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  • Writer's pictureCharity Chat Podcast

E220 – Open Philanthropy with Tris Lumley

“…what if, actually, we could bring together the different organisations in a, either in a particular place or working on a particular subject, and help them actually piece together a plan that makes sense together, and then they could take that plan out to funders, and funders could fund that because those organisations were united…” – Tris Lumley

In this episode we speak with Tris Lumley, Director of Innovation and Development at NPC. We speak about what Open Philanthropy means, how charities can cultivate it and what it could mean for the benefit of the charity sector.

1. Open Philanthropy

Philanthropy that invites others in, and is inclusive, open to co-creation, is transparent and willing to share methods and outcomes with other organisations, is what we mean by open philanthropy.

Tris used the analogy of the current fundraising landscape typically looking like a scattering of Lego bricks, with each funder and each charity working independently rather than working together to build long-term and progressive change.

Tris talked about philanthropy as being the freest money available and that it has the power of making a difference, especially in the current situation where demand is far outstripping supply. Despite this, rather than looking to increase philanthropy to the charity sector, Tris thinks the answer will be evolving how philanthropy works and that this may be something the charity sector has the power to do.

2. The proposition of unity

We’ve spoken before on the podcast about the proposition of unifying charities and funders in a more effective way, and developing a unified approach, or consortium approach from charities. Tris spoke about how the power in the relationship between funders and charities still largely sits with the funder. Charities historically have had little power in these terms and the very term ‘charity’ may be problematic in addressing this.

However, Tris talked about the shifting of power and that there may be opportunities in charities working more collaboratively to demonstrate a greater impact and better chance to effect bigger change, and that this in turn may help charities to lead funders into supporting them and more effectively drive the agenda for change.

3. Creating spaces for collaboration

Tris talked about the work that NPC are doing to create funds within the financial hardship space in the UK. They have invited organisations into that space, who have set the agenda and are making the financial decisions, as well as co-creating and co-designing how the funds are spent.

There are other models of collaboration in action as well as a rise in participatory grant making, where people with lived experience are helping to guide where funds are invested to affect change.

If ever there was a time for charities to seek new ways of delivering for their beneficiaries, and show leadership to other charities and funders by speaking candidly and being open for collaboration, that time is surely now.

We all have a role to play in creating a more transparent, collaborative and inclusive charity sector.

This episode of Charity Chat has been brought to you by our platinum sponsor Work for Good. Work for Good is a fundraising platform helping charities raise sustainable, unrestricted income from business sales. They are on a mission to help charities unlock some of the £2.3trillion in revenue that SMEs make every year. They do this by making the contract side - the commercial participation agreement - of sales fundraising, easy. The platform saves fundraisers and charities valuable time, thousands of pounds in resource and legal fees and streamlines supporter experience. And ultimately helps fundraisers raise more unrestricted income. To find out more, please visit

We hope you enjoy this week’s episode.

Related episodes that you may be interested in:

E114: The Changing World of Philanthropy with Keith Kibirango -

E104: Philanthropy - COVID-19 and Beyond with Paul Gillespie -

E96: Leadership with Carla Miller -


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