Philanthropy is supporting incredible work for the greater good. But in the ways we talk about that work, we could do better. Even as we evolve to meet the compounding challenges that society faces, trust in institutions, including philanthropy, is falling.

To rebuild that trust, we must expand our capacity to elevate the positive impact our work, be clear about our processes, and push back against misconceptions.

To support this work, the Council on Foundations and the Center for Public Interest Communications are working together to pull forward positive narratives about philanthropy and increase trust in the sector through research, analysis, and message testing. The first step in this work, a landscape scan of the dominant narratives on philanthropy in the United States, showed that philanthropy needs better stories and better language if we want to be better partners to our communities.

A New Voice for Philanthropy

Telling better stories with better language is more than a public relations exercise. It's a comprehensive, data- and research-driven approach that will engage the field, the public, and experts in communications, academia, and public opinion research. 

At the end of this research, we will share: 

  • Insights about how audiences with different demographics, ideologies, and experiences  receive stories about philanthropy;
  • Guidance on the types of stories that will bring more transparency and clarity to your work; 
  • Reflections from individuals in the policy sphere about philanthropy;
  • Suggestions for transparent, clear, and accurate language that better represents the work that foundations do; and
  • Strategic recommendations on how to implement these new storytelling strategies in your work and how to present them to your teams.

Join Us!

Our research shows that foundations are already cultivating new storytelling practices. We hope you'll join us by:

  • Signing up to receive updates on our work;
  • Emailing us with ideas, tips or examples from the field;
  • Catching our presentation at Upswell (Nov. 16 in Dallas); and
  • Staying tuned for the results of our research.


Connect with Council Staff

Nicole Bronzan

Vice President, Communications and Content

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