Using Critical Feedback to Improve Philanthropy

What is Philamplify and how will it impact grantmaking?

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Philamplify, a free, interactive initiative from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), aims to increase the impact of foundations across the country by assessing their grantmaking and providing comprehensive feedback, as well as collecting user-generated commentary on foundation practices.

“Philamplify is all about opening up philanthropy in ways not seen before,” said Aaron Dorfman, executive director of NCRP in a press release issued by the organization. “The shared goal of most people who work in our sector is to strive for the greater good. But doing this to the best of our ability means being open to constructive criticism. Everyone involved in philanthropy, from foundations to nonprofits to the communities they serve, has a stake in what Philamplify hopes to accomplish.”

Along with Philamplify’s own attractive website with beautiful images and video, combined with active social media, visitors can share their stories in text, photo or video, chime in on general issues affecting philanthropy, and provide direct feedback about the initiative.

PhilamplifyAccording to Philamplify, by providing a modern, user-friendly space to gather straightforward feedback from everyone involved in philanthropy, the project brings together voices that have traditionally been unheard. Philamplify combines expert research on philanthropy with feedback from foundation and nonprofit leaders and staff, issue experts, community members and more.

At this time, Philamplify provides assessments on three top foundations:  Lumina Foundation for Education, Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, and William Penn Foundation. The plan is to provide assessments of the country’s top 100 foundations in the coming months.

The Nonprofit Quarterly provided a comprehensive, and mixed, review of Philamplify: while they hate the name (we don’t disagree) and have concerns about the revenue model, they applaud the act of “assessing foundations without their permission and without being under contract with them” for a much needed open dialogue.

We’ve always advocated for transparency as a sector and think Philamplify has the potential to positively alter how foundations dole out funds and therefore make a meaningful impact on communities. We encourage you to check out the site and keep an eye on the initiative in the coming months. You can also share your story of how philanthropy has impacted your organization and community on Philamplify.org.