Does transparency equal understanding? It depends.
One of the presumed benefits of foundation transparency is that it can help build trust with grantees, policymakers, and the general public. It does not necessarily follow, however, that transparency leads to understanding. As in most situations, context is key.
In his April 16 post to his weekly CSR Now! blog, Tim McClimon pulls some fascinating quotes—some recent and some not so recent—from the writings of William Gibson on this topic. He concludes with this insight from the perspective of a corporate practitioner:
“…it seems to me that the challenge for those of who manage CSR programs is to be transparent and understandable (and hopefully persuasive) at the same time. One without the other is just adding to the information stream with no real purpose or impact.”
-- Mark Foley