Empathetic Donor-Doer Engagement (SSIR)

A seven-part framework for increasing empathy between foundations and grantees.

Through our partnership over the last three years, we’ve learned as much about how to work together as we have about tackling development challenges. Donor-grantee relationships are sometimes fraught with power imbalances and mutual mistrust—a dynamic that creates process stalemate.

We are convinced that the best way to navigate these partnerships and deliver maximum impact is to anchor the relationship in empathy.

After getting through security and catching up on our most recent collaboration event, I promised her that report, and we boarded separate flights.

At a local primary school I was visiting later that day, I came across a definition of empathy handwritten on a dimly lit blackboard. Around these powerful words, the two of us came up with the following seven tips for building more empathetic donor-doer engagement.

By Simon Stumpf & Ash Rogers