6 Ways Community Foundations Can Deepen Trust with Grantees Using Personalized Video

Leaning into trust-based philanthropy

Rachel Myers
November 28, 2021 · 5 min read
6 Ways Community Foundations Can Deepen Trust with Grantees Using Personalized Video

As they address the big challenges and opportunities that every community faces, Community Foundations across the country are working harder than ever to build trusted partnerships with their grantees and partners. Trust-based Philanthropy has become a new aspiration for foundations that want to tackle the inherent power imbalances between foundations and nonprofits.  

As a part of this effort, the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project was developed to build an ecosystem of trust-based philanthropy by focusing on:

  • Centering equity, humility, and transparency

  • Recognizing the power imbalance between funders and grantees, and working to actively rebalance it

  • Deeply valuing the quality of relationships, and honoring how we treat others on the path to winning on our issues, as much as the act of winning itself

Sounds great, right? So how does personalized video fit into this effort?

We’ve highlighted 6 ways your Community Foundation can leverage personalized video to build trust and create more transparent relationships with your grantees.

1. Invite your board members to shower your grantees with gratitude.

Once a month, ask your board members to record videos thanking your grantees for the wonderful work they are doing in the community. As a bonus, this also keeps board members up to date with the work of grantees. You can share a short summary of the organization’s project with your board members, and they can keep it short and sweet.  It’s a win-win!

* If doing this every month sounds too overwhelming, try choosing one month a year where you really want to share the love - maybe around Valentine’s Day?

2. Use a video to announce a new grant opportunity.

You can tap into your Grants Committee volunteers, or ask your program staff to record a short video encouraging nonprofits to apply for a new grant round. Use this opportunity to highlight what types of projects you are looking to fund, and encourage people to be in touch with questions.  This would be an excellent way to invite potential grantees to attend a Q & A session or to schedule time for a one-on-one meeting. Emphasize your desire to partner with organizations to help them craft the best possible grant application!

3. Share news of a grant award with a personalized video from your staff or your board. 

There are a few moments more exciting for an organization than learning that they will be receiving funding. Make that moment even more special with a personalized video that they can share with their team, supporters, and board. Sharing a personalized video is so much more fun than forwarding an email! Don’t forget to write “Congratulations (Organization name)!” on a whiteboard or a piece of paper that you hold up in the video so they know the video is just for them. 

4. Announce a new community initiative or project with a special video.

In your video, share more about why your foundation is choosing to focus time and resources on this initiative. Introduce any partners you have for the initiative and invite others to join you in the effort. Being transparent about why you are making important decisions will help to build understanding and trust with your partners. 

5. Introduce your team to new grantees.

Personalized video is a wonderful way to introduce yourself and your team to new organizations.  We all appreciate having the opportunity to put a face to a name. When organizations that are new to working with you have the chance to see you and your team and hear directly from each of you, your new relationship will get off to a great start. Invite the new grantee to set up a time to meet with your team in person or Zoom so you can get to know each other even better. As a bonus, they will know who to contact if and when they have questions or need assistance!

6. Replace your formal grant report with a video request.

What would it look like if you gave your grantees the option of recording a 2-minute video update instead of submitting a formal grant report? Imagine the time they might save, and how they could use that time to focus on their mission. Think of all the ways you could repurpose that video by sharing it with board members and other supporters who made that grant possible. Also, by giving grantees the choice, you are respecting their time and giving them more flexibility.  In other words, you are trusting them to make the right call for their organization, which is what trust-based philanthropy is all about.

As you know building trust takes time and intention. Your team will use many different tools to learn with - and from - your community. We encourage you to tap into Gratavid as one more way to “lead with trust, center relationships, and collaborate with humility and curiosity.” It’s not about having the perfect script, the perfect camera, or the perfect lighting. It’s about showing up as your true and genuine self. We would love to hear more about how you have used Gratavid in your work with grantees and community partners. 

WRITTEN BY
Rachel Myers
Founder & Chief Consultant @ RM + Company
Rachel is the founder and chief consultant at RM + Co where she uses her 20+ years of experience in nonprofit leadership and development to help organizations do more good work. Rachel served as an Executive Director for 12 years, and for the past 9 years she was the Philanthropic Services and Programs Director at Whatcom Community Foundation in Bellingham, Washington. She believes the best part of Gratavid is the joy that recipients feel when that little video pops up in their email. Who doesn’t love to share joy?
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Check out our favorite Gratavid testimonials below, and visit Gratavid.com for examples and to learn more.

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Gratavid truly helped us reimagine the connections we make between our school community and the donors who make it all possible.

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Our donors are so thankful to receive Gratavids because it communicates that they are a big part of our mission. A personalized video makes them feel valued and seen.

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Gratavid is a game changer. Since starting I’ve used it every day.

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