#104 Behind the Scenes Brainstorming Dialogue about Effective Giving Strategies for Season 2 Part 3 of 4, With Sybil Ackerman-Munson and Fred Munson

Nov 21, 2022

Powered by Podetize

Sybil is once again joined by her husband for the third part in the series where Sybil and Fred look into topics that are important to discuss in the philanthropic world to set the stage for key themes and trends that they will discuss in detail for 2023. 

Episode Highlights:

  • Why should we care about trends in philanthropy?
  • Why no one way is always the “right” way when deciding how to give wisely.


Sybil Ackerman-Munson Bio:

With over 20 years of experience as a nonprofit professional and foundation advisor, I work with philanthropic institutions and foundations interested in successful, high-impact grant making, so you can make a true and lasting positive contribution to the world on your terms.


If you enjoyed this episode, listen to these as well:

#73 Sybil Speaks: It Takes Time to Make a Difference

#71 Sybil Speaks: When and How to Engage Expert Advisors

#69 Tips to Support a Nonprofit in Pursuit of Best Practices with Patton McDowell, Founder, PMA Consulting


Crack the Code: Sybil’s Successful Guide to Philanthropy

Become even better at what you do as Sybil teaches you the strategies as well as the tools, you’ll need to avoid mistakes and make a career out of philanthropy through my new course, Crack the Code!

In this new course, you’ll gain access to beautifully animated and filmed engaging videos, and many more! 


 Connect with Do Your Good


Would you like to talk with Sybil directly?

Send in your inquiries through her website www.doyourgood.com, or you can email her directly at [email protected]!

Full Transcript

Hello and welcome to Season 2 and Episode #4. 

As I've talked to you before, if you're a regular listener, you'll know that you're in the middle of a short series here, listening to my husband and me talk about what we wanted to talk about in-depth through key themes and trends in philanthropy for 2023.

We're also going to kick it off in December with a concerted conversation about what motivates people to give.

As you know from the path discussions, I have over 100 episodes where I'm talking to you about all different kinds of things related to giving wisely. I interview amazing people. Now what I'm doing in this upcoming year is being a lot more strategic and having key themes.

I thought it would be fun for you to listen to the conversation that I'm having with Fred while I'm developing the more comprehensive podcast portfolio, I have for you in the upcoming year about how we want to develop this because he's going to come in and help me a little bit more. because he, too is a funder. 

So, without further ado, why don't you listen in on some of our informal discussions about what we might want to discuss so you can get behind the scenes and hear how it is I'm developing the themes for 2023? Thanks for listening. 

So, the thing we should talk about is a trend right now. What is interesting to me is that people are rearranging their lives. making programs to have grantees make the decisions. over where grants should go. 

And it's a shift in which some of it is and some of it isn't. It isn’t always happening, but it's like a trend where the grantees in the community are the ones talking about where things should go, which has both good and bad consequences. We should, and I'd love to have an entire episode dedicated to simply grantee-based decision-making. around giving out grants. 

But it's also a trend; a lot of folks are saying, "Well, we can't make any of the decisions. We can't make any of these strategic decisions. We need to completely rely on the grantees for those decisions.” And so that's that. something to unpack. I think that will happen in the future, so I'm going to put that on the list.

Yes, you have more experience in that area.

{Commercial break}

I have worked with grantees and then given money or whatever, they can choose how to spend it, but this sounds bigger.

Oh yeah, yeah, no. So, there are a few clients I'm working with right now. It's so interesting. And again, when we're talking trends, I think all these trends are really important. And the point I'm trying to make is that this is how we should be doing things. 

We should do an episode on how trends are important because they spark conversation. But they get dangerous and problematic, and they actually can be dangerous because they get problematic and dangerous when people start pushing them as the only answer, yeah? 

Right, but they're all important, and so one thing that I think is an important piece of this is this. The structure is where it is. Rather, focusing on grantees who make the final decisions about where the money goes, such as they’re on the committee that's deciding the final piece.

As I said, I have two clients right now who are doing this model, and it is a trend that's moving forward, and I don't think it's a model that will work for everybody. It depends on the goals, and that depends on where they're going in these two situations, my experience is that there's really good stuff about it and there's challenging stuff about it.

So, I think we should talk about it as a trend, and then we should also actually have it. an episode on it.

Yeah, I feel like the whole conversation about trends

Yeah, it's bringing us into things. We want to dig deeper, yeah?

I don't know. 

I haven't thought about it enough to state the obvious. That's my opinion for sure, but it feels like you and I are in the same place in our history in terms of philanthropy. We've seen a lot of trends come at you like this is the way to go.


And it's like everyone must give general support.

Oh yeah, that one? Oh yeah, the general support trends

So, I think you sort of mentioned that a little bit already but. 

I don't know…that's different from trust-based philanthropy.

The general support trend is different. 

{Commercial break} 

Well, there also was a trend when I first started in philanthropy, which was: You shouldn't be a bank, like a bank teller, where you're just a benevolent banker.

As a funder, you have a responsibility to come in and campaign. When I came in, that was a trend too. So, campaigning became a trend. and it was new and different. And there was some justice alliance trying to convince funders that they could fund.


Political things, they couldn't fund the actual lobbying part, but they could fund a lot of the political things because a lot of the funders are like, "Oh, we can't touch that." And so that was a trend too.

political with a small “p”.

Just sort of walked in, yeah, to be clear, but.

Not for election purposes.

Yeah, but that was a trend. Campaigns were a trend, and now they're like, "Now there's a pushback because I think people campaigned problematically with funders." Did they make big mistakes?

Oh yeah. Oh yeah.

And so now there is a pushback saying, "Wait a minute, you should do trust-based work, and you should stop." Just like telling everyone because you don't know You know, you run campaigns.

OK, so that's another trend? Yeah, that's it. You've already got something resembling a campaign or sustainer launcher, so…

I hope you enjoyed that conversation. 

I very much enjoy talking to Fred about these issues. That's all there is to it so great to have a husband who gets how passionate I am about effective giving strategies and how complicated they can be

But how important to sort of break it down and make it less complicated so we can continue to do good in the world and support all of the amazing nonprofits doing good stuff out there that we care about and the causes that we care about what is it about. You all believe it's really important

So, I'm glad you listened to that conversation I have one more conversation like this with Fred, so you can continue to hear behind the scenes next week. You're going to hear one more, and then after that, we're going to get rolling on key themes again. If you have ideas about what we should talk about, DM me at the handle, do your thing on Instagram, and I look forward to hearing from you next time. I want you to have a wonderful day, and I Do your good and be well.