Many discussions surrounding grantmaking often pit trust-based and data-driven approaches against each other, but this is a false dichotomy. In fact, combining the two approaches can result in a stronger grant program. The key is to develop a grantmaking strategy that incorporates both relationships and data. Community perspectives offer important context for the data you collect, and data helps capture the experiences of community members.
To achieve this balance, it is essential to view community members as partners with valuable perspectives. Building relationships with them is crucial, and you should be responsive to their feedback. Adopting culturally responsive data practices that treat communities as research partners is one way to build these relationships. Seeking out community members to learn about their unique experiences is also important.
Data justice is another crucial aspect of grantmaking that must be considered. This means shifting how you think about the community’s relationship to data. Data is not a finite resource, and sharing it with community members can actually strengthen it. It is important to honor ownership and allow community members to retain it. Additionally, building a feedback loop that incorporates community members’ perspectives throughout the grantmaking lifecycle is essential.
Combining trust-based and data-driven grantmaking practices results in a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of your programs. This balanced approach helps to identify any gaps or inaccuracies in the data collected, and listening to community voices can shed light on real-world experiences that data may not capture. By using accurate data to shape future programs, grantmakers can better serve the communities they support.
Submit.com can assist you in achieving this balance by providing tools that allow you to collect and analyze data while also prioritizing community relationships and feedback, creating a more balanced and impactful grantmaking program.