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Openness drives mission. Social change organizations that operate transparently build trust with their stakeholders, which helps advance their mission.

Consider the personal qualities that distinguish a trustworthy friend from one who is less reliable. People we trust are more honest, modest, forthcoming, and willing to discuss difficult topics, including their own mistakes and shortcomings.

So, too, with foundations and nonprofits. When you are truly open about governance, finances, investments, HR policies, partnerships, your grantmaking processes and programmatic performance, you help grow a culture of trust and transparency. And that, in turn, helps you achieve your goals.

According to the Glasspockets.org, a Foundation Center initiative and Communication Network partner that champions philanthropic openness in an online world, transparency:

  • Strengthens credibility
  • Increases public trust
  • Improves relationships with constituencies and regions served
  • Reduces duplication of effort among organizations who care about the same issues
  • Facilitates greater collaboration and collective problem solving
  • Cultivates a community of shared learning and best practices

by the numbers


Percentage of respondents from private foundations who agreed that their organization should “stay under the radar.”


Number of foundations who have joined Foundation Center's Reporting Commitment.


Percentage of respondents to a Grantcraft survey who say they have perceived an increased demand for funder transparency over the past 5 years.


Number of foundations who have made their Grantee Perceptions Reports public as an act of transparency.

tips and insights

Leaders at private foundations were more likely to agree that their organization should stay “under the radar.” Almost no one from nonprofits or community foundations agreed with this.

Leaders at private foundations were more likely to cite “a desire to remain humble or quiet” as a barrier to communication than leaders at nonprofits or community foundations.

Accurate and accessible information is critical to effective collaboration and strategic decision making (The Reporting Commitment, Foundation Center).