Donors have a wide range of expectations about accountability and reporting. It is up to every Flow Fund Initiator to decide what is most important to learn and understand about how their money flows out into the world. The questions and formats of reports vary as much as the individual Initiators and Flow Funders. Here is one example of a report format:
Report for The Flow Fund Circle:
- What were your challenges in doing this work over the past year?
- What inspired you?
- How has your worldview changed by doing this work?
- This is a learning experience for all involved. What advice would you pass on to other flow funders?
- Please provide a list of all funds dispersed, including name of recipient, address, telephone number, email, amount of gift, and a brief description of how the gift was used.
These questions come from Angeles Arrien, a Flow Fund Circle Holder. In her book
Reports from Flow Funders
"It was hard choosing people to give gifts to, because I also had to teach them their rights as citizens and the laws of our country [Kazakhstan], in order for them to succeed. This project got me thinking about how little people know and I decided to start educational programs in the villages."
“I had the opportunity to investigate more deeply the complexities of making resources available in settings where these resources are so limited.”
"The challenge over the past year was turning down some projects that had received monies from us in past years. We believe so strongly in all of the projects and did not want to exclude any of them, but realize that we also wanted to spread the money around to new projects."
~ Justine and Michael Toms
“We were inspired by the amazing degree of unexpected consequences and blessings that emerge from even a relatively small amount of money. Free of proposals and budgets and timelines and deadlines, these little grants are planted with love in places that you would never hear of - people that would not think to apply for a grant…”
~ Elias and Elizabeth
"It flew to the right places and some that I would never have looked, if it weren't for this opportunity just to be a channel - the hollow flute - where air/money comes in as a flux of energy and comes out as music. It IS magic!"
“I was inspired by knowing the people I gave the grants to. I had known them for a long time and known the work they were doing. They are people who bring hope to situations that are difficult, or seem like there are no way to change them.
Tee, a young man graduated from a law school, decided to set up a center, Dhamma Sati, to help indigenous people in remote areas with their legal rights. These people are often treated as second class citizen and looked down on by governmental officers. Tee does not care about making money with his law degree, but he devotes his life for the well-beings of these people.
Sister Robert, a 90 years old Catholic nun, drives her truck to a refugee camp on the Thai-Burmese border to bring girls who want to study back to her center. She provides them education, food, shelter, and dignity. These girls had all been through trauma. They were raped or saw others being killed and raped.
Such people inspire me.”
“People’s commitment and honesty was most inspirational. They never asked me for money, and were really moved when I offered it to them.”
“I was inspired by having the privilege and responsibility of distributing the funds entrusted to me, to those I trust. I think it is a marvelous thing to do. I feel very inspired to be an integral part of the Flow Fund, as well as by the work of the awardees. To be assisted by wise friends for decision-making in selecting awardees was also a new and uplifting experience.”
~ F.S. Shine
“I was inspired by the opportunity to learn about the true meaning of philanthropy — what Buddhists call ‘royal generosity’ — to give where the genuine welfare of people is benefitted, without any expectation or desire for return of any kind.”
“While working on this project, we met so many people who were ready to help us without asking for any money or favors. The number of these people is growing every day.”
~ Tamara Sabitova
“Meeting people who are unemployed, with many children, disabled and ignored by the government — it was surprising how much patience they have.”
"What surprised me is how much time it took to do it right.”
“I realized that it is usually a few strong individuals with clear visions that do important work, not the big organizations.”
“My world view has changed in the sense that I realize one small pebble in a pond can make many circles of energy and can affect the larger pond... I also have been made aware of how much can be done with a small amount of money if the recipient is motivated to keep on going with their own vision. Sometimes I feel that it is less about the money and more about the fact that someone, somewhere, is validating another person’s positive vision of trying to help other sentient beings and our planet.”
~ Beth Ames Swartz
“I too am, and continue to be a philanthropist. I thought that was something only for rich people. However, I can see that with small grants going so far, I could guarantee a project myself when it resonates deeply for me. I have developed more freedom to say, ‘Yes, I can help.’ I am also clear about which projects and people I think should be funded. I would like to continue to work in the area of philanthropy on a larger scale than I can do with my own small resources.
~ Enid Schreibman
“We think that it is important to encourage the persons who are Flow Funders to maintain a ‘volunteer spirit,’ and to have trust in the efficiency of the small grants.
~ Walid and Ogarit
“Many people do not tell others of their involvement in the Flow Fund. I have found that I often do tell others because I am so inspired by this creative solution to working responsively with resources and hope that others will be also. It also gives us an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of generosity in the world.”
“Don’t ever worry about making mistakes. Be bold. Be playful. Trust your intuition and follow your heart. Keep it small and simple. Jesus said the way of heaven was sown in the seeds of small things done well. Invite matching funds. It involves others, multiplies your gifts, and liberates people’s natural generosity.
Tell the good stories! Our media only mirror back to us the worst of what we’ve done, not the best of who we are. We have a big job to do – we need to know what works, where the grace and wisdom and courage are alive and available.”