanent support for the community to address whatever needs may arise, connecting donors more deeply to the causes they care about through personal service and education, and leading on critical community issues. 

Learn more from North Carolina nonprofit leaders about how philanthropy and funders can act as a supportive partner to nonprofits.