Jun 1, 2021
In this episode we talk participatory approaches in philanthropy
and social investment, with Meg Massey, co-author of “Letting Go:
How Philanthropists and Impact Investors Can Do More Good by Giving
Up Control” and Hannah Paterson, Senior Portfolio Manager at the
National Lottery Community Fund. Including:
- There is a growing amount of focus on participatory approaches
to grantmaking at the moment as part of the solution to the
criticisms being levelled at philanthropy. How much of the rhetoric
is reflected in reality?
- If there is resistance to adopting participatory approaches,
why is this?
- What’s the core case for adopting participatory approaches:
that it democratises philanthropy (and thus helps to answer various
critiques) or that it results in better outcomes? Or is it
- What different kinds of models of participatory grantmaking are
- What kind of challenges are there for traditional grantmakers
when it comes to bringing communities and people with lived
experience into decision making processes?
- Do participants in a grantmaking decision process need to be
representative of a wider community? If so, how do you select them
to ensure that representation?
- How can existing grantmakers transition some or all of their
grantmaking to participatory methods?
- Would all grantmaking be participatory in an ideal world? Or
are there limits to participatory approaches? i.e. are there some
situations in which it is better for expert funders to set aims and
design programs? Or are there cause areas in which participatory
approaches are not suitable for other reasons?
- Can participatory approaches be used outside traditional
grantmaking too, e.g. in impact investing/social investment?
- Does the prominence of XR, BLM and other “new power”
organisations suggest an unmet demand within civil society for
participation and sharing power? What lessons should traditional
CSOs and funders take from this?
- What should we make of criticisms that since philanthropy is to
some extent a product of structural inequality, it can never truly
be part of the solution? Are some donors and funders recognise the
challenges and are genuinely pursuing structural change?